Here in LA, we sure love to brunch, and why the hell not? Wake up, drink up, stuff your face, sounds great! Bagatelle in West Hollywood opened their doors to us to try out their new Saturday brunch. Since they also added some new items to their brunch menu, we couldn’t wait to try them.
Glazed Donut Bistro, WeHo’s newest gourmet donut shop, looks a lot more like a cafe or fancy sandwich shop than a purveyor of the common donut. In addition to serving Stumptown Coffee, GDB serves top shelf orange juice, lattes, and adult beverages. It’s modern and upscale decor represents nothing I’ve seen from a donut shop before.
L.A. Foodie produced a series of 4 promotional spots for KCRW’s winter fund drive. The spots feature Evan Kleiman (Good Food), Frances Anderton (DnA, Design & Architecture), Michael Silverblatt (Bookworm), and Elvis Mitchell (The Treatment). Join Ben, Drew, and the KCRW on-air team as they travel through the air above Los Angeles in a magical, flying KCRW tote bag. The magical tote bag makes stops at the Gamble House in Pasadena, the Apple Pan in West L.A., The Last Bookstore on Spring Street in DTLA, and the Hollywood Forever cemetery for a night time screening of the moden American classic, Good Burger. Support KCRW!
According to investigative journalist Chris Leonard, consolidation within the meat market has caused a few large companies to dominate our country’s supply of beef, pork, and chicken. But since prices are low, why does that matter? And what can you do about it, anyway?
Leonard’s the author of a new book on the subject, “The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business,” and he details how this all happened from his perspective as an agribusiness reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Associated Press. He now serves as a fellow at The New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute in Washington, DC.
Leonard will be speaking in L.A. with Zócalo Public Square on March 3, 2014 at 7:30pm at the Petersen Automotive Museum. We caught up with him in between West coast events and asked how we, the average meatophile, could beat the meat monopoly.
LA Foodie: Your book demonstrates how four companies essentially control all the meat we eat. What avenues do consumers have to affect change in the current system of meat production? Is it as simple as avoiding fast food?
Chris Leonard: It’s almost impossible to avoid the big four meat companies if you eat meat at all. These companies make 85% of all the beef in the United States, 65% of all the pork, and they make all the unlabeled meat that we eat at restaurants, cafeterias, and nursing homes. That’s the point of the book: at the grocery store at least, there’s virtually no consumer choice. You might be picking between four brands of products, but all those brands will be owned by Tyson Foods or Smithfield.
The only effective way to opt-out of the system is either to become a vegetarian or steer yourself to a local producer. There are a lot of really smart entrepreneurs right now who are doing a system of locally produced meat where you know your farmer and the production methods used at the farm. And that market is growing. But it still makes up a very small percentage of the overall meat industry and supply.
Brazilian churrascaria-style steakhouses are a great experience everyone should try at least once. Gauchos Village in Glendale invited us to try their All-You-Can-Eat hot/cold buffet and BBQ meats. Friday and Saturday nights are the nights to come, as the restaurant hosts a lively party with samba dancers. We unknowingly came on a Sunday and quickly wished we had been there for a more upbeat crowd. It seemed like a slow night; we were about 1 of 5 tables in a large room that could easily seat 75 or more.
Unattractive hot/cold Buffet
We started with the hot/cold buffet, which sadly didn’t make a great first impression. It was a bit of a mess, and you could tell things had probably been sitting out all day. However, that’s probably okay since I think it’s a rookie mistake to fill up on sub-par unlabeled sides and get too full for the amazing charcoal meats.
Lombo (pork loin) is sliced into filets and encrusted with a rich Parmesan cheese coating before roasting over an open flame
Now, the meats are where it’s at. Like I said, don’t waste your time with the hot/cold buffet but do grab at least two Brazilian cheese bread balls!
Flip your little marker to the green side to get the gaucho-dressed meat servers to keep coming to your table, slicing off pieces of their 16 different varieties of meats. Since there’s so much to try you might as as well try it all (as we refer to it: THE MEAT GAUNTLET). Most of the meats are seasoned pretty perfectly so try to get a cut of the meat that includes as much of the grilled outside as possible. Our favorites were the Polish and Brazilian sausages (juicy and not too spicy) and we also really enjoyed the lamb and the buffalo-seasoned chicken. We didn’t care for the Lombo, or Tri-tip—both were too dry. Other solid choices were the Filet mignon wrapped in bacon and their signature meat Picanha, which is a top sirloin cap. Even the Garlic bread they slice off is pretty damn good. Make sure you have a large glass in front of you as some of the meat can get a little dry. Red wine pairs really well with all of the red meats. Don’t skip out on the delicious cinnamon pineapple; it’s so juicy, and that first warm bite will make you crave more.
Warm, juicy pineapple
We probably could have stopped at the pineapple, but that’s no fun. So we ordered Homemade Chocolate Mousse and Caramel Flan. I really enjoyed both sweets after such a savory, salty meal, but for me the real winner was the mousse. Its rich chocolaty thickness was just spot-on! It was a great treat to end a wonderful meaty feast. Next time we come back to Gauchos Village, we will be sure to catch the dancing ladies and have another glass of mousse.
"Uh oh, I'm hungry at Dave & Busters!" - An Emergency Guide
So you’re at the new Dave & Buster’s at the Howard Hughes Center killing a couple hours before you check out Star Trek 17 in IMAX 4D SMELL-O-VISION at the Rave. Your stomach starts to grumble, but you’ve still got credits left on your gaming card. WHAT TO DO?!? Not to worry—the D&B guys invited us to their opening to let us try some of the grub, and we’re here to help guide you through your hunger!
HIGH SCORER: Pretzel Dogs
Obviously, D&B is a huge chain with an enormous kitchen, so we’re not looking for food miracles here. The best of what we had were The Pretzel Dogs—solid and tasty in the dipping sauce. Bonus points for convenience!
I think it’s fair to say the Wurstkücheification of L.A. is well under way. I, for one, welcome our new wiener overlords. Every neighborhood should have a solid sausage & beer place. Atwater Village has a good one in Link-n-Hops. Their Munich Style Pretzel—light, fluffy, and perfectly salted—may be the best in town. With 24 tasty beers on tap, great bottle selections, a few wines, and an array of fruity sodas and teas, you’re sure to find something to wash down one of their 23 delicious sausages.
KCRW and L.A. Foodie worked together to produce 4 promo spots for KCRW’s February 2014 fund drive. The spots were written by Ben & Drew and feature Elvis Mitchell, Evan Kleiman, Frances Anderton, and Michael Silverblatt. Listen to all 4 spots in the player below.
The Magical KCRW Tote Bag: Chapter 4 with Michael Silverblatt
This is part 4 of a 4-part series. Also check out part 1, part 2, and part 3. (No need to listen in order).
When Ben and I (Drew) wrote this script, we seriously didn’t know if Michael Silverblatt (host of KCRW’s Bookworm) or producer Jenny Radelet would allow our script to get past the concept phase. You see, we wrote Mr. Silverblatt as a book addict. The kind of desperate soul who might do taboo things for his next sweet, sweet fix of Faulkner. But they went for it!
In this episode (chapter 4 of 4) Michael thinks he overhears Ben & Drew talking about books. (We aren’t.) So he smashes through Drew’s wall and invites the Food Dudes into his Magic Flying Tote Bag. They soar through the nighttime air to The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A. That’s where they stash the really high-end premium lit (according to Michael).
In this chapter, Ben and Drew attempt to watch the modern comedy masterpiece Good Burger on VHS. Elvis Mitchell (having received a distress call on his Elvis-Mitch-Alarm) smashes through Drew’s wall. Elvis takes Drew and Ben on a ride through the skies of L.A. and lands at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for an outdoor Cinespia screening of…well, I’m not going to spoil the ending. And you couldn’t possibly guess, could you?
In this episode, Frances overhears Ben & Drew talking about Pasadena. So she swoops down and smashes through Drew’s wall to announce an impromptu tote bag flight to Pasadena’s historic Gamble House. The Food Dudes snuggle up with Frances in an Eames chair and strap in for a sexy, innuendo-filled ride!
Here’s what happened… KCRW listened to our recent #LAFoodiePodcast Christmas special and loved it. So they asked us to produce a series of spots for KCRW’s current fund drive (2/6/2014 through 2/14/-2014). Yes! it’s the real Even Kleiman this time!
This is “Chapter 1” of a 4 chapter series. Expect to hear more Magical KCRW Tote Bag stories through the end of this week. Please share these radio spots with your social peeps! We had tons of fun making them. I hope you enjoy!!
#SupportKCRW to find out where the Magical KCRW Tote Bag goes next!