...the only type of marathon I will ever run.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Just because it's future predictions season here's one more: Foodzie will be the main online marketplace for small artisan food producers and growers, eventually becoming a brick and mortar chain that will rival Trader Joes and Whole Foods.It may be because they sell Luca Chocolate's Bacon Box which includes Chocolate Covered Bacon, Bacon Caramels and Bourbon & Black Pepper Truffles. Or the best popcorn on earth. Or Cayenne Habanero Hot Sauce.Most likely, however, it's because they sell all of the above on one site.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2009 Food Trends

What does the future hold? Food and Wine says sandwich shops and butlers that cook. Bon Appetit says the new American tavern will be the trend to watch. I made my own food Oscar predictions and now I'll do some other food forecasting. Trends of 2008, like pescatarians, locavores and post-Atkinsians, have made diet labeling a bit absurd. So here are some food/diet trends that just may be idiotic enough to be real:

Typovores- People who only eat animals that have the same blood type as they do. This stems from the Blood Type Diet. We realize this diet might be difficult, as it requires knowing your own blood type and getting a blood sample from every animal before they hit the grill. That said, you'll be amazed by how thin and energetic you feel after just two months on the diet...

Greenkillivores- Combining the environment-saving and locovore trends, this group only eat roadkill hit by hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles. Inconveniently Truthful dinner.Last, but certainly not least seems to be everyone else aka Bacon-eaters. Between the bacon bowls, bacon weaves (filled with cheese no less) and bacon-wrapped turducken it seems the bacon industry is recession-proof.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Vegan Hanukkah Test Drive

I skipped Thanksgiving this year because I was sick and I kept getting these shocked, remorseful responses like I missed a free meal at Mastros. Honestly, if you had to base a meal around one animal would you ever choose turkey? Over pork, over beef, over lobster? Really? Turkey? And I'm sorry, but cranberry sauce- that's your sauce of choice over all the other sauces in the world?

Anyway, agree to disagree on the whole Thanksgiving thing... Let's talk about a meal that's not worth missing- Hannukah.
Here we have a meal centered around fried potato. That's what I'm talking about- rich, flavorful, crunchy yet soft, hand-held, greasy goodness:My uncle tested out his vegan latke recipe last night, which if you didn't tell me, I wouldn't know were vegan:

Vagan Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
5 large Russet potatoes peeled
1/4 of an onion; white or brown or sweet if you prefer
1 Tablespoon flour
3 Tablespoons egg substitute powder
Salt and Pepper to taste.
plenty of peanut or Canola oil

Grind or food process potatoes and onion together as course or fine as you like. Mix egg powder with 3 Tablespoons warm water until it is very smooth, no lumps. Move potatoes to a bowl, add flower and egg substitute, salt and pepper, mix well. If it is too watery, add a little more flower, but not too much.

Heat a thick layer of oil in pan, get it fairly hot. Spoon in the latkes about 3" in diameter, not too thick. Watch for brown edges and turn over. When just brown, remove and drain, don't over cook them, they will continue to cook a little as they drain. Replace oil and heat as needed. Makes about 30 latkes.

The vegan pumpkin cheesecake with maple pecan topping was delicious as well.Vegan Pumpkin Cheese Cake with Maple Pecans
1 pre-made graham cracker pie shell
1 15-16 oz can pumpkin pie filling
2 8 oz tubs of Toffuti cream cheese (blue lid)
2-3 oz maple coated pecans

Combine pie filling and cream cheese in a bowl and blend well. Pour mixture in pie shell. Bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes. Layer pecans on top, refrigerate until chilled and firm.

Stay tuned for a full Hanukkah dinner report in a few weeks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Food Oscar Preview

With the announcement of the totally useless, meaningless and altogether unnecessary Golden Globes today, I thought I'd present some of the food related Oscar favorites:

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and a curiously delicious pork butt... I smell an Oscar for The Curious Case of Benjamin Pork Butt-on.

Frank Langella gives a powerful yet sweet performance in Frosting/Nixon.

The compelling story of how an impoverished Indian teen uses one of the finest deep fried foods to earn true love in Corndog Millionaire.
A young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems with a certain ice cream fetish in Revolutionary Rocky Road.

Milk, Doubt and The Reader didn't work well for puns so they didn't make the list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Missing Matsuhisa

I have to admit, I've been down on Nobu Matsuhisa lately. His La Cienega-based Matsuhisa was a go-to spot for work lunches and dinners over the past few years, but didn't make the list once this year. In part it's due to the opening on Nobu up the street. Maybe it's also because Sushi Park, Sushi Zo and Izakaya by Katsuya all have fresher fish (and better prices at the latter).
So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Nobu featured on Bizzare Foods' Japan episode recently. Zimmern and Nobu stood in the kitchen of his Tokyo restaurant eating a brilliant array of dishes including octopus egg (simmered in a mix of fish stock and soy sauce), sea cucumber eggs (harvested eggs formed into a solid sheet of cucumber egg jerky) and turtle blood shooters (fresh blood mixed with sake).
It renewed my interest in Matsuhisa and reminded me why he was able to create the empire that he has today, with scores of imitators (Katsuya...) around the world. To pay my respects I'm making a reservation for before the end of this year.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Fancy Burger Food Marathon

Choosing the best burger in LA is as futile as choosing the best sushi. The argument will rage on longer than the Arab/Israeli conflict. So why not add fuel to the already out of control fire:

The Pug Burger from The Hungry Cat
I didn't get an egg on it, which might render my opinion obsolete but it's a damn good burger. Juicy, rich, almost too big too eat... all wonderful attributes for a burger. The blue cheese is very pungent which could overpower the burger for the faint at taste. With avocado and bacon this burger pulls out all the stops.

The Comme Ça BurgerA more subtle, refined burger bursting with flavor. Pound for pound it might be the best in LA. The way the cheese melts around the patty, it's almost like a cheddar casing. And the bun is worthy of eating on its on.

The Classic at 8oz
This was my second visit to 8oz and I can confidently say it doesn't belong on any "best of" lists. The meat is mealy and dry, the buns don't have that freshly baked quality- it's just outclassed by the other gourmet burgers in LA.
Next time will be the Dirty Burger Food Marathon, for those wonderful greasy under-$5-gut-bombs that LA does so well...

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Trucks Trump

Recently there's been a few of examples of the right way to open a restaurant and a lot more examples of how not to do it:
First the Americanized/fusion Korean bbq. Shin, Jian, Gyenari all opened outside of the delicious confines of Koreatown boasting smokeless bbq and high quality meat in a trendy/upscale environment. Not sure how their doing financially but I haven't heard great things about any of them. Shin was ok, but I'd much prefer a Koreatown restaurant than one in the heart of Hollywood (especially one where most of the tables don't have bbq's and can move for "parties"- be a restaurant, focus on the food first and worry about the parties later).
At the same time a brilliant new concept has opened to rave reviews in the form of Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck. It's an example where fusion works, price is right and eventually they'll grow (while Shin, Jian, Gyenari will eventually disappear).
Another concept that continues to fail is the foodie nightclub. Three ventures opened this year; Foxtail, One Sunset and Kress (Apple can probably be added soon)- all of which initially claimed to be for foodies but have scaled back their menus to simply be bar food to accommodate the freeway-and-canyon club-goers.
At the same time Let's Be Frank started selling healthy/gourmet hot dogs from mobile locations outside the otheroom and now outside Silverlake Wine. There's a right way to combine drunk people and food- don't serve both from the same location. Let the bars and clubs handle the booze and let the foodies handle the food.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Food Marathon Counter-Programming

Food marathoning can take its physical toll. I've been blessed with a fast metabolism but certain 3,000 calorie binge days slow the heart down a bit. That's why I counter my monthly weekend marathons with light/healthy weekday meals. Besides the occasional tom yum soup from Jitlada I tend to eat turkey sandwiches from Subway (no cheese, no mayo). Another standby is Mickey and Sam's Ice Cream Plus. It's a no frills ice cream shop that serves salads, soup and sandwiches exactly how you would make them at home. Regular old iceberg lettuce, store-bought wheat bread, brown rice, microwaveable tofu, jarred sauces... it's really nothing special at all. It's healthy, inexpensive, easy and then there's the dessert. There's yogurt, gelato, sorbet, fat free, low fat, sugar free, low sugar and different combinations. Flavors range from cinnamon to lemon, raspberry ice tea to peanut butter. This one is banana and chocolate hazelnut.For around $10 it's my go to weekday spot for lunch and/or dinner.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Welcome to the Jungle Food Marathon

As I did with the Koreatown Food Marathon, it's time for another quiz. First do your homework:
Food Destination
Dig Lounge
L.A. & O.C. Foodventures
Teenage Glutster
Gourmet Pigs

1. Which of these flavor/consistency combinations was not tasted on the marathon?
a. Sewage/Mush
b. Blue Cheese/Feet/Snot
c. Rubber/Glue
d. Chocolate/Chalk

2. Which restaurant did not have a fish tank?
a. Nkechi African Cafe (Nigerian)
b. El Rocoto (Peruvian)
c. Siem Reap (Cambodian)
d. Quan Hop (Vietnamese)

3. Which restaurant could easily be the set for a martial arts or gangster movie?
a. Nkechi African Cafe
b. El Rocoto
c. Siem Reap
d. Quan Hop

4. Which restaurant had the most addicting sauce/condiment?
a. Nkechi African Cafe
b. El Rocoto
c. Siem Reap
d. Quan Hop

5. Start time was 11:30am. What time was final drop off?
a. 3pm
b. 5pm
c. 7pm
d. 2am

Extra Credit. Which of these names do you like best?
a. The Welcome to the Jungle Food Marathon
b. The Jungle Cruise Food Marathon
c. The Gorge of the Jungle Food Marathon
d. The Apocalypse Chow Food Marathon (thanks to the Haphazard Gourmet)

Highlight the following for answers:
1. d. Chocolate didn't make the menu but the other odd combos rounded out an adventurous day of eating.
2. a. Nkechi African Cafe. But they did have soccer.
3. c. Siem Reap, where you'll find me every weekend dancing to Dhoom Dhoom and other Cambodian/Bollywood hits.
4. b. El Rocoto. The aji rojo and aji verde are like crack. However Quan Hop's fish sauce took a close second.
5. c. 7pm. Making it the longest food marathon in history.