Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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Dinner group showcases Vietnamese food and culture

Stefan Nguyen loves introducing Americans to Vietnamese food. “One time I recommended a dish that had fish sauce,” he said of a friend who had never tried Vietnamese food. “So I made sure to tell her to try a little first before she went full on into it. I looked kind of scared when she started...

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    • Bennett: No cloth napkins here, just homey nostalgia, carbs and sauce

      Bennett: No cloth napkins here, just homey nostalgia, carbs and sauce

      Everyone who lives near an Old Spaghetti Factory is inevitably flush with deep-rooted memories of gorging on carbs and red sauce at the old-school Italian(ish) chain. More curious, however, is the fact that those of us who harbor those deep-rooted memories swear that the Old Spaghetti Factory is...

    • Bennett: All-cask FirkFest beer festival is going tiki this year

      Bennett: All-cask FirkFest beer festival is going tiki this year

      For most of human drinking history, beer was fermented and served from handmade oak barrels called casks. Unlike the clear, chilled and fizzy draft-poured IPAs and pilsners we're accustomed to today, these cask ales were naturally carbonated, entirely unfiltered and served directly from their barrels...

    • Bennett: 'Green' means go for people who want to eat healthy

      Bennett: 'Green' means go for people who want to eat healthy

      When chef Roy Choi announced in 2014 that he was teaming up with chef Daniel Patterson to take on a mission to revolutionize fast food, the culinary world let out a collective gasp. Why was the inventor of the Koji BBQ Taco Truck — the undisputed instigator for an entire wave of gourmet meals on...

    • Jonathan Gold reviews Irenia in Santa Ana, which is reinterpreting traditional Filipino cuisine

      Jonathan Gold reviews Irenia in Santa Ana, which is reinterpreting traditional Filipino cuisine

      When you hit Irenia at the right time in the afternoon, maybe late on a Saturday when the lunch rush has faded away, you may run into a couple of old guys who look as if they’ve never left their table in the bar, nursing bottles of San Miguel and idly crunching their way through a bowl of dilis,...

    • Bennett: Mix Mix is just that — Filipino flavors but so much more

      Bennett: Mix Mix is just that — Filipino flavors but so much more

      Halo-halo is the colorful dessert of indecisive stoner dreams, filled with a hodgepodge of sweets so silly sounding to Westerners that it's taken decades to find a following in the U.S. In the Philippines — where it's all but the national dessert, perfect for cooling off during the country's long,...

    • Bennett: At Monkey Business, a cafe with a cause, the food is good, too

      Bennett: At Monkey Business, a cafe with a cause, the food is good, too

      The world could use a little more compassion right now. Something as simple as a smile from a stranger or a selfless good deed will undoubtedly go a lot further in 2017, a new year already being dominated by divisive rhetoric and fear-based politics. That's why when the Twitter banter gets too...

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