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Counter: Battera, mezcal and burnt milk ice cream

This week feels like as good a time as any to indulge, in ice cream (it’s still ice cream weather in Los Angeles!), in craft beer, in giant bowls of spicy noodles, or in excellent sushi. And lucky for us we live in a city that has it all, and much more.

Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold gets “whomped over the head with flavor” by the battera sushi at the Old Pasadena restaurant Osawa, the subject of this week’s restaurant review. For craft beer lovers, beer writer John Verive takes a look at the current six-pack craft beer trend. And I’ve got the lowdown on this week’s restaurant news, including a new noodle shop called Killer Noodle from the folks behind the Tsujita restaurants (it’s called killer for a reason), and a West L.A. expansion for Chinatown hot chicken restaurant Howlin’ Ray’s.

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Then there’s the kind of indulgence you make for yourself at home. Food editor Amy Scattergood reviews “Mexican Ice Cream: beloved Recipes and Stories” by Fany Gerson, and shares a recipe for some truly special burnt milk ice cream. And Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter has recipes for the best pancakes, and 127 of our favorite restaurant recipes. So whether you get whomped over the head with flavor at a sushi restaurant, or whip up a batch of pancakes for dinner, enjoy!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE UNEXPECTED

Head sushi chef Yutaka Kudo prepares the chef's special sushi plate at Osawa in Pasadena.
Head sushi chef Yutaka Kudo prepares the chef's special sushi plate at Osawa in Pasadena. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

This week, Jonathan considers Osawa, the Old Pasadena restaurant known for its elaborate bento boxes and shabu shabu. You can order excellent battera sushi too (just ask for it since it’s not on the menu), but Jonathan suggests looking at the daily specials menu. “Osawa” he writes, “is an easy place to be a secret connoisseur.”

MEZCAL’S RISE

Gloria Mateo, matriarch of the family behind the Los Javis mezcal brand, explaining mezcal varietals.
Gloria Mateo, matriarch of the family behind the Los Javis mezcal brand, explaining mezcal varietals. (Jonathan Horwitz)

Brothers Javier and Jaime Mateo started their mezcal company in L.A. with one case, in one liquor store. Writer Sarah Jo Portnoy has the story behind the rise of the company, and how they ended up selling their mezcal at every Trader Joe’s in California.

RECIPE FOR TEACHING

Chef instructor Charles Negrete outside L.A. Kitchen.
Chef instructor Charles Negrete outside L.A. Kitchen. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

After working at some of the best restaurants in the city, ex-drug addict chef Charlie Negrete decided to become an instructor for L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that trains formerly homeless or incarcerated adults along with kids aging out of the foster care system for kitchen jobs. Writer Zan Romanoff shares Negrete’s story, and how he is helping others by teaching.

CHEF REMEMBERED

Jitlada chef Tui Sungkamee died Wednesday.
Jitlada chef Tui Sungkamee died Wednesday. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles food world is in mourning. Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee, chef and co-owner at the lauded Jitlada restaurant in Thai Town, died Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 66. Jonathan Gold included Jitlada on his 101 Best Restaurants list every year. And the restaurant was a favorite for many Los Angeles chefs and food lovers. Sungkamee was one of this city’s great talents, and his masterful ability to deliver heat elevated this city’s Thai food scene. He will be missed.

MARKET REPORT

(Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)

In her weekly market report, Noelle considers persimmons. You can find an increasing variety of the fruit at farmers markets through fall and winter. And Noelle has plenty of suggestions for how to use them, including on a cheese platter or in a number of baked goods.

The 2017 edition of Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants is coming out soon, online on Oct. 23 and in print on Oct. 29. Will we have a new No. 1? Good question. The Gold List, the launch party for this year’s 101 (previously called Bite Nite) is set for Oct. 23 at the MacArthur Los Angeles. Get tickets here. And, of course, here’s the 2016 list.

The Daily Meal, the food and drink website under the editorial direction of Colman Andrews, is now one of our partners. Check out its new 2017 list of the the country’s 101 best pizzas and other stories, recipes and videos.

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