Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times
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Jonathan Gold's top 10 restaurant dishes of 2014

2014 — I remember 2014. In Los Angeles, it was the year of peak steakhouse. It was a year of artisanal soda pop, $16 cheeseburgers and chef-ly barbecue. Tacos entered their Mannerist period. Cocktails largely supplanted wine, even in fine-dining restaurants. Kale, sea urchin, offal and poached...

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    • Big plans, and concerns, surround L.A. River's revitalization

      Big plans, and concerns, surround L.A. River's revitalization

      City engineers, public works officials and developers stood on a hilltop just north of downtown on a recent weekday and gazed at a low-lying railroad yard dotted with weeds on the far side of the Los Angeles River channel. To the uninitiated, it was a mildly depressing vista of concrete, unwanted...

    • Dozens of Mezcal labels now line the shelves

      Dozens of Mezcal labels now line the shelves

      Stores have begun stocking the spirit, with some delving deeply into the once-uncommon drink.

    • CVCHE by Walther Adrianzen: You can taste the chef's love of Peru

      CVCHE by Walther Adrianzen: You can taste the chef's love of Peru

      Name of restaurant: CVCHE by Walther Adrianzen Concept: A 26-year-old Peruvian American chef (originally from El Huarique in Venice) presents his grounded interpretation of a traditional Peruvian restaurant, bravely located on the culturally rich stretch of Whittier Boulevard between East Los Angeles...

    • Soul food restaurant takes root in heart of Latino Boyle Heights

      Soul food restaurant takes root in heart of Latino Boyle Heights

      In a landscape of tacos and burritos, Gogo's Bistro, run by the Sweetwine family, offers cornbread, country fried steak, grits and five kinds of cheesecake.

    • 28 great L.A. bakeries

      28 great L.A. bakeries

      Maybe it was the rise of kouign amann -- the uber-buttery, caramelized "it" pastry from Brittany -- and better access to fresh-baked baguettes that lately has helped reinvigorate an Angeleno culture of neighborhood bakeries, all butter and sugar and love. There's a bakery out there to suit any...

    • L.A.'s best sweets, treats and buttery breads

      L.A.'s best sweets, treats and buttery breads

      A baker's dozen of favorite neighborhood shops where the house specialty is more than the icing on the cake.

    • National Taco Day: Jonathan Gold's favorite vegetarian tacos
      National Taco Day: Jonathan Gold's favorite vegetarian tacos

      St. Swithin's Day? Tu B'Shvat? Around here, the most important holiday of the year is National Taco Day, declared by the most sacred of public relations consortiums to be an occasion where every man, woman and child in America may enjoy the taco of his or her choice. In Los Angeles, of course,...

    • Ice, ice baby: Jonathan Gold's favorite frozen treats
      Ice, ice baby: Jonathan Gold's favorite frozen treats

      When the sun glowers, the Santa Ana winds rip through the canyons, and an invitation to have lunch on the patio feels like a death sentence, sometimes a quart of ice tea isn’t nearly enough. At such times it is nice to slip into an air-conditioned car and head for icy, icy bliss.

      Taiwanese slush....

    • Jonathan Gold's favorite Los Angeles burgers (not made in a lab)
      Jonathan Gold's favorite Los Angeles burgers (not made in a lab)

      The eyes of the world this week have been focused on what surely must be the most repulsive hamburger in the history of mankind: 10,000 bits of cloned cow stem-cell tissue formed into a patty, seared in foaming butter and served to three food scientists in front of a crowd of decidedly unhungry...

    • Taco Tuesday: Apache's Carne al Carbon
      Taco Tuesday: Apache's Carne al Carbon

      This year's L.A. Taco Festival was a great excuse to take a subway, explore Mariachi Plaza, and listen to live banda music, while supporting the Jovenes Inc. foundation in its efforts to help at-risk Boyle Heights youth. The tacos, as you'd expect, were delicious, although the temperatures were...

    • Banh mi goes gourmet; here's 11 of Los Angeles' best
      Banh mi goes gourmet; here's 11 of Los Angeles' best

      The latest wave of sandwich shops (Hero Shop, Superba Food + Bread, Trencher) and modern Vietnamese cafes (East Borough, Phorage) in Los Angeles have generated tantalizing new spins on banh mi, the beloved Vietnamese sandwich that is the culinary result of French colonialism in Southeast Asia.

      ...

    • Five Chinese restaurants where MSG isn't on the menu
      Five Chinese restaurants where MSG isn't on the menu

      Monosodium glutamate: Love it or hate it? Some people are convinced it’s toxic, though there isn't much science behind that claim. Others compare it with table salt.

      Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s no secret that MSG is used heavily in restaurants – especially in traditional Chinese...

    • The A to Z of Los Angeles pizza
      The A to Z of Los Angeles pizza

      In celebration of National Pizza Day, here's a run-down of Los Angeles pizza, including go-to delivery spots, Chicago-style, New York-style, Neapolitan-style and New York-Naples hybrids. Here's where to get your gooey, cheesy, melty, crispy- and/or chewy-crusted pizza fix.

      800 Degrees Neapolitan...

    • Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A.
      Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A.

    • 9 great breakfast sandwiches plus one killer burrito to try now
      9 great breakfast sandwiches plus one killer burrito to try now

      A perfectly balanced breakfast sandwich the size of your head goes a long way toward improving the prospects of almost any day. (And there’s nothing like it for curing a hangover.) It has to have melted cheese, protein (preferably crisp bacon), eggs (of course) and bread (from tortilla to loaf,...

    • The great L.A. coffee scene: Your dream caffeine fix may be just around the corner
      The great L.A. coffee scene: Your dream caffeine fix may be just around the corner

      You're a coffee fiend keeping track of every new specialty coffee shop that opens in L.A.? With one new cafe opening after another, it's not so easy anymore. But it is a lot easier to come across a great brewed coffee or perfect pull of espresso, whether in south Santa Monica or North Hollywood,...

    • 5 best not-Cronuts in L.A. (and a map that includes all the rest)
      5 best not-Cronuts in L.A. (and a map that includes all the rest)

      It's easy to succumb to a faux-Cronut addiction. Intrigued by a meta-pastry trend, I've eaten every version of the croissant-doughnut hybrid in Los Angeles that I could find, from Spudnuts in Canoga Park to DK's Donuts in Santa Monica.

      I've had the original Cronut, the "half-croissant, half doughnut"...

    • Falafel! 6 great places to get your fried-garbanzo fix
      Falafel! 6 great places to get your fried-garbanzo fix

      There's an art to making falafel so that the ground garbanzo beans are perfectly light and fluffy, the exterior crisp but not greasy, the mix of textures and spices habit-forming.

      Falafel's exact origins are unknown, but it's believed to have started in Egypt, then made its way through the Middle...

    • MSG-free bowl
      No MSG, no worries

    • Cold-pressed juice, hot in L.A.
      Cold-pressed juice, hot in L.A.

      Shortly after Chipper Pastron opened the first Juice Farm in Pasadena in January, a developer asked if he'd be interested in setting up another in the same neighborhood. No way, Pastron said, thinking there wouldn't be enough demand.

      Six months in and he and his partners are negotiating a space...

    • L.A. restaurants: Top 13 spots on hotter-than-ever Sawtelle Boulevard
      L.A. restaurants: Top 13 spots on hotter-than-ever Sawtelle Boulevard

      The stretch of Sawtelle Boulevard often referred to as Little Osaka recently has expanded so quickly that it's bursting beyond its traditional boundaries. With so many new restaurant openings, they're popping up north of Santa Monica Boulevard and south of Olympic. 

      Shin Sen Gumi officially opened...

    • Chicken karaage list: 6 great places to get your fried fix
      Chicken karaage list: 6 great places to get your fried fix

      Chicken karaage, the Japanese version of fried chicken, is addictive. Unlike its American cousin, karaage are boneless, cut small and mostly dark meat. It's easy to pop five into your mouth in quick succession. The coating, made of potato starch, is light, almost paper thin and delicate. And the...

    • Best banh mi sandwiches
      Best banh mi sandwiches

    • Where to find the best bibimbap
      Where to find the best bibimbap

      Several locations specialize in the many varieties of the favorite Korean mixed-rice dish.

    • Easy dinner ideas from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook
      Easy dinner ideas from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook

      99 EASY DINNER RECIPES to help you when you need something fast.

    • The $10,000 martini
      The $10,000 martini

      The $10,000 martini from Vaucluse is literally on the rock - a one-carat, rough cut diamond added to the drink.

    • The hunt's on: Three restaurants deep into game this season
      The hunt's on: Three restaurants deep into game this season

      Critic's Choice: Josie Restaurant, Patina at Disney Hall and Saddle Peak Lodge are there to indulge your hankering for wild boar, elk, quail and other manner of game.

    • 25 Cinco de Mayo recipes: Guacamole, tostadas, chiles rellenos and more
      25 Cinco de Mayo recipes: Guacamole, tostadas, chiles rellenos and more

      Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with recipes for margaritas and tacos and other great fare. Avocado tips: Best way to get unbruised avocado

    • Three L.A. restaurants that are good brunch bets
      Three L.A. restaurants that are good brunch bets

      Critic's Choice: Bucato, Girasol and Farmshop are three L.A. restaurants that know how to do brunch right, which can be a lifesaver when you have houseguests.

    • Places to eat for $5 or less in Southern California
      Places to eat for $5 or less in Southern California

      Dining out for $5 or less may seem like a fantasy, but Southern California has much to offer for those on a tight budget. For affordable Vietnamese fare, venture to Garden Grove. Or look to food trucks for inexpensive eats. Even some pricier restaurants offer cheap eats during happy hours.

    • Pancakes, on a grand or silver-dollar scale, in L.A.
      Pancakes, on a grand or silver-dollar scale, in L.A.

      Critic's Choice: Pancakes are an American comfort food favorite. Three L.A. eateries offer terrific examples: Cooks County, Valerie and Axe.

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