In the world of food and booze today, marketers and restaurateurs alike endlessly lean on buzzy phrases like “handcrafted,” “house-made,” and even “farm-to-table” to lend dishes and consumer products an air of authenticity and craftsmanship that many of them simply don’t have. They’ve appropriated these descriptors from the Slow Food movement—where they once distinguished goods produced outside of the industrial and corporatized food system—and applied them to everything from maple water to tortilla chips.
So when Anthony Bourdain, the culinary world’s foremost anti-establishment bullshit-detector, decided to launch Raw Craft, a web series that highlights true craftsmen—artisans such as famed knifemaker Bob Kramer and welder Elizabeth Bishop—I was intrigued. Even more interesting is Bourdain’s choice of sponsored partner on this project: the single-malt Scotch brand The Balvenie.
I met up with Bourdain in between two back-to-back LA premiere screenings of the web series’ second season in the back room of the silent movie theater to talk about how the “artisanal” craze started, the food media’s role in its perpetuation, the pros and cons of making everything in-house, and why unnecessary things can be the most beautiful.
When Jordan Kahn’s Red Medicine closed in late 2014, the culinary world waited with bated breath to see what the Alinea and French Laundry alum would do next. Two years later, Kahn has emerged on the scene again, with a new concept called Destroyer — named, says Kahn, after the meteor that hit earth, ending the Cretaceous Period.
2016 has been an exceptional year for food in Los Angeles. The city may finally, universally be recognized as the culinary leader it is, and chefs and restaurateurs around town have made good on making sure we live up to, and can continue to claim, the honor. From the artisanal doughnut trend to fermented everything to Filipino flavors and more, Los Angeles is at the heart of some of the country’s most delicious and inspiring food and restaurant trends. (It’s not all good, of course. To see the worst food trends, click here.) So to celebrate all the great ideas L.A. chefs have put out into the world this year, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite food and restaurant trends of 2016.
Just because you want to be eco-friendly doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing bachelorette road trip with your best ladies to celebrate the end of singledom — Especially in Napa Valley. From the latest electric cars that make it possible to drive long distances without recharging, to a growing eco-friendly wine movement, restaurants supporting local organic farmers, and no shortage of top notch spas boasting eco-friendly products, Napa Valley is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of luxury and make some wine filled memories with your best friends — all while leaving the smallest environmental footprint.
Ah fall, that magical time of year when college students flock back to campus for yet another year of hungover, pajama-clad lectures in pursuit of that super-useful liberal arts degree. But it’s not all fun and games. The start of another school year means it’s also time to fall back into broke-college-kid mode and save your money for the important things in life… like student loans.
Luckily for those that bleed blue and gold, the area surrounding UCLA is a veritable cornucopia of delicious cheap eats, making that whole responsible adult thing all the easier when it comes to your wallet. Here are the best places for Bruins (or anyone else hanging around Westwood) to save money and still eat well.
In the world of viral food trends, the fine balance between can and should is usually skewed towards the “oh, what the hell is that?” side of things. From Bloody Marys lost under their cheeseburger, fried chicken, and onion ring “garnishes,” to waffles covered in sauce, slathered in cheese, and sprinkled with bulgogi, we (and by we I mean the Internet) love seeing what delicious, far-fetched, hybridized food creations we can make. But like Jeff Goldblum would likely ask, while we have the technology to make such incredible beasts: Should we?
Enter L.A.’s latest offering to the canon of #foodporn: The Cannibal’s Double Down. An homage to the KFC creation of the same name that uses fried chicken as the “bread” for a cheese-and-bacon-filled pseudo-sandwich (yeah, we’re talking sandwich metaphysics here), The Cannibal’s somehow seems even more depraved. Maybe that’s just because you’re eating it on a sunny Culver City patio instead of in the privacy of your own car with the window shade up. It’s an indulgent work of breakfast architecture combining whiskey-infused breakfast sausage, crispy bacon, a thick slab of ham, two fried eggs, avocado pesto, basil, and lettuce (??) all smashed between two perfectly golden hashbrown patties.
The duo behind Manhattan’s lauded restaurants NoMad and Eleven Madison Park, on their newest project, launching at the Desert Trip music festival. But the project is not a fine dining establishment, and the space definitely isn’t conducive to a tasting menu. After all, it’s a food truck.
In the world of travel, Portugal is one of the hottest vacation destinations right now and for good reason. From its rich history to its unparalleled wine and food scene, picturesque beaches, and lush mountain regions, Portugal has the makings of a truly unforgettable honeymoon. Check out the five reasons you need to pick Portugal for the most magical trip of your lifetime below and get planning before the secret’s out.
When it comes to getting your drink on, there is no shortage of amazing bars that make up the burgeoning cocktail scene that we have in Los Angeles. With unparalleled takes on classic cocktails, small-batch spirits, farm-fresh ingredients and bartenders who push the boundaries of what we know, L.A. is a cocktail city to be reckoned with. So whether you’re on the lookout for a speakeasy-style space to sip a Sazerac, a cocktail made from cannabis oil or a full-blown omakase experience, these bars have just the drink you’ve been looking for.
If you’re the type of person who plans trips around food (guilty) or you’re just looking to give yourself a dose of that good vacation vibe, a hotel with a solid restaurant might be just what you need. Luckily for tourists and locals alike, L.A. has no shortage of phenomenal hotels in which to unwind and taste the city’s unparalleled food scene. From Roy Choi’s homage to hot pot at the Line in Koreatown to Michael Hung’s delightful riff on American cuisine at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, these spots are bona fide culinary destinations as much as they are great places to stay the night. If you’re planning a trip around a Sunday brunch or just looking for a romantic date night on the town, here are 10 places to check out — and maybe even check into for the weekend.