From fresh pasta in Culver City to a Food Network star cake shop in Pasadena, here’s what’s happening in the food world.
Mangia, mangia: Chef Paola Da Re, her son Francesco Sinatra and her daughter Giorgia Sinatra opened Pasta Sisters, a tiny, 12-seat pasta shop in a strip mall in Arlington Heights two years ago. They earned a loyal following serving bowls of fresh spaghetti coated in pesto alla Genovese and pappardelle in Bolognese. Now the family has opened a second location, a 3,400-square-foot pasta palace in the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City. And they’ve added some extra dishes to the menu too. In addition to the fresh pastas, the family will make spezzatino (beef stew) with polenta; chicken scaloppine; mortadella sandwiches; and crostoli (fried dough with powdered sugar). There’s also beer and wine. The new location has ample seating and two outdoor patios. 3280 Helms Ave., Culver City, www.pastasisters.com.
Eating for a cause: If you’ve eaten at Cassia, chef Bryant Ng’s Vietnamese-French restaurant in Santa Monica, you may have tried the chickpea curry with clay oven-baked flatbread. It is one of the most addictive dishes on the menu, maybe even in the city. Ng recently teamed with Mendocino Farms to create a sandwich based on the dish. It features shaved, roasted Mary’s free-range chicken, scallion and lemongrass relish, a fresh herb salad and fontina cheese. Ng added a layer of provolone cheese to the outside of the bread, then griddled it until it’s crispy. And he serves it with a cup of chickpea coconut curry for dipping. The sandwich is available at Mendocino Farms locations March 12-25, and all profits will be donated to the People Concern, a nonprofit that helps the homeless and victims of domestic violence. For locations, visit mendocinofarms.com.
Burger time: Dominique Ansel may be known best for the Cronut, his doughnut-croissant hybrid pastry that has fans and curious diners lining up at his new 189 by Dominique Ansel restaurant and bakery at the Grove. But the pastry chef is turning his attention to burgers. From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 12 through 16, Ansel is turning his restaurant (located upstairs above the bakery, and usually only open for dinner and weekend brunch) into Dom’s Burgers. The dining room will have fake grass, chess boards, picnic blankets to sit on and different stands offering burgers, make-your-own lemonade and roasted nuts. To drink: three kinds of lemonade and beer. And for dessert, cookies and popsicles. 189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, (323) 602-0096, www.dominiqueanselLA.com.
Mix it up: If you’ve watched the Food Network in the last decade, chances are you’re familiar with Duff Goldman. He’s the wide-eyed, enthusiastic host of the shows “Ace of Cakes” and “Kids Baking Championship.” He’s also the brains behind Duff’s Cakemix, a decorate-it-yourself cake and cupcake studio in West Hollywood that opened in 2012. Goldman and co-owner Richard Drapkin recently opened a second location of the cake shop in Pasadena, just south of Colorado Boulevard on the corner of West Dayton Street and South De Lacey Avenue. The studio lets visitors decorate their own prebaked cakes and cupcakes with decorating tools and embellishments all provided by the shop. 165 S. De Lacey Ave., Pasadena, (626) 249-0500, duffscakemix.com.
#brunch: If it’s the weekend, it means that here in L.A., it’s time for brunch. Here are a couple of new ones to check out: Chef Steve Samson’s downtown L.A. restaurant Rossoblu has launched brunch, to be served every Saturday and Sunday. The menu includes lemon ricotta pancakes; Nutella-stuffed French toast and a burger topped with ragu Bolognese. There are plenty of breakfast cocktails too, including a Brodo Mary with spiced tomato water and traditional mimosas. 1124 San Julian St., Los Angeles, (213) 749-1099, www.rossoblula.com. Freedman’s deli in Silver Lake is also serving lunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Chef Liz Johnson is making babka sticky buns; pancakes with bahri date butter and a “baller” bagel with smoked whitefish, caviar and cucumber on a Toronto-style bagel. And from the bar, a Canadian version of a Bloody Mary called the Caesar (made with Clamato) and alcoholic egg creams. 2619 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 568-3754, www.freedmansla.com.
Izakaya: Chef Yamato Miura, who apprenticed at Urasawa and Sushi Gen, has opened Izakaya Tonchinkan, a restaurant that focuses on sake and izakaya tapas, in Arcadia. The restaurant is in the space formerly occupied by Hinotori in a strip mall on Duarte Road. This is Miura’s third restaurant, his first being Benten Ramen in San Gabriel; the second, DTLA Ramen in downtown Los Angeles. At Tonchinkan, Miura is making karaage (Japanese fried chicken); thick-cut beef tongue with salt-cured lemon and soy sauce; oysters steamed on kombu seaweed; and house-cured cheese and silky tofu. He’s also making donabe rice with grilled salmon and salmon roe, yellowtail and sansho peppercorns. 713 W. Duarte Rd., #H, Arcadia.
All stars: Some of the most lauded chefs in the world are headed to L.A. Live this week for the fifth annual All-Star Chef Classic. The event, which takes place Wednesday through Sunday, includes dinners and cooking demos in a custom space that includes a restaurant stadium. The festivities start with a Vegetable Masters Dinner Wednesday featuring food from Michael Voltaggio (ink.well), Josef Centeno (PYT), Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy in San Diego), Wylie Dufresne (Du’s Donuts in NYC) and Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy in NYC). Dinner is accompanied by Champagne pairings and cocktails made with Hangar 1 vodka and Reserva de la Familia. Aida Mollenkamp, host of the Food Network show “Ask Aida” will host the dinner. Tickets start at $295. For more information and to check out the other All-Star Chef Classic events, featuring José Andrés, Ludo Lefebvre and more, visit www.allstarchefclassic.com.