Akasha goes to Italy, profiteroles for Passover

It's the second weekend of April, which is National Grilled Cheese Month (16 grilled cheese sandwich recipes!), if you for some reason hadn't yet realized it. It's also time for Passover, which begins Monday. Thus we have traditional Passover recipes, plus something a bit off the menu, unless you happen to be a pastry chef: Passover profiteroles, as well as cream puffs and gougères. We also have a story on Joan Nathan, maybe the preeminent Jewish food writer, just in time for the release of her latest cookbook.

This last week was also the occasion of the naming of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. And this year, for the first time since 2004, the top honor went to an American restaurant: New York's Eleven Madison Park. It's an interesting list, although if you're looking for Los Angeles restaurants — and many female chefs — among the 100, you're out of luck. L.A., however, has both many superb restaurants and many superb women chefs. Which brings us to Jonathan Gold's latest review, of chef Akasha Richmond's new restaurant, AR Cucina, in Culver City.


Cucina Akasha

Owner and chef Akasha Richmond puts the final touches on the Thao Farms broccolini and mushroom pizza.
Owner and chef Akasha Richmond puts the final touches on the Thao Farms broccolini and mushroom pizza. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

This week, Jonathan considers AR Cucina, chef Akasha Richmond's Culver City Italian restaurant. Before she started serving marvelous bowls of cacio e pepe and risotto verde, Richmond was making tandoori lamb and paneer: AR Cucina replaced what was previously the chef's Indian restaurant, Sambar. The change makes for some pretty good Westside eating.

Passover puffs and profiteroles

Passover profiteroles with strawberries
Passover profiteroles with strawberries (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Cooking for Passover can be a lot more fun than matzo ball soup and brisket (not that traditional Passover recipes aren't wonderful): How about profiteroles with chocolate sauce? Food writers Faye Levy and Yakir Levy talk through making pâte à choux with matzo meal for the holiday. Thus not only profiteroles, but cream puffs and gougères.

Cooking from "King Solomon's Table"

Cover of Joan Nathan's new book, "King Solomon's Table," left, and author Nathan.
Cover of Joan Nathan's new book, "King Solomon's Table," left, and author Nathan. (Alfred A. Knopf, left, Gabriela Herman, right)

Cookbook author Joan Nathan's latest book, "King Solomon's Table," is a global exploration, a compendium of Jewish cooking around the world — just in time for Passover. Food writer Jessica Ritz talks to Nathan about why it took her six years to write this book, the many places she explored in researching it — India, Cuba, El Salvador — and how important immigrant food is to us all. Plus: a recipe for matzo brei chilaquiles.

Beer and flowers

Where there are wildflowers, chances are there's a local brewery nearby.
Where there are wildflowers, chances are there's a local brewery nearby. (John Verive)

If you've been to Anza-Borrego lately, you'll know all about the super bloom that's been happening — the post-rain wildflowers that have been showing up in lovely, unlikely places. The rains have been a boon to vineyards too. Beer writer John Verive goes in search of great places to drink craft beer and check out the blooms. He also gives some beer suggestions. Because there's nothing like a pint of guava-infused IPA El Mas Guapo to go with your flowers.

The Last Magnificent

Jeremiah Tower from "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent."
Jeremiah Tower from "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent." (The Orchard)

Jeremiah Tower became famous while cooking at Chez Panisse, but the legendary chef has had a long career since leaving Alice Waters' Berkeley restaurant, as the new documentary "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent" makes clear. He chats with food writer Margy Rochlin about that, as well as his San Francisco restaurant Stars and life on the beach in Mexico, where he now lives. Plus: a recipe!

Brunch, Bellinis and bunnies

Le Petit Paris, Ryan Tanaka 2016
Le Petit Paris, Ryan Tanaka 2016 (Ryan Tanaka)

Next weekend is Easter, which means that you should already be thinking about your brunch menu. We'll have Easter brunch cooking stories for you in a few days, but if you're wanting someone else to cook for you, Jenn has a list of restaurants around town with Easter brunch specials. Bottomless Bellinis. Bacon French toast. A bunny petting zoo (!).

The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl: Want to spend 31 days exploring the food of this city through a Night Market, forums, dinners, films, pop-ups and more dining and drinking? A monthlong food festival is coming to L.A. in May. The full program guide comes out in print on Sunday, April 9.


The Daily Meal, the food and drink website under the editorial direction of Colman Andrews, is now one of our partners. Check out their 101 best pizzas in America and other stories, recipes and videos.

Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers and now features his 2016 Best Restaurants. If you didn't get a copy of the booklet, you can order one online here.

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