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Newsletter: Counter: The fried chicken and pizza edition

Gus’s fried chicken
The two-piece fried chicken plate at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.
(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)

Sometimes pretty, repeating tasting menus and dishes that look like still-life paintings just aren’t what you feel like eating. Sometimes you just want a plate of hot and crazy-crunchy fried chicken, maybe with a side of fried pickles, or a pizza the size of a hubcap. Maybe it’s the playoff season; maybe it’s all that free floating election anxiety. Either way, this week we’ve got nothing about haute cuisine — but plenty on serious comfort food.

Jonathan Gold considers a place that specializes in fried chicken, plates of it, followed by a slice of chess pie. (If you prefer Asian fried chicken, then he’s written about that; and Nashville hot chicken too.) Then we think about what pizzas around town aren’t getting enough love: pies stuffed with ricotta, or loaded with ‘nduja, or mortadella, or clams. What to drink with all those pies? We’ve got some bottles of wine to recommend. Or if you’re a craft beer drinker, we have some new L.A. beers too, just in time for Dodgers playoff baseball, and Week 5 of the NFL in Los Angeles.

Amy Scattergood

Fried chicken in Arlington Heights

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Jonathan heads to Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken, a branch of the original (and very famous) fried chicken restaurant in Mason, Tenn., that’s in the Arlington Heights neighborhood of L.A. This is not Nashville hot chicken, but batter-fried and deeply addictive.

Fried okra, greens and fried chicken at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Fried okra, greens and fried chicken at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times )

5 ways of looking at a pizza

Deputy Food Editor Jenn Harris considers five pies that you might not be eating enough of: under-the-radar pizzas from places such as DeSano Pizza Bakery and Kettle Black. Detroit-style pizza? Got that too, thanks to the folks at Unit 120 in Chinatown.

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Five Los Angeles pizzas.
Five Los Angeles pizzas.
(Los Angeles Times)

More than Chianti with your pie

Wine has always been a traditional pairing with pizza, and so wine writer Patrick Comiskey checks out five bottles that match up pretty well with your favorite pie. Yes, there’s that bottle of Chianti, but there’s also, say, the sparkling wines of Franciacorta.

Pairing pizza with wines.
Pairing pizza with wines.
(Scott Simms / Getty Images )

Hello Kitty wine? Not kidding. 

Of course, if you’re a big Hello Kitty fan, you might want to score some bottles of Hello Kitty wine for your next pizza party. Yes, it’s real stuff: Sanrio, the company that created the character, teamed up with Torti Winery in Italy to produce a line of wines under a Hello Kitty label — both a white and a rosé.

A bottle of Hello Kitty wine made by Torti Winery, available at Antonello Ristorante in Orange County.
A bottle of Hello Kitty wine made by Torti Winery, available at Antonello Ristorante in Orange County.
(Sanrio )

A Little Saigon food crawl

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If you find yourself in Westminster and Garden Grove, you could do worse than to check out some of the many fantastic Vietnamese restaurants — the neighborhood is called Little Saigon for a reason. Food writer Esther Tseng checks out where to find great nem nướng̣, rice cakes, bowls of pho and, yes, Viet coffee.

the pork sausage spring rolls from Brodard in Garden Grove.
the pork sausage spring rolls from Brodard in Garden Grove.
(Esther Teng)

Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers. And because you’re probably wondering, Gold’s 2016 Best Restaurants list will be out in late October, along with our annual Bite Nite celebration.

“City of Gold,” Laura Gabbert’s documentary of Jonathan Gold’s Los Angeles, is now available on Amazon

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Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at food@latimes.com.

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