Newsletter: Feeding the homeless, singing in your cups


Good morning. It’s the final Saturday of the year, and some of us have been up for a while, maybe watching sports, baking bread, hitting the farmers markets or reading about 2018. If you’re already thinking about New Year’s Eve — and it’s worth thinking about we have a Mexican drinking song playlist. You could also apply much of our recent no-stress drinking guide to this next holiday.

If you’re more inclined to volunteering than watching sports, movies or the Rose Parade — or drinking your way into 2019 — then we have a piece about a chef who switched from cooking for Berkeley’s restaurant-goers to cooking for that city’s homeless. It’s been a long year, so be safe and have a very Happy New Year. Enjoy your weekend.

Amy Scattergood



Cal Peternell drives around with a pot of Indian dal in the backseat in search of homeless to feed, in Berkeley.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Food writer John Birdsall chronicles what chef Cal Peternell has been doing since leaving Alice Waters’ famed Berkeley restaurant. These days, Peternell and his wife, Kathleen Henderson, spend much of their time feeding not restaurant diners, but Berkeley’s homeless.


Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera performs in Irvine in 2010 as part of Lilith Fair.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

To quote Gustavo Arellano: “Alcohol plays a big role in Mexican music: devil, amigo, killer, savior. Its ubiquity is such that you can create a bangin’ playlist based off of nearly every Mexican alcohol imaginable. So we did!”



Chef Roy Choi in front of his new restaurant, Best Friend, located inside the Park MGM hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Chef Roy Choi has a new restaurant, writes Jenn Harris, and it’s not an L.A. taqueria but a Las Vegas joint inside the Park MGM hotel called Best Friend. There’s a store selling instant ramen, a kimchi room, a menu that includes kimchi jjiggae and Tomahawk steak with salsa verde. “Rihanna was my muse for everything,” says Choi.


There’s a new taqueria in Burbank, as Hadley Tomicki reports, that serves Peruvian lomo saltado tacos. “It’s about 70% traditional Tijuana taco stand, with a 30% Peruvian touch,” says the owners. Thus ají sauce with jalapeños and cilantro.



What’s new this week via Hadley’s weekly report: At Margot in Culver City, you can now find cocktails, pasta-like culurgiones with ‘nduja and rooftop 360-degree views. There’s a new chocolate shop in Mar Vista, plus a new spot for country fried steak sandwiches in Chinatown.

Our 101 Restaurants We Love list for 2018 is out. The list incorporates restaurants and trucks from around Los Angeles and Orange County, in alphabetical order (no rankings this year). Plus this year there’s a bonus list of 10 classic restaurants.

Check us out on Instagram at @latimesfood.

And don’t forget the thousands of recipes in our California Cookbook recipe database.

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