Counter: Meat me in Santa Monica

Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times


We’re as fond of vegetables as anyone, but when the shank of summer comes around, our thoughts occasionally turn to meat. And when our thoughts turn to meat, you’ll often find us — and by us, I mean practically everyone in the Food section — gathered around the meat case at Belcampo Meat Co. in downtown's Grand Central Market, trying to figure out how the impeccably butchered shanks and flanks and butts might somehow turn into dinner. 

In my column this week, I contemplate the new Belcampo restaurant in Santa Monica, a clubby steakhouse that sometimes seems like the speak-easy adjunct to the big, gleaming meat market in front. If you’ve ever wondered how a gifted chef might handle a lean but beautiful grass-fed steak, this is probably the place to learn.

Elsewhere in the feed, I drop by Burritos La Palma in El Monte for the slender, spicy burritos of beef birria everyone has been talking about; Jenn Harris checks out the new patio at Esterel; and John Verive, bless his ale-soaked soul, reports on the new home of the Strand Brewing Co.

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Jonathan Gold

Belcampo by the beach

If you, like so many of us, spend an inordinate amount of time (and money) at Belcampo, the butcher shop and counter at Grand Central Market, you probably know that the same folks have opened a restaurant in Santa Monica. This week Jonathan considers the food and excellent cocktail program (Hello, Josh!) at the place.

Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Check out this patio

Like the gorgeous, pastoral patio at Terrine? Or the rooftop greenhouse at Commissary? Then you probably need to go eat at the new Estérel restaurant inside the Sofitel. The place has a new chef, new menu, new design — and one gorgeous garden patio. Jenn checks it out.


Now Taco Bell comes to you

The next time you're having a house party and that craving for a bacon chalupa or Doritos Locos taco sneaks up on you, just order delivery. That's right, Taco Bell has started delivering. Lucky you.

Taco Bell

Celebrity burritos

Jonathan reports that "the celebrity taco of the moment may not even be a taco at all — it is the burrito de birria at Burritos La Palma in El Monte, a small burrito that is, for all intents and purposes, a taco." Works for us. 

Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times

Notes from the food and drink underground

Olive Garden has a food truck. Yep, and with free food too. 

John Verive details the new Torrance home (9,000 barrels of beer!) of Strand Brewing Co.

John Verive

What we're reading

How the current "New American" food scene is, well, un-American. Also derivative and bland and appealing to the "lowest common denominator." From Slate.

Chef Alex Stupak excerpts an essay from his forthcoming book — about cheeseburger tacos. Yes, you read that right, and he gives us a recipe. From Lucky Peach.  

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