Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times
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This layer cake from Proof Bakery is a sweet lesson in chocolate architecture

A great chocolate cake goes like this: Start with a layer of devil's food cake, nearly obsidian dark from Valrhona cocoa powder. Then add a thick strata of buttercream, another of chocolate crémeux, more cream, more Valrhona. Then more of the same, building up, layer by layer, like chocolate architecture....

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    • Grab a craft beer at these 4 great brewery New Year's parties

      Grab a craft beer at these 4 great brewery New Year's parties

      We’ve all been there before — waiting to finalize plans for New Year’s Eve until the last minute, and then realizing that nothing sounds all that compelling. This year, forget the fancy clubs and expensive parties, and celebrate the end of 2014 at one of L.A.’s craft breweries. More laid back than...

    • Porridge and its (dis)contents: Congee, jok, haleem and what Grandma ate

      Porridge and its (dis)contents: Congee, jok, haleem and what Grandma ate

      Last week, we visited Porridge + Puffs, chef Minh Phan’s monument to the warm, oozy bowls of happiness that obsess so many of us this time of year, when temperatures plunge into the 50s at night, backyard trees groan with citrus and the waves are a bit too chilly to surf. Winter in Los Angeles...

    • Coffee beer, or how to drink your craft beer and coffee at the same time

      Coffee beer, or how to drink your craft beer and coffee at the same time

      Brewers have been mixing their buzzes with coffee-fueled beers for decades, but nowhere else in the country does coffee beer quite like Southern California. The region is home to many fantastic small-batch coffee roasters, and these bean-loving artisans share the flavor-fanaticism that also fuels...

    • Where to get a great chocolate chip cookie in L.A.

      Where to get a great chocolate chip cookie in L.A.

      Sure, it's the holiday season, when we're all supposed to be baking pies or sugar cookies shaped like elves or stars or candy canes. But sometimes you just want a chocolate chip cookie, preferably a very good one — and at this point, preferably baked by somebody else.  Fortunately, there are many...

    • Five great brewed-in-L.A. IPAs to drink right now

      Five great brewed-in-L.A. IPAs to drink right now

      Love 'em or hate 'em, the popularity of India Pale Ales in Southern California cannot be denied, and there are more choices than ever for hop-forward IPAs from Los Angeles breweries. Forget the big names from San Diego, here are some new IPAs (and one classic) from local breweries that deserve...

    • Eagle Rock Brewery's Jubilee a warming spiced old ale

      Eagle Rock Brewery's Jubilee a warming spiced old ale

      The annual wintertime release from Glassell Park's Eagle Rock Brewery, Jubilee is a spiced old ale that finds delicate balance between warming alcohol, sweet malts and festive spices. Nursing a snifter of the complex brew is an ideal tonic for the stresses of the holidays, and the ale makes for...

    • Red Aunts to celebrate new greatest hits double LP at El Cid
      Red Aunts to celebrate new greatest hits double LP at El Cid

      The Red Aunts were nothing to mess with. Four musicians who first converged in 1990s Long Beach, the band released a series of searing garage-punk records, first on Sympathy for the Record Industry label and then on the L.A. punk label Epitaph.

      While up the coast the riot grrrl movement was rewriting...

    • Popular Eagle Rock Brewery faces yet another hearing to continue operation
      Popular Eagle Rock Brewery faces yet another hearing to continue operation

      Pioneering craft brewery Eagle Rock Brewery is heading into yet another public hearing next week in an effort to renew the city license that allows it to continue to operate.

      While opening a brewery and tasting room anywhere in California requires extensive battles with red tape, the city of L.A....

    • It's World Tripe Day! Where would Jonathan Gold celebrate?
      It's World Tripe Day! Where would Jonathan Gold celebrate?

      The first question you may have about World Tripe Day is whether the occasion in fact exists. It has not, as far as I know, been sanctioned by Congress or any other official sanctioning body, and unlike Melon Day in Turkmenistan (Aug. 9), or National Pigs in a Blanket day in the United States (April...

    • Flatbread, a point of pride from the Mediterranean
      Flatbread, a point of pride from the Mediterranean

      For as long as humans have been cultivating grains, cooks have been baking flatbreads in the embers or on primitive wood-fired ovens. Pizza is a flatbread, beloved the world over. But it's certainly not the only flatbread from the Mediterranean or the Middle East. Consider Turkey's lahmacun spread...

    • Eight of the best tortas in Los Angeles
      Eight of the best tortas in Los Angeles

      Move over, tacos. It's time to share the spotlight with your sandwich counterpart: the torta.

      A torta is more than just a Mexican version of a beefed-up sandwich; it is an entirely different species. A good torta is usually available anywhere that a good taco is, with just as many regional variations....

    • 5 new breweries that have opened since last L.A. Beer Week
      5 new breweries that have opened since last L.A. Beer Week

      The sixth annual L.A. Beer Week is here again, and the craft beer scene in Los Angeles has grown impressively in the last 12 months. New breweries have opened from the San Gabriel Valley to the South Bay and beyond.

      After trying some new beers and checking out any of the dozens of L.A. Beer Week...

    • Salt's Cure Cookout, Taste of Mexico, Abbot Kinney Fest
      Salt's Cure Cookout, Taste of Mexico, Abbot Kinney Fest

      On Thursday, Sept. 25, Salt’s Cure will be celebrating L.A. Beer Week at Verdugo Bar with a patio cookout, part of a monthly partnership between the West Hollywood restaurant and the Eagle Rock bar. Pulled pork sandwiches, housemade hot links and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches will be served....

    • Six ways to celebrate Oktoberfest in Los Angeles
      Six ways to celebrate Oktoberfest in Los Angeles

      Dust off the lederhosen and dirndls, it’s time for pretzels, oompah tunes and plenty of delicious beer as Oktoberfest parties kick off across Los Angeles.

      Never mind the triple-digit temperatures; raising a stein of frosty German-style beers and shouting “Prost!” is like a rain-dance for autumn...

    • 7 super L.A. cheese shops and what they have to offer
      7 super L.A. cheese shops and what they have to offer

      Rows of milky-white triple crèmes, mold-ripened fromage with rumpled rinds, logs of tangy young goat cheese, wedges of luxurious creaminess surrounded by bloomy crusts. These are a few of the splendors of a new wave of neighborhood cheese stores that opened recently across L.A.

      There's DTLA Cheese...

    • Alma patty melt pop-up, Good Girl Dinette pies, Belcampo dinner
      Alma patty melt pop-up, Good Girl Dinette pies, Belcampo dinner

      Belcampo Meat Co. at Grand Central Market features a weekly rotating dinner menu served on Thursday to Saturday evenings by head chef Robbie Arnold-Starr, highlighting organic Belcampo meat direct from the butcher shop’s farm near Mt. Shasta. Meat is served alongside farmers market produce, and...

    • Eagle Rock's coveted Red Velvet beer finally returns
      Eagle Rock's coveted Red Velvet beer finally returns

      Brewed for the first time since 2012, Eagle Rock Brewing’s gold medal-winning imperial red ale Red Velvet is back in the tasting room and in bottles.

      A collaboration with home brewer Donny Hummel, Red Velvet took gold in the pro-am category at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, and the brewery...

    • Quest to save the 60-year-old Cindy's diner sign in Eagle Rock
      Quest to save the 60-year-old Cindy's diner sign in Eagle Rock

      The green and white Cindy's diner sign has been a fixture on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock for the last 60 years. But the Googie-style sign is deteriorating, and the diner's new owners, Monique King and Paul Rosenbluh, are hoping the public will want to help save the sign.  

      King and Rosenbluh,...

    • Ceviche in Los Angeles: 8 great spots for the cool fish dish
      Ceviche in Los Angeles: 8 great spots for the cool fish dish

      Summer may be almost over, but that stubborn Southern California sun isn't going anywhere. For better or worse, Los Angeles is stuck with stunningly perfect weather, a perfect excuse to eat ceviche every day.

      Ceviches are in the same category as tacos and sushi: foods that our city absolutely excels...

    • ACE Center builds an environment for learning at Taking the Reins
      ACE Center builds an environment for learning at Taking the Reins

      One Tuesday morning near the Los Angeles River in Atwater Village, a half-dozen or so girls file into a striking 8-by-10-foot goat pen at Taking the Reins, ready to practice some animal husbandry.

      "You don't need to be gentle with them," says urban farm manager Colleen Hennessey as she encourages...

    • Mediterranean favorite Momed opens a new location in Atwater Village
      Mediterranean favorite Momed opens a new location in Atwater Village

      Alex Sarkissian, owner of eastern Mediterranean restaurant Momed in Beverly Hills, has opened a second location, this one in the Atwater Crossing development in Atwater Village. The indoor-outdoor restaurant that occupies more than 7,000 square feet of space in an industrial building on La Casitas...

    • Drink some great ales, help fight ALS
      Drink some great ales, help fight ALS

      Breweries across the country are joining the Ales for ALS project with special brews that help fund research to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease, and several local breweries are participating.

      The project was begun by the hop farmers at Loftus Ranch who’ve partnered with hop supplier Hopunion to provide...

    • Events: World Cup at Dog Haus Biergarten, Luckyrice festival, Sabor de las Americas
      Events: World Cup at Dog Haus Biergarten, Luckyrice festival, Sabor de las Americas

      Dog Haus Biergarten in Pasadena will go full-Bavarian on Sunday at noon to watch Germany compete in the World Cup final. Any customers wearing traditional German lederhosen or dirndl gear get their first liter of beer for 7 cents. It will be happy hour all day, and the restaurant has seven large...

    • Events: Tablas Creek at Tam O'Shanter, Olivi at Chianina, G&Ts at Waterloo & City
      Events: Tablas Creek at Tam O'Shanter, Olivi at Chianina, G&Ts at Waterloo & City

      Anybody have room to slip a special wine dinner into your schedule? These events can be not only fun but educational. Without having to buy an entire bottle, you get to taste wines from a single producer with food that a chef has designed to show them off. And if the winemaker is in attendance,...

    • Scouting Report: Mariscos El Faro for rare Sinaloan seafood, fried shrimp empanadas
      Scouting Report: Mariscos El Faro for rare Sinaloan seafood, fried shrimp empanadas

      Name of restaurant: Mariscos El Faro. Faro is the spanish word for lighthouse.

      Concept: An eight-month-old coastal regional Mexican seafood truck in Highland Park specializing in Sinaloa-style seafood that goes the extra mile to use beautiful wild fish in the ceviche preparations.

      Chef: Hector...

    • Sweet Rose Creamery's pop-up, a Good Girl Dinette bake shop, LA Creamery at Viceroy
      Sweet Rose Creamery's pop-up, a Good Girl Dinette bake shop, LA Creamery at Viceroy

      Sweet Rose Creamery, the small-batch ice cream shop with locations in Santa Monica, Brentwood and Mid-City, is heading downtown for the first time starting Saturday. Each Saturday and Sunday in July, Sweet Rose will pop up at Woo Souvenir Shop from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturdays the pop-up will...

    • Scouting Report: Town Pizza on ever-evolving York Boulevard in Highland Park
      Scouting Report: Town Pizza on ever-evolving York Boulevard in Highland Park

      Name of restaurant: Town Pizza

      Concept: A brand new sliced pizza establishment on the ever-evolving York Boulevard in Highland Park, complete with a healthy assortment of locally sourced toppings and intriguing styles (including plenty of gluten-free and vegan options). 

      What dish represents the...

    • Scouting Report: In Highland Park, vegetarian and gluten-free Kitchen Mouse
      Scouting Report: In Highland Park, vegetarian and gluten-free Kitchen Mouse

      Name of restaurant: Kitchen Mouse

      Concept: An unpretentious, newly-opened vegetarian gluten-free breakfast and lunch option in Highland Park’s historic Figueroa Street shopping strip, with good coffee.

      What dish represents the restaurant, and why? Moros cakes, a fun take on the Cuban staple food...

    • Not just another new brewery -- Highland Park is knocking it out
      Not just another new brewery -- Highland Park is knocking it out

      Another week, another new brewery opening in Los Angeles. It’s getting tough to keep up with all the new beer flowing around town, and it’s a great problem for L.A.’s craft beer fans to have. This week’s opening is the long anticipated Highland Park Brewery -- a small operation run out of the Hermosillo...

    • Room Forty pop-in dinner, truffles at Adoteca, Art Beyond the Glass fundraiser
      Room Forty pop-in dinner, truffles at Adoteca, Art Beyond the Glass fundraiser

      Room Forty Catering is opening its tasting room in Highland Park on Thursdays at 7 p.m. for what they're calling pop-in dinners. The five-course dinners will feature dishes from chef Libry Darusman, whose background includes Mark Gold's EVA, Sinatra at the Wynn and Patina. Tickets for the July...

    • Events: 'The Science of Pie,' habanero eating contest, Golden Road at Plan Check, more
      Events: 'The Science of Pie,' habanero eating contest, Golden Road at Plan Check, more

      On Sunday, June 1, UCLA will be hold its annual "Scientific Bake-Off." Amy Rowat is heading up this event as part of her "Science and Food" course at UCLA. Students of Rowat will compete in an apple pie baking competition, using past analysis and experimentation to determine the best method to...

    • 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...

    • Tastes great, less boozy: Eagle Rock hosts fourth annual Session Fest
      Tastes great, less boozy: Eagle Rock hosts fourth annual Session Fest

      The obsession with high-alcohol brews in the craft beer world is being tempered by the rising popularity of "session beers" (beer light on the booze but big on flavor), and on Saturday the pioneering Los Angeles brewers at Eagle Rock Brewery are celebrating this trend with the fourth annual Session...

    • 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.

      ...

    • Tapping into the craft beer trend
      Tapping into the craft beer trend

      Jeremy Raub of Eagle Rock Brewery learned brewing in his family's kitchen.

    • Residents clash over proposed expansion of the Church on York
      Residents clash over proposed expansion of the Church on York

      The operator of the Church on York, a budding Highland Park music and entertainment venue, went before the Los Angeles Department of City Planning on Wednesday to argue that the space needs a liquor license and a full designation as a restaurant/bar to survive. Young publicist-turned-entrepreneur Graeme...

    • Eagle Rock Brewery opening new pub as L.A. craft beer scene grows
      Eagle Rock Brewery opening new pub as L.A. craft beer scene grows

      In the latest signal of the explosion of local breweries in Southern California, Eagle Rock Brewery has announced plans to open a new restaurant.

      The four-year-old brewery's co-owners, Ting Su and Jeremy Raub, said they expect to open Eagle Rock Brewery Public House next year, according to West...

    • Dia de los Muertos 2013: huitlacoche flan, blood orange margaritas, sugar skulls and more
      Dia de los Muertos 2013: huitlacoche flan, blood orange margaritas, sugar skulls and more

      This year, Dia de los Muertos, the "Day of the Dead" celebration that commemorates friends and family who have passed away, spills into the weekend, All Hallow's Eve on Thursday), All Saints Day on Friday and All Souls Day on Saturday. To plan accordingly, here are several Day of the Dead festivities...

    • Halloween 2013: Candy and wine pairings, free pancakes, cocktail specials and more
      Halloween 2013: Candy and wine pairings, free pancakes, cocktail specials and more

      Halloween is the perfect excuse to down mounds of candy, sip down ghoul-inspired cocktails and eat your fill of pumpkins. Throw in your favorite costume and you're ready for a night of spooky indulgence. Here are some places around town offering freebies, specials, music and costume contests:

      Freebie...

    • 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,...

    • 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...

    • 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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