DINNER THEATER AT FIFTY SEVEN

Google “chefs are the new rock stars,” and you’ll find there’s a whole movement of people who think this could be true. Okay, sure. MTV died with Kurt Cobain, and now most of America’s young adults are more likely to be watching Gordon Ramsay than they are to be reading this sentence. As the airtime, headlines, and dollar-signs have it, people who make dinner are more popular than people who play guitar.

If I were a computer twerking the data, I’d arrive at the same conclusion. But I feel like today’s “rock star chefs” couldn’t possibly trigger the kind of emotional response that say, Jim Morrison once did. Like, nobody’s going to cry and scream watching David Chang turn on a blender. On the other hand, there’s got to be somebody out there with a David Chang recipe tattooed on their leg. Or even better, a David Chang face.

Anyway that’s all speculation. What really validates this rock-star-chef phenomenon is that it’s no longer just the TV personalities who matter. In the restaurant world, chefs have recaptured the spotlight and built an eager live audience that’s ready to follow them from popup to food truck and back.

 

Go to a hip new eatery, and you can see into the kitchen. It’s a stage! Take a look at the menu, and you’ll immediately find the name of the chef. It’s a program! Dining out is no longer what you do before the show. It is the show. And nowhere is this more true than at the new Arts District eatery Fifty Seven.

“This used the be the old Heinz Loading Dock,” your server will say in his opening shpiel. “That’s why it’s called Fifty Seven.” And look at her now! All done-up in layers of wood and brick, accessorized with sleek iron rails and mod ceramic vessels. If only the old Heinz managers could see how beautifully their warehouse bay seats twenty on a long leather banquette.

This stunning makeover comes courtesy of Cardiff Giant, the same crew of geniuses behind the rotating nightclub DBA. These guys have figured out a nightlife hack: go curatorial, and you’ll never get old. Accordingly, Fifty Seven is more dining venue than dining concept. It’s a space built to showcase the most compelling chefs from around the country, with a new one arriving every season with a new menu. And while some say LA is the “dark horse” of the culinary scene, we expect Fifty Seven will always have first draft pick. Because really, who could say no to local produce?

 

 

Not Chef David Nayfeld! California’s bounty is what lured him back to his home state after ten years abroad, including racking up three Michelin Stars and six James Beard Awards at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. For his inaugural stint at Fifty Seven, Nayfeld crafted a progressive American menu, featuring deviled eggs with mushrooms tucked inside, sumptuous veal liver with an onion jam spread, and a rustic, stuffed chicken on a bed of romesco sauce.

Whatever kind of stars they are, today’s chefs have undoubtedly risen on a tidal shift in attitudes toward food. Every single day in America, somebody else watches a documentary and becomes aghast to learn the dirty details of our megafarm-to-supermarket system. They join a movement to dethrone the Wonderbread dynasty, with the chefs at the culinary vanguard leading the charge.

In LA’s downtown Arts District, this local/artisanal movement takes on an ironic significance as it burrows in the ruins of yesterday’s national distribution network. It’s really only fitting that the nexus of the dining zeitgeist would appear here, at Fifty Seven, where millions of bottles of ketchup once stopped on their way to every fridge in town.

photo JOSH TELLES

 READ MORE IN OUR E-ISSUE. 

INSIDE: BRISK BODEGA

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The East-coast ex-pats among us may be more immediately familiar with the term “Bodega,” even though we definitely have bodegas here in Los Angeles. Unless you’re so deep into some Beverly Hills lifestyle that your idea of a sandwich shop is Le Pain Quotidien, then you’ve probably been to one.

DJ Jena Red at the Brisk Bodega Launch Event in NYC

Still not following? A bodega is a neighborhood hub, a chill spot to pick up some beer, snacks, batteries, toilet paper, etc. Anything really. And in a celebratory ode to all-things-Bodega, Brisk Iced Tea has teamed up with Vice’s music channel Noisey and Latin culture experts Remezcla to bring you a free concert series, Youtube channel, and online content hub: the Brisk Bodega.

 

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Last Saturday over in Williamsburg, the Brisk Bodega tour took over a warehouse for a twelve hour music and art marathon. The free, open-to-the-public rager featured work by street artists Artek and Mr. Kiji and headlining sets by Just Blaze, DJ Slink, and Brenmar. Go ahead and mark your calendars: the tour is hitting LA in September after stops in Houston, Miami, and Chicago.

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In the meantime, you can get down with the outpouring of hip-hop, art, and style over at BriskBodega.com. We’re also looking forward to new episodes of Bodega Chat, a web series where comedian Juan Bago interviews artists in their neighborhood bodega, giving a little insight into their day-to-day shopping habits (peep the teaser below). But Brisk is inviting regular people to Rep their Bodegas too! Their fun new series of commercials highlight actual shop owners at real bodegas around the country, so if you’ve got some West Coast corner store love, now’s your chance to share it. Tell the folks over at Brisk what gives your local Bodega it’s own unique flavor. You might win them a sponsored commercial, and you might pocket thousand dollars. Not bad.

FOOD SCOOPS: ALLUMETTE

 

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Throughout my tenure as Food Editor of LA CANVAS, I‘ve had some good food and I’ve had some great food. I’ve never felt dissatisfied, and I’ve consistently wondered why Jonathan Gold seemed so unimpressed with things I’ve found thoroughly delicious. Maybe, I think, it’s because he’s had too many meals like the one I’m about to describe to you.

Allumette is a fascinating new restaurant from the owners of Echo Park’s Allston Yacht Club, in the same location. Echo Park’s dining scene (well, everything scene) has been flourishing and changing for years now; a step ahead of the curve, Bill Didonna and Charles Kelly decided to close down their old casually hip small-plates eatery and resurrect it as a sophisticated new concept that cannot be so neatly encapsulated by a few buzz words.

After working with 24-year-old Chef Miles Thompson on The Vagrancy Project Pop-up, Didonna and Kelly eagerly recruited him as executive Chef for Allumette. With a profound respect for the foundations of French cuisine, Thompson pulls from the full spectrum of global flavor possibilities with an approach that’s playful as it is cerebral.  In short, the stuff that comes out of his kitchen is a trip. Or as one diner put it, “A cavalcade of wonder.”

Thompson’s menu is short, seasonal and forward-thinking, offering a nightly tasting/pairing menu and a neat selection of around twelve a-la-carte dishes. They aren’t meant to be shared (but we shared them, because they were too intriguing to keep to ourselves) but instead to be ordered in sequence as a personal tasting. Whatever you choose to do, be adventurous (there isn’t really another option. no filet mignon on the menu). And if being decisive isn’t your thing, you should feel entirely confident that whatever Thompson has planned will be more than pleasurable.

The cocktail menu is similarly impressive, with Serena Herrick of Harvard & Stone behind the bar menu. At first we were gigling over seemingly-absurd ingredients like “Velvet Falernum” and “Tangerine Szechuan Peppercorn.” But then we took a sip of our drinks and were swiftly silenced. Wide-eyed, speechless, licking the top of my mouth, all I had to say was Varnish shmarnish. And the bitter libations made more and more sense as the meal unfolded.

The dinner was a learning experience and a work of art. Read on for the photographic play-by-play.

 

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On the left, a Negroni Sbagliato (“Sbagliato” meaning miscalculated/wrong/messed-up in Italian), a take on a traditional Negroni. This drink is dark and bitter but bubbly, like a grown-up coca-cola, made with the Italian Vermouth Punt E Mes and fizzy Graham Beck Brut. A bit of Aperol and a fresh sage leaf make it extra fragrant and flavorful.

The cloudy pink beauty is the Blood Meridian, which is kind of an uber-sophisticated, complex margarita made with Vida Mezcal, Luxurado Maraschino, blood orange, lime and kumquat. The rim of black lava salt adds a textural, savory bite.

 

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appetizer

 

This is the first thing that Chef Thompson sent out, a gift from the kitchen for every diner. If we weren’t convinced by the cocktails, the butter ball definitely did it (“Oh, this is going to be good”). It’s potato butter with a crispy shell, like a tater tot, mixed with mascarpone and just ready to bathe that piece of toast. Ridiculous.

 

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Sprouting Broccoli, with parmesan sabayon, beet, and black olive vinaigrette. The plate is littered with various herbs and leaves (those flowers taste like cilantro) each gleaming with a glaze and carrying its own pointed, unique taste. This is when things started to get wild.

 

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Who put peas in my macoroni???? If peas were this insanely fresh and tasty when I was a child, I probably wouldn’t have minded. But seriously, this was my favorite dish. Cavatelli with uni ragu, English pea puree, braised mushrooms and fromage noir, which is a cheese that hung out with squid ink and turned black and devilishly delicious. Secretly, Chef Thompson also throws meyer lemon and white chocolate chips in there. It’s bananas. Eat it.

 

 

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Short rib, cooked in pho and surrounded by pretty Vietnamese herbs. The scattered leaves provide a similar experience to the broccoli dish, held down by that hunk of beef that is just INFUSED with delicate spices and sometimes tastes like a ginger snap.

 

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Juicy Pork Shoulder wrapped in bacon, with kombu relish, caramelized onions, and feuille de brick (that yellow stuff). All contrasts: sweet and savory, soft and crispy. Like a breakfast sausage but WOW.

 

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And finally, the Poached Octopus. This was from the tasting menu, but available a-la-carte. The octopus is the ideal texture and sitting in a small pool of Vadouvan Butter, a butter infused with delicate french curry. The fried quail egg just drips the whole thing in yolky goodness while the  marinated slices of blood orange provide a refreshing contrast.

 

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cheesecake

Cheesecake Mousse, with drizzles of maple syrup, some frozen cookie dough and graham cracker bits. Notes of tangy citrus balance out the sweetness so that you’ll easily devour the whole thing (at least I did).

 

Allumette

http://allumettela.com/

1320 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026

(213) 935-8787

 

SONG OF THE DAY: CLASSIXX x NANCY WHANG – “ALL YOU’RE WAITING FOR”

 

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Do you guys ever miss 2008? Things were simpler back then. The DFA-dominated electro scene swung to a funky new-wave kitsch, and everyone knew how to dance to it. Now EDM grinds on this entirely un-ironic agro-wobble, and I don’t know what to do with my booty let alone my head, but standing still seems like the best way to avoid whiplash.

Well, thank goodness for this new track from LA DJ duo Classixx. You could tuck this guy in between CSS and LCD Soundsystem on your old iPOD playlist and no one would know the difference. It’s got all the elements a classic banger needs: a perfectly square fart bass, shimmery poly-stabs, funky gurgles, plus the usual claps, bells and whistles, all bouncing along at a non-threatening pace. Vocals delivered in the style of “this is how I talk and I’m cute” from LCD’s own Nancy Whang wrap the whole thing in a brilliant bow of happy-go-apathy.

Get down, it’s Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOOD SCOOPS: LE GRAND FOODING CRUSH

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A DJ Set by Flea and Josh of RHCP at Le Grand Fooding Milano. Photo by David Zanzoni

 

You may ask yourself, what kind of gastro-fest has a custom soundtrack created by David Lynch and t-shirts designed by Shepard Fairey and Andre Saraiva? Only Le Grand Fooding Crush of course, the spectacularly quirky and fabulous tasting party coming to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA next weekend.

You may have caught word that this one-of-a-kind feast for the senses—which brings together eleven amazing chefs, cutting edge DJs and artists from both Paris and Los Angeles—was all sold out. But fear not—thanks to S. Pellegrino, more tickets will be going on sale this Monday 4/22 at 10 am on Ticket Leap.

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What is “Le Fooding”  you may ask?  The name is such a clever subversion of gourmand pretension, you’d be surprised to learn the French came up with it themselves.

But it’s time to bid that snooty old stereotype adieu. Born in Paris in 2000, Le Fooding is a media and events group that promotes the tastes of today without borders, in the coolest ways possible. A fresh alternative to Michelin, the group/magazine/website is all about celebrating creativity, originality and personality in global food culture and its innovative culinary upstarts.

Their sassy program guide for Le Grand Fooding Crush: Paris – LA is a work of art in of itself, with vintage comic-book style illustration, chic design and off-beat copy breathing new life into the tired brochure medium.

The weekend line-up includes local culinary heavyweights like Josef Centeno, Nancy Silverton, and Roy Choi, plus an introduction to their Parisian counterparts. Beloved French electro-label Kitsune is bringing in Fred Falke and Plastic Plates to man the turntables, while DJs Mathieu Schreyer from Bar Marmont/the Edison, Jordan Lawlor (of M83), Allie Teilz, Chris Holmes and The Embassy will rep LA. A champagne flute from Veuve Cliquot comes with Le Tasty Crush ticket, while high-rollers can opt for more bubbly and exlusive bites with Le Cliquot Crush. If you’ve got a Master Card and are very important, they have even more special stuff to offer you.

The best part? All of this fooding won’t go un-shared: 20% of each ticket sold goes to MOCA and the LA Food bank.

VIDEO: YOUTH LAGOON – “MUTE”

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Trevor Powers arrived on this Earth with a good rock-star name, but when the time came to become one, he decided to call himself Youth Lagooninstead. Now three years into the project, young Powers already has a coveted two-pm slot at Coachella and a critically acclaimed sophomore album (NPR, NY Times, Pitchfork—can you do any better?). Released March 5th on Fat Possum, the record packs up Youth Lagoon’s hypnotic computer-pop and trots it into metaphysical territory.

For visual reference, a new video that plays like a truncated episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? follows a skateboarding teenager as he encounters the strange and supernatural in the supposedly safe confines of his neighborhood. Echoes of church music and bird songs pervade the two-part song like acoustic signatures of suburbia; the track chugging along with the bright synthetic crunch of MGMT on cinematic steroids.

If you’re not headed to Coachella next Weekend, or plan on being waist deep in a pool of margaritas on Friday at 2pm, you can enjoy Mr. Power’s trip-happy tunes tomorrow night at the El Rey.

VIDEO: LAS CAFETERAS x SXSW

 

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Alt-Latin seven-piece Las Cafeteras are known for their amazing spirit, relentless dance jams and fresh take on traditional Mexican roots music. The LA locals recently took their high-energy show on the road to Austin’s SXSW festival, with stops in Phoenix and El Paso along the way. Founding Member Daniel had this to say about the experience: “Whether it was playing for an immigrant rights rally in Phoenix, on the border town of El Paso overlooking Cuidad Juarez, or on the streets in Austin, Texas, Cafeteras came with LOVE to share a message of resistance and a passion for social justice with our blend of urban roots music. South by Southwest blessed us with the opportunity to connect with such artist as NYC’s Brazilian MC Zuzuka Poderosa, Oakland’s Los Rakas, Canada’s A Tribe Called Red, Piñata Protest, M1 from Dead Prez and Talib Kweli.”

If the music wasn’t already enough indication, the band’s new tour doc goes to show they know how keep a positive attitude and show people a great time. Peep the video below for a taste of Las Cafeteras’ signature flavor, and catch them performing live this Thursday Night at Afro Funke, a weekly dance party at Santa Monica’s club Zanzibar. 

 

 

 

BEHIND THE SCENES: CHASE N. CASHE x BRANTLEY GUTIERREZ

 

 

 

 

You’ll notice something a little different about the March/April Issue of LA CANVAS Magazine: There’s a human on the cover!

Typically, our “Last Look” artist creates the cover art. But we haven’t entirely broken with tradition here. The twist is that we decided to interview a photographer, and then ask him to shoot our featured musician for the cover.

For our story on producer/rapper Chase N. Cashe, we recruited portrait photographer Brantley Gutierrez, who has shot covers for Esquire and GQ and snapped pictures of David Byrne, the Foo Fighters, and Taylor Swift—just to name a few.  It all went down at our studio in Lincoln Heights, where resident photographer Rachel Many was around to capture the magic, the glamour and the drama!

Read the full stories on Chase and Brantley in our E-issue, and scroll through to check out all of Rachel’s behind the scene’s photos.

 

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chasechair  chasehands  chasesmile  goofy inthebag

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Photos by Rachel Many

INSIDE: DR. YORK SPECTACLE MAKER

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When I was growing up, my father was always picking up pairs of cheap-o prescription glasses from the revolving rack at the super market. He had many equivalent pairs, which he constantly misplaced and could never find, especially when they were on his head. One time we went on a roller-coaster ride and one of them dropped into the void, doomed to a forgotten life spent among gravel, a few resilient weeds, and the occasional visit from a maintenance man.

While I too suffer from less-than-perfect eyesight, I thankfully failed to inherit my dad’s unstable relationship with eyewear. I’ve been in a healthy monogamous relationship with the same pair of fancy-shmance prescription sunglasses for years now, because my “finicky” (as dad would say) tastes dictate that I give a shit about things I put on my face every single day. But nobody quite understands he importance of selecting the right acetate partner like the duo behind Dr. York Spectacle Maker.

A third-generation optometrist, José Castellanos and his wife Elena Orestano started Dr. York in Mexico City’s bohemian Roma neighborhood in order to share their passion and high standards for independent eyewear, something they had cultivated over time in the mainstream industry. With their sights set on joining the cutting-edge eyewear movement here in LA, they recently opened up a second shop here on West 3rd St.

 

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The shop only carries a small selection of hand-made frames made by up-and-coming indie designers from Italy, Germany, France and North America. Ranging in price from $100-400, only brands that value high attention to detail, unusual unique designs, and elevated craftsmanship are chosen. You can’t find these glasses anywhere else in LA, and better yet, they only sell one of each style, so once you buy a pair, no one else in the city will have the same one.

 

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As you browse the gallery of options, José and Elena offer their in-depth knowledge of each designer and guide you towards the right frame to fit your lifestyle.

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Dr. York’s also has a curated selection of Vintage frames, including Ray Bans from the ’50’s, Carreras from the 80’s, and Christian Dior sunnies from the ’80’s, all restored in-house by José in his neat little workshop. If you have a pair of old frames leftover from Grandma that need a little updating, José’s your guy.

 

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The shifting shelving made from pvc pipe and tubes is a unique architectural feature of the sunny 3rd street shop.

 

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If you’ve been on the hunt for a truly individual pair of spectacles or sunnies, look no further than Dr. York’s Spectacle. You’re sure to have a personalized, friendly shopping experience and leave with a unique set of frames to last through your next roller-coaster ride.

 

DR. YORK SPECTACLE MAKER

8302 West 3rd street Los Angeles, California, 90048

Open 11am-7pm Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm Sunday

 

 

 

 

FOOD SCOOPS: BREWER’S SUPPER AT CHLOE’S

Back in November, we published a story on local favorite Golden Road Brewing, with a focus on their lofty Atwater on-site pub. When I visited last October to interview owners Meg and Tony, there was a lot under construction—including the now-open private pub Chloe’s. Done up in a cozy mix of swank and kitsch, the dark old-school tavern has been operating for months now as an events space, a pit stop on brewery tours, and a meeting grounds for Golden Road’s beer industry club. But at last, you don’t really need a grand reason to hang out here: Golden Road has introduced a Wednesday Night Brewer’s Supper to end your hump days on a high note.

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I got the chance to stop in and try the dinner and was thoroughly impressed. Chef Adam Levoe has devised a series of mix-and-matchable small plates to go with GR’s distributed mainstays like Point the Way IPA and some of the more esoteric batches their brewers concoct for in-house visitors (you can always pick up a growler full of course). Each dish comes with an accompanying pour, inviting you to experience the gastronomical potential of beer in the same way wine-os have been doing it for years. Items like Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio and Duck Confit Croquettes lure out the omnivores, while true to Golden Road form there are enough Vegan dishes to satisfy an animal-free diet. Diners choose three savory plates and a dessert, sipping four glasses of beer over the course of the night. With really tasty eats and super interesting drinks, the adventure is well worth the $38 price tag. Read on for highlights and to peep the full menu.

{ For reservations starting at 6pm on Wednesday, March 13th,  contact Megan Canto at [email protected]  }

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Brewer’s Supper

Sample Menu Items:

Roasted sunchoke puree with fried parsnip chips and “creme fraiche” (vegan)

 paired with Get Up Offa that Brown

Duck confit croquettes with cranberry-orange compote

paired with Golden Road Hefeweizen

Half roasted quail stuffed with mushroom-bacon duxelle and chorizo cream

paired with Golden Road Kolsch

Smoked lentils with grilled fennel (vegan)

paired with Golden Road Barleywine

Beef tenderloin carpaccio
paired with Golden Road Berliner Weisse

Roasted broccolini with “bernaise sauce” (vegan)

paired with Point the Way IPA

Pearled barley risotto and broccoli ribbons (vegan)

paired with Le”brah”ski Russian Imperial Stout

 

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Here’s the Roasted Sunchoke Puree, a vegan soup served with “creme fraiche” and fried parsnip chips. It’s smooth and savory with a hearty flavor somehow achieved without any meat broths! It pairs great with the Get Up Offa that Brown (available canned at Whole Foods), a vaguely sweet brown ale that won’t scare anyone away with bitterness.

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The Broccolini, served with Golden Road’s new-and-improved Point the Way IPA. The new Brewmaster Jesse Houck has tinkered with the formula, now being offered in a convinient 6-pack of 12 oz cans.

 

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The highlight of my dinner was the quail. It was super juicy and just exploded with bacon-y goodness and sopped up all that tasty chorizo cream sauce. The Golden Road Kosch washed it down with elegance.

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Lentils! Smoked with grilled fennel, these wonderful little beans really sing. The Barleywine was one of the most intriguing new finds. It’s beer alright but has a tart wine edge to it.

 

dessert

Parsnip cake was a richly spice dessert, with real cream cheese on top (there’s strawberry shortcake for vegans). For the liquid accompaniment, GR’s Berliner Weisse was mixed with some authentic German woodruff syrup to end the night on a sweet and sour note.

 

 


Golden Road Brewing
5410 W San Fernando Rd  Los Angeles, CA 90039

TEAMWORK: LINDY & GRUNDY x STEET WEAR x JOSE LOPEZ

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It’s great to see neighbors getting together and doing awesome stuff, like, decorating the Christmas tree in the lobby, or, petitioning for a speed bump, or, playing cards on the back porch.

But it’s extra great when those neighbors are all-organic girl-power butcher shop Lindy & Grundy and an artist from cult streetwear brand The Hundreds, and the project is an awesome line of cheeky carnage-centric t-shirts.

With a passion for old world-butchery and rockabilly style, Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura decided to open up LA’s first sustainable, locally-sourced meat shop about two years ago. Since Lindy & Grundy’s debut on Fairfax, the ladies’ super hands-on, personal approach to the art of custom cutting and curing high-quality meats has earned them a a ton of national and local press.

 

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Working with designer Benjamin Escobar of neighboring Fairfax shop the Hundreds and artist Jose Lopez has resulted in this quirky new line of tees that strikes a chord between vintage and street. If you’re into repping your neighborhood or broadcasting your love for fine farm-fresh meats, these are the tees for you. You can grab ’em over at Lindy & Grundy for $35 when you’re picking up some premium Cross Cut Beef Shanks for Osso Bucco (fancy).

 

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LINDY&GRUNDY
323.951.0804
801 N Fairfax Avenue Suite 105
Los Angeles,CA 90046

VIDEO: KENDRICK LAMAR – “POETIC JUSTICE” FT. DRAKE

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Kendrick Lamar has certainly blown up since appearing in our Downtown Issue last May, especially following the hype of his summer hit with Dr. Dre, “The Recipe.” But that was by no means the only jam or big-name cameo from his sophomore album good kid, m.A.A.d city.

The album’s latest single, “Poetic Justice,” features a little help from Kendrick’s friend Drake, who delivers his rhymes via phone from a hotel room, where he sits next to an angelically passed-out-post-coital woman (every man’s fantasy). Meanwhile, Kendrick looks dapper in a square-print button-down as the tragic love story unfolds. Up to you to decide whether the bloody ending is indeed poetic and just.

SONG OF THE DAY: ANDRÉ OBIN – “THE ARSONIST”

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What was YOUR favorite part of the Grammy’s? Was it the not one, but two swashbuckling scarves Johnny Depp wore during his incredibly charismatic introduction of Mumford and Sons? Was it the totally inspired, super modern graphic design? Was it the J.Lo-T.Swizzle-M.Bert thigh parade? (The bare upper-leg: who wore it best?)

For me, it was getting wasted by drinking every time LL licked his lips.

And now, for something entirely different.

Grim, moody dance beats from Brooklyn producer André Obin are just the thing to shake off the false sparkle of freshly gilded mediocrity. (Grit and shine, y’all.)

 

LISTEN UP: ELEPHANT

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I thought my appetite for 60s-girl-group-referencing indie-pop had been over-satiated by the presence of bands like Cults and Beach House.

But it seems London-duo Elephant have managed to carve out their own little corner of space in that otherwise bloated gut.

According to our sources, Amelia and Christian met at a party, got together to make music, but then had some sort of disagreement (which may or may not have led to Christian breaking his hand). They thought they’d never play together again.

Luckily, the two reconciled to record and release a new seven inch on Memphis Industries, resulting in the chilled-out, doo-woppy a-side “Skyscraper.”

“Skyscraper” mixes gritty layers of old analog samples with a deep, groovy bass for a vague hip-hop feel, making the track sound new and alluring despite an otherwise tired formula.

(Production is so important, y’all.)

 

FOOD SCOOPS: BAR AMÁ

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AT A GLANCE:
BAR AMÁ 
118 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

GOOD FOR: Grabbing a drink and a snack after a movie (open till 12am on weekends), a dinner date or even a festive party of 6-8.
BAD FOR: Showing up at 7:30 without a reservation (especially with a big group), desert (not the best).
PRICE: Food $5-$30, most dishes around $12; Drink, $5-$16, Cocktails $11-12
VIBE: Hip, comfortable, cozy
DRINK: Tequila cocktails with fresh house juices and syrups, Mexican and Californian Beers, European wines.
EAT: Chef Josef Centeno’s elevated take on Tex Mex: ceviches and small vegetable plates, tacos, and heftier wood-roasted meats (you can even get a 1/4 goat).
HIGHLIGHTS: The Puffy Tacos are a must-try.

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Following the super-success of his unique, flatbread-centric Spanish joint Baco Mercat, Chef Josef Centeno decided to give Downtowners a few more tables to fight over.

Bar Ama is just around the corner from its big Baco brother, and has inherited the same on-point design and casually-hip atmosphere.

Sold. The only question left is: how’s the food?

For starters, it’s inspired by the Tex Mex home-cooking Centeno grew up on. Naturally, he’s given it his own gourmet spin, pushing things like Mondongo Soup and Mom’s Fried Rice to the pinnacle of their potential. Everything is made fresh from top-notch ingredients (which hopefully makes you feel better about spending $11 on guacamole), and the menu even lists the farms where the animals you’re about to eat grew up.

 

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Like at Baco, Bar Ama’s menu is designed to be flexible. You could go there and have a hundred-dollar feast, or scoop up one-or-two delectable small-plates for a satisfying but affordable little dinner. And while some plates may be more substantial than others, you can expect a fiesta of complex flavors and spices out of nearly every bite. Peep the details from our dinner there below.

 

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Avocado, quinoa and scallop ceviche; a textural mash-up of smooth and crunchy, with silky spiced avocados beneath crispy scallops. Like everything here, it’s not blow-your-head-off spicy, instead, chiles are reigned in to harness their flavor without the burn.

 

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The puffy tacos, deep fried in peanut oil.  These ones are shrimp with jalapeno cream. There’s an ideal balance of cream and heat that just floods your whole mouth.

 

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The Kale and Zucchini Calabacita; baked veggies in a comforting tomato sauces pulled straight out of the oven, sprinkled with cheese, and brought to your table. A strong hint of garlic gives the whole thing a slightly Italian feel. This is what vegetable soup should taste like.

 

 

FOOD SCOOPS: DINNER AT MIGNON

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AT A GLANCE:
MIGNON
128 E. 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90014

GOOD FOR: A cozy party of one or two, snacks and drinks, catching up with an old friend, reading a book, a casual yet substantial dinner.
BAD FOR: Big groups, getting ratchet.
PRICE: Drinks $6-$14, Food $5-$30
VIBE: Intimate, comfortable, romantic
DRINK: A curated selection of wine & beer
EAT: Rustic, approachable French dishes
HIGHLIGHTS: Happy Hour till 8pm and all-night on Sundays; warm, fresh bread; savory soups and the Braised Short Rib.

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Truth is, the Historic Core is my neighborhood, and Mignon is my favorite neighborhood spot.

This tiny wine-and-cheese bar tucked in next to Cole’s is aptly named after the French word for cute. But aside form being plain-old adorable, I could go on and on counting the ways it wins my loyalty and affection: it smells like freshly baked bread, the lighting is less than dim, the wine is carefully curated and affordable, they always play the perfect music at the perfect volume, and you can very comfortably sit in there by yourself and read a book. (The best time to do so is Sunday, because—and it pains me to divulge this information—Happy Hour is all night.)

 

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While I was perfectly happy munching on Mignon’s prosciutto-and-butter sandwiches, small vegetable plates, gourmet meats and cheeses, and irresistible bread, they’ve now introduced a nightly dinner menu of rustic French cuisine. Which might seem odd considering they don’t exactly have a kitchen.

 

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You see, Santos Uy, the oenophile responsible for this brilliant little bar, also owns the successful Hollywood French restaurant Papilles. To bring a downscaled version of Papilles’ approchable French fare to Downtown LA, Uy enlisted Papilles Chef Tim Carey to create a new dinner program for Mignon. All the food is prepared at Papilles every day, brought over to Mignon, and cooked in a clever miniature sous-vide set-up.

I thought it smelled good in there before, but now….swoon, drool, etc.

 

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A Frisee Salad with a soft-boiled egg: fresh and bright with crisp lettuce and radishes plus a perfectly gooey yolk to break into.

 

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Soups are Chef Tim’s specialty, and once you try this one you’ll totally believe it. I’m not usually a fan of Lentil Soup, but this is nothing like your usual earthy, bulbous slop. It’s silky, savory, and comforting.

 

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Braised short rib: this is one of those super soft, melts-in-your-mouth pieces of beef that packs a wonderful flavor, sitting atop a bed of yummy mashed potatoes.

The compact menu changes nightly, and dessert is on its way, but on any given night whatever you find on the list is sure to leave you nostalgic for the French countryside upbringing you never had. Yeah, it’s powerful stuff.

 

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Prix Fixe $29

Entrée, Plat, Dessert ou Fromage

A la Carte

Les Entrées $8

Ouefs en Cocotte: Baked Eggs, Leeks, Cream

Paté de Campagne, Mustard, Cornichons

Okame Spinach, Pea Tendrils, Nasturtium, Lemon

Celeriac Velouté

Les Plats $18

Garbure: Pork Shoulder Stew with Ham Hocks, Cabbage, Parsnips, Carrots and Leek

Braised Short Ribs, Carrots, Turnips, Rice

Extras $6

Macaroni Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

Relish Plate: Raw Roots and Butter

Desserts $7

Chocolate Pot de Crème

Lucie’s Cake

Charcuterie $5 each, $13 for 3

Served with Baguette, Butter, Mustard and Cornichons

Tamworth Prosciutto, Coppa Piccante, Saucisson Sec, Speck, Bresaola

Les fromages $5 each, $13 for 3, $20 for 5

Served with Baguette and Accompaniments

Brillat Savarin, Caña di Cabra, Epoisses, Pecorino Ginepro, Mahon, Bleu des Basques

EVENT: MESSHALL SUPER BOWL PARTY

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We can’t think of a better place for watching football than our favorite summer-camp/military-themed all-American eatery, Messhall. This Sunday during the Superbowl, they’ll be rolling out a special menu of snacks and sandwiches, even going so far as to offer beer in red SOLO cups. Peep the menu below.

 

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MessHall

4500 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

323-660-MESS (6377)

www.messhallkitchen.com

 

 

LISTEN UP: BUKE & GASE

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Turns out “Buke” and “Gase” are not unfortunate names for the humans pictured above. They’re names for the instruments they invented.

NYC-based musicians Aron Sanchez and Arone Dyer decided to draw themselves a new box, throwing out the boring old beasts that have ruled rock and pop music for so long and playing with these home-made mutants instead: the Buke, a six-string electrified baritone ukelele, and the Gase, a guitar-bass hybrid.

Performed with bone-shaking thumps that unravel into spastic, cascading plucks; a brave enthusiasm for messing with fifths and fifteenths; and a heaping spoonful of infectious pop melody, the sound gives the sort of unsettling, yet familiar feeling you get from meeting someone’s evil twin.

But in this case the evil twin is maniacally charming (and a great singer!) so you can’t help but fall in love.

Or at least, I couldn’t. But you’re free to flirt and make up your own mind. Buke & Gase‘s new album General Dome is out today via Brassland and streaming on NPR.

You can start with the dizzying new video for “Hiccup” below, and if you like, catch the duo live at the Echo on Tuesday, February 19th.

 

INSIDE: VERAMEAT

 

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Vampire fangs and spinal bones and two-headed bunnies and disembodied hands and weird little dinosaurs….

This is the ambient paraphernalia of VERAMEATs bizarre dream world (and the stuff nightmares induced by falling-asleep to Little Nemo are made of).

VERAMEAT started in NYC when designer Vera Balyura (an ex-model originally from the Ukraine) started making strange little charms for herself. Shortly thereafter, she took her pieces out on the flea-market circuit before finally setting up shop in the East Village. Hand-crafted from recycled silver and gold brass, the sculptural pieces never tarnish and fall in that price point sweet-spot of $50 – $300.

Last month, Vera & co brought the collection of fine contemporary heirlooms to a neat little storefront across the street from Chin Chin on Beverly Hills Boulevard. We dropped into the new boutique this past Saturday to snap some photos and snag some flair, spending the better part of an hour ogling the whimsical displays of delicate metal creatures dangling from creepy objects.

Because we grew up on Pokemon and can’t help but want to catch them all.

 

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hand verameatwindow2 boxes verameatwindow wall wall2  inside necklaces

VERAMEAT BEVERLY HILLS STORE
189  S Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills CA 90212
310-288-0050
Open : Monday-Sunday 11am-7pm

LISTEN UP: FLUME

 

 

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I’ve been plugged into the sounds coming from this 21-year-old Australian kid’s head ever since I found this gem about a year ago. Admittedly, I assumed he was British and I pictured him to be much older. Or maybe just bald.

So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the mysterious artist known as Flume looks more like James Franco’s introverted little brother (not Dave) than Moby’s weird cousin Jonathan (a figment of my imagination, as far as I know).

Apparently, Mr. Flume mastered the art of slick, bass-heavy electro at an absurdly young age, allowing the DJ/producer to spend his exodus from teenager-dom out of the dorm room and onto the tour bus with the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and the XX. As it tends to be with the adorable young prodigy type, the oracular forces within the music industry fully expect Flume to be the break-out star of 2013. And I’m not mad about that.

Flume’s latest single “Left Alone” features fellow-Aussie blog-star Chet Faker, an artist epitomizing the insatiable appetite of electronic music, which continues to swallow more and more instruments, aesthetics and vocal styles into it’s swollen gut. In Chet’s case, it’s those bluesy, soulful pipes previously reserved for the mid-2000’s wave of white male singer-songwriters, now available on a meaty plate of heavy progressive beats. So it goes.

For now, download Flume’s Fader Mix and peep the video below. For later, stay tuned for the release of his debut full-length album “Future Classic” (which has already gone GOLD in Australia!) on February 19th via Mom & Pop. The oracular forces within me fully expect it to be better than that suit & tie shit.

SONG OF THE DAY: DESERT NOISES – “OAK TREE”

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Just when hiding from the recent freeze had our vitamin D levels at an all-time-low, resulting in much sulking and unnecessary introspection, California decided her spoiled wimpy children had suffered long enough and conceded to letting Spring come early.

Yay! Thanks mom!

And because this week should allow you time for at least one outdoor adventure (maybe a quick hula-hoop session?), here’s a little something for your multi-purpose fresh-air playlist.

Desert Noises are a band from Provo, Utah who’ve been described as “Neil Young meets the Beach Boys.”

“Oak Tree” is definitely the bounciest track off their debut album Mountain Sea (bouncy being the optimal quality for hula-hoop soundtracking, of course). Suckers for lush, beautiful boy harmonies should take note: Desert Noises will be popping into the Hotel Cafe on February 4th.

ROUND-UP: DINE LA RESTAURANT WEEK

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Leek, Spinach, Mushroom and Truffle Tart from Muddy Leek

Are you guys finished with your New Year’s resolution to subsist on blended kale, baby carrots, and almonds yet?

Good, me too. And hopefully, you worked up an appetite while you were at it, because you’ve got a marathon of eating and drinking ahead of you.

Dine LA is a festival of feasts, with restaurants all over the city cooking up special prix fixe tasting menus, offering dinner for $25, $35 or $45, and lunch for $15, $20, or $25.

We’ve gone ahead and sifted through the incredibly long list of participants to single out our top eight.

 

Muddy Leek | Farm-to-table Californian fare with a decadent, wholesome twist. | Culver CIty

Culver City’s latest farm-to-table establishment may sound very granola, but their comforting eats feel at once wholesome and elegant, while the chic, modern space is totally hemp-free. Their four-course dinner menu for $45 dollars includes some of Chef Whitney’s greatest hits, including the savory duck hash pie, the forest mushroom, spinach, and black truffle tart, and the juniper venison with bacon sweet potato fondant. You can also snag three courses at lunch for $20.

Artisan House |  California cuisine updated for the modern palette | Historic Core – DTLA

Quickly becoming one of our favorite DTLA staples, Artisan House offers the best of their contemporary Californian eats for Dine LA.  Spiced tomato bisque followed by quinoa and spinach salad sounds about right for a healthy lunch, only to be happily ruined by an irresistible plate of house made beignets, all for $20. At dinner, ($35), you can start with burrata and apricots, move on to  steak frites with a side of ultra-crispy artisan fries, and finish it off with the beignets again. Did we mention they’re tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with nutella and vanilla ice cream?

Aburiya Toranoko | Market-fresh modern Japanese | Little Tokyo – DTLA

If you’re in the mood for Sushi, look no further than Little Tokyo favorite Toranoko–but this is about much more than raw fish. Toranoko’s $45, 5-course Dine LA dinner menu is definitely among the most intriguing, with choices like fresh oysters with ponzu sauce, tsukune meatball skewers, and beef filet mignon with truffle teriyaki sauce. Throw in a baked sweet potato with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream for desert, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a meal.

Bar & Kitchen | Savory, clever and seasonal American eats | DTLA

This cozy spot tucked inside the O Hotel is home to both exceptional bread and what’s probably the best shrimp & grits in LA, which you’ll find on the $20  two-course lunch menu. For dinner ($35, three courses) options include crispy mustard-glazed pork belly and chocolate banana croissant bread pudding.

King’s Row Gastropub | Pub nosh with an electic twist | Pasadena

Indian and Mediterranean flavors creep into King’s Row’s fun menu of classic pub eats, including specialty sausages, fries, and sandwiches. What’s more exciting is that their Dine LA offerings are among the most affordable, priced at $15 for lunch and just $25 for dinner.

Papilles | Casual Classic French | Los Feliz

From the owners of our favorite DTLA wine bar, MIgnon, comes another chic French establishment that’s all about high quality, full-flavored ingredients and a casual yet romantic atmosphere. The food is unfussy and classic, bringing out the best of simple flavors to create timeless, memorable dishes. They’ve yet to release their Dine LA menu, but at $35, you can count us in.

Lazy Ox Canteen | Global cuisine for adventurous foodies | Little Tokyo – DTLA

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what Lazy Ox is, but you always know there’s something new and different to try. At $20, the three course lunch menu including their pulled short-rib sandwhich and famous rice pudding is a no-brainer, while a three course dinner for $35 sounds equally tempting, offering oxtail ragu topped with a soft-poached egg and pan-seared striped bass accompanied by garlic chips and fingerling potatoes.

Sotto | Regionally inspired, market-driven Italian | Westside

We couldn’t compile this list without throwing in some Italian eats, and in LA, Italian doesn’t get too much better than Sotto, who’ve got a $20 lunch and a $35 dinner going on. We’re particularly excited to try the warm octopus insalatina, the chicken liver ragu rigatoni and the olive oil cake with honey whipped cream.

 

 

 

 

VIDEO RE-CAP: EXPANSION NYE

This year, we were lucky enough to ring in 2013 with some of our favorite DJs and friends at the Expansion NYE Party. LA CANVAS joined forces with Jarritos, The Service Company, and Shake the Hand to host former LA CANVAS musician feature Tokimonsta alongside fellow Low End Theory alum Daedalus.

It was an unforgettable night, complete with costumed dancers, crazy projections and the kind of letting lose that only goes down once a year. Well…maybe more than once…

Watch the video below to re-live the festivities.

SONG OF THE DAY: BLOOD DIAMONDS x DOMINIC LORD – “BARCODE”

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Dubstep is the music of the dystopian future. Accordingly, in this dub-inflected electro-hop track, frequent Grimes collaborator Blood Diamonds paints a sparkly-pink-and-blue metropolis with a dark, seedy underbelly, made even darker by Harlem rapper Dominic Lord’s pronouncement that he’s coming for you with an AK-47.

I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call this song “feel good.” It’s tense and anxious with comically bright sonic textures, a formula whose solution can be alternately creepy or totally rad. In this case it’s both.

Check out the Fader’s behind the scenes video to see how this epic collab went down.