Hai Di Lao: The Disneyland of Hot Pot

Dancing Noodles at Hai Di Lao

In partnership with Westfield Santa Anita.

Memories of hot pot have always involved family and friends around one or two boiling pots of broth on hot plates, set upon the dining room table and enjoyed over conversation, often during the holidays such as Lunar New Year. Sometimes, it was simply the way my mom handled a meal when there were going to be a lot of people coming over for dinner. Raw cut meats, vegetables, bean thread noodles, and tofu were laid out on the table, waiting their turn to get dunked, cooked, then retrieved before being dipped into a personal bowl of XO sauce
beat with a raw egg, and eaten.

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First Taste: Neal Fraser’s Redbird at The Vibiana

Maine Lobster, gnocchi sardi, nettles, black trumpets

The long-awaited restaurant from Neal Fraser, Amy Knoll Fraser and Bill Chait is finally here, and all of Los Angeles is the better for it. With a cocktail program focused on the classics by Julian Cox and a wine list curated by Diane Pandolfini, Redbird will stand to be one of the most exciting openings of 2015 – something everyone can confidently say even while it’s still January.

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Talking ABC’s The Taste and Petit Trois with Vanessa Lauren and Ludo Lefebvre

Ludo Lefebvre and Vanessa Lauren

If you’ve been following the third season of The Taste on ABC, you’re familiar with contestant Vanessa Lauren of Team Bourdain. Eliminated on last week’s semi-finale (ep. 6), Vanessa has somewhat since defected to Team Ludo – in the sense that since taping this season’s episodes, she’s been in Ludo Lefebvre’s kitchens at Trois Mec and now Petit Trois. I sat down with Vanessa Lauren and Chef Ludo the other day in anticipation of The Taste finale, which airs tonight.

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Twenty-One Reasons to dineL.A.: January 19 – February 1, 2015

Lobster Roll – Blue Plate Oysterette

DineL.A. is back and it’s time to scour the menus of participating restaurants all over town. I’ve come up with some reasons to jet to a particular dining establishment near you, whether for lunch or for dinner. Some restaurants offer exclusive dishes to dineL.A., others are offering a particularly enticing lunch and/or dinner menu. There are also participants that might normally be out of your price range or sense of adventure, but dineLA might just be the right occasion to give them a try.

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First Taste: Terrine, Whether For Dinner or Brunch, is a Delight

Charcuterie at Brunch

There have been a lot of openings as of late, and I’ve been lucky to catch a few, because it’s led to some not-so-surprisingly stellar food already enjoyed in the new year. Terrine was no exception during both visits I made: One dinner and one brunch, one week in from when these respective services were launched. Los Angeles has long-awaited this latest venture from Managing Partner Stephane Bombet and Chef Kris Morningstar, most recently of LACMA’s Ray’s & Stark Bar, and the early results show that the restaurant is actually living up to all the buzz.

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Bruce Kalman Ups the Ante at Union Pasadena

Smoked pork chop, market vegetables, wild mushrooms, Marsala, sage

Though I’ve been hearing that, as of late, there are more and more reasons to eat in Pasadena, I’ve admittedly yet to fully experience many of those restaurants for myself. So it made sense that I might start with Union Pasadena, where diners are enveloped in a haven of Chef Bruce Kalman’s (formerly The Churchill, The Misfit, Urbano Pizza Bar) comfort food.

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The 2nd Annual Sriracha Festival Returns to Great Success

Sriracha Marinated Chimichurri Steak Taco – Komodo

It was a thankfully mild Sunday in Chinatown, and Grand Central Plaza was filled with red tents under which chefs, cooks, brewers, bartenders and vendors doled out Sriracha-themed exclusives to enthusiasts of the celebrated, local Rooster sauce. Whether the food and drink were evocative of or complementary to the red jalapeno chili sauce, there was no shortage of flavor to be found on that block between Broadway and Hill.

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LA Phil Launches “Get Your Phil” Pre-Concert, Prix Fixe Dinner Partnership

Walt Disney Concert Hall. Photo: Adam Latham

Now that the Hollywood Bowl season has wrapped, it’s time to consider the current LA Phil season at Walt Disney Concert Hall. From Salonen to Dudamel, Mozart to Stravinsky and Haydn brass to Sibelius on violin and Pink Martini jazz – there’s great diversity in their concert schedule. To sweeten the deal, the LA Phil has also partnered up with a few restaurants for select concerts to offer 3-course, $25 prix fixe meals to keep you sated before the performance.

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The Fantastic Sandwiches at Torta Company

Milanesa (breadded chicken) Torta comes with a layer of frijol

There are a lot of choices available in the food court at Fig and 7th in Downtown L.A., but only two stands offers a myriad of excellent Mexico City fare. Jimmy Shaw’s fifth installation of Loteria! Grill stands next to the very first Torta Company, a collaboration with his brother Andy that has finally come to fruition after many years of recipe-testing and planning. And while many don’t know it, we Angelenos are so very lucky to have access to such a fine product as Jimmy and Andy’s tortas.

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All-Star Chef Lineup at Pier del Sol Special Olympics Fundraiser on October 12, 2014

Santa Monica Pier – Credit: Phil Scoville on Flickr

The Special Olympics’ main fundraiser of the year is coming up in a week and a half, and as with every year, high wattage kitchen star power is showing up with world-class bites for the VIP brunch taking place on the historic and scenic Santa Monica Pier at Pacific Park.

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