Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Trump vs. California

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Sept. 21.

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Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week:

Top Stories

California vs. Trump: President Trump arrived in California on Tuesday and immediately criticized the state for the homeless crisis gripping cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In an early win for the president, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction Thursday blocking California’s first-in-the-nation law requiring candidates to disclose their tax returns for a spot on the presidential primary ballot.

California filed a lawsuit Friday against the Trump administration, challenging its decision to revoke a rule that empowers the state to set tougher car emissions standards than those required by the federal government.


Global climate strikes: From to Paris to Peshawar, Washington state to Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of young people led protests Friday demanding action on climate change as a United Nations summit approaches Monday.

Ed Buck arrested: Homeless men in desperate circumstances called the wealthy Democratic donor “Dr. Kevorkian,” according to a 22-page federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday that painted a depraved picture of how he allegedly paid at least 10 men to use drugs for his own pleasure.

Conception fire’s cause: Federal officials trying to determine the cause of the blaze that killed 34 people aboard the Conception have zeroed in on the boat’s electrical outlets as a potential source. These outlets weren’t built to charge dozens of phones and cameras and the growing number of electronics in use every day.

Clippers stars: How did the Clippers manage to win Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, two of the best players in the NBA? A behind-the-scenes look from columnist Arash Markazi.

Contractors or employees? A closely watched proposal to limit companies’ use of independent contractors was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. Under AB 5, Californians will be considered employees of a business unless an employer can show the work they perform meets a detailed set of criteria.

More women being killed: As overall homicides in Los Angeles County are declining, the number of women slain has steadily risen. L.A. Times reporters examined nearly 300 deaths and found the vast majority of the women knew their accused killers.

New USC president: Carol L. Folt, who was inaugurated Friday morning as the University of Southern California’s 12th president, faces one of the most daunting assignments in American higher education — fixing USC.

L.A.'s best restaurant? Six years in, one chef couple has perfected the template for the all-day modern American restaurant. It’s the restaurant our food critic recommends more than any other in L.A.

Pier lottery: To be a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier, it helps to be lucky. There are only 24 designated performer spaces on the heavily trafficked pier, and on a summer weekend there can be 50 or more performers at the 5 p.m. lottery drawing for a chance at a prime spot.

1. Trump tells donors in Beverly Hills: “We’ll never be a socialist country.” Los Angeles Times

2. A Northridge family’s tragedy has reverberated through the San Fernando Valley’s Jewish community. Daily News

3. This is the East Bay prison where Felicity Huffman wants to serve her sentence. East Bay Times

4. A local woman beat a WeHo parking ticket. All she had to do was go viral. LA Magazine

5. How L.A. neighborhoods got their names. Curbed LA

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Pepe Aguilar’s “Rodeo Without Borders” evokes old Mexico, with touches of L.A. Los Angeles Times

Constance Wu’s Hollywood destiny: A fantastic profile of the “Hustlers” star. The New Yorker

From the archives: “The Hustlers at Scores” is the 2015 New York magazine story that became the aforementioned movie. New York Magazine

Looking ahead

Saturday Recommendation: Pastries at République in Los Angeles

Peach danish, banana Nutella crostata and matcha raspberry bostock from the morning pastry case at République.
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

This week in our food section, restaurant critic Bill Addison reveals the one thing we all really want to know: the name of the L.A. restaurant that he recommends more than any other in the city. The answer (spoiler alert) is République — the towering South La Brea Avenue domain of husband-and-wife chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke in the former Campanile and La Brea Bakery complex.

In Addison’s view, the all-day restaurant’s “totality” is what “makes it an unassailable cornerstone of Los Angeles dining,” and his most frequently recommended pick. There is much to be enjoyed at République, but here’s what Addison has to say in his review about the pastries, which more often than not draw long lines:

“I’m inside after 15 minutes, gazing down the sightline of pastries, starting with cream and custard creations (éclairs, rolled mixed berry pavlova, a beautifully wobbly strawberry tres leches) perched on a chilled surface. The crowd inches forward; cakes, cookies, muffins, caneles, crostatas, tarts, brioches, Danishes and doughnuts come into view, crowded on wooden boards or stacked on stands. Croissants — plain (superbly flaky and buttery; a purist’s yardstick), ham and cheese, chocolate, salted caramel — splay out closest to the counter where you order.

A sign by the éclairs reads, ‘Peach raspberry cream pie,’ but its space sits empty. ‘Any left?’ I ask a staffer. She shakes her head.

Not a surprise. Regulars know the short list of extra-prized treats sell out within a couple of hours of the bakery’s 8 a.m. opening, and faster on the weekends. Raspberry-pistachio kouign amann tops the list: It shatters while revealing its sweet, soft heart; a Leonard Cohen song rendered in viennoiserie. Barbecue chicken hand pies, the meat shredded into twangy strands, disappear fast, as do the seasonal fruit pies.

The peach Danish is an exquisite consolation prize, the fruit anchored by a film of almond cream, the dough so finely structured that I can stretch its layers like an accordion. A slice of Basque cheesecake — the dessert du jour in the pastry world, with its purposefully scorched, smoky crown — could be a little silkier in the center. It makes me long for pie.”

[See also: “Los Angeles is a fantastic pastry town. Here are four places our critic loves” in the Los Angeles Times]

République is located at 624 S. La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles. (310) 362-6115.

Read the full review here. Want for more food stories delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the Tasting Notes newsletter, written by restaurant critics Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison.

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Diya Chacko for all her help on the Saturday edition.)