Sep 22, 2014
A couple of weeks back, I was privy to experience a preview party for Meat District Co. in Pasadena. The place flexes meat like a cocky prizefighter before a heavy weight bout.
Everything about the place is beefy. Even the signage!
Meat District Co. is tricked out with top end meat slicers, grinders, patty makers, and rare Australian round, flat top grills.
The prosciutto-wrapped dates frantically being assembled by the chefs for the big party were just a glimpse of the carnage awaiting us carnivorous revelers. Oh, there were a couple of vegetarians on hand and we gave them an intimate tour of the meat grinder. Real intimate. JK, there are veggie burgers on the menu for those freaks.
Meat District Co. staff seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the guests. Maybe cuz they eat meat!
Did I mention the cool interior design of Meat District Co.? It's beefy, meaty, and totally fits the theme of the place—tasty, tasty carnage!
Butchery implements from cleaver to hacksaw (and perhaps even a scimitar) were on handsome display like a house of torture exhibit at the hostess booth.
Who's the exec chef behind this menagerie of meat, from wet aged steaks to offals? His name is Alfonse Galan. Formerly chef at redwhite+bluezz also in Pasadena, Galan knows his meat and how to cook 'em! Valentino Herrera (Trippy Food) and I challenged him to prepare llama hearts on our YouTube show Kamikaze Kitchen and he created a truly delicious plate that even the wimpiest among you could stomach. A true chef can make anything taste great!
Charcuterie is all over this joint. Piles and piles of delicious salumi, prosciutto, and much more.
The bar in the back boasts a few flat screens for your sports viewing enjoyment or watching the finale of Dancing with the Stars.
Meat District Co.'s dining room is expansive and expanding. There's much more room in the other space past the bar. There are even future plans for courtyard dining or imbibing.
Those two vegetarians enjoyed the endives too.
But, vegetarians and meat eaters alike went wild for the compressed watermelon and Pop Rocks. Why? Because POP ROCKS!!! Duh!
So much meat, so little time.
The glass encased meat cooler is located in the dining room for all to view and drool over.
Even the Mexican street corn is meatilicious!
Pork ribs also represented, complete with foil handles.
Chef Sundeep Vohra of Kings Row, just a few blocks away, stopped by to congratulate chef Galan. Because that's what cool chefs do—they give chef love!
Meat District Co. is now open for your red meat devouring needs.
Meat District Co.
69 N. Raymond
Sep 17, 2014
Eater National's Banned Food Words List. All of Your Favorites but Banned! Go Fondue Yourself, Eater! This is AMERICA!
We don't need no thought control!
Praise god! It's food writer fatwa time! That's when a foodie website decrees from on high what words are coolio and which ones are lame-o. The last time I read a list of so-called "banned food writing words" was courtesy of Grub Street New York. In fact, I was so grateful for list compiler Alan Sytsma's work that I incorporated every single, juicy, forsaken word into a glorious restaurant review. I thought it turned out quite well, even literary.
Speaking of literary, what is with these New York food blogs dictating which words are acceptable to use? I know New York is a literary town, but Los Angeles is a visual city, and we're not nailing dicta to trees ordering food pornographers how to snap a sexy plate of oysters or restaurant's banquettes. Although we should, right, Martha?
So, the latest dicktater (yes, that's a portmanteau of dick and tater tots) to deliver his commandments of the words thou shalt not write is Eater National's former editor, Raphael Brion (visually rhymes with prion, the thing responsible for Mad Cow Disease).
Here's Brion's abridged list (because the entire list is too snarky—Brion hates "snarky", even though his list is snark-riddled):
- toque (please do not ever refer to a chef as a "toque." A toque is a hat. Give people the respect they deserve and use a proper title.)
- douche, douchebag, douchey (be more creative!)
- foochebag (a portmanteau of "foodie" and "douchebag" - use foodiot instead)
- suck, sucks (be more creative.)
- chow down
- nigh (as in "the end is nigh." it is not the 1830s.)
- kerfuffle (it is not the 1940s.)
- brouhaha (why)
- foofaraw (seriously)
- hullabaloo (come on)
- tussle (stop it)
- Hold yea ol' britches (for real?)
- food fight (too cheap and easy. use sparingly or not at all.)
- a-snicker (as in "food blogs had been a-snicker for days." People have actually published these words.)
- pens (as in "pens an article." no one does that. use "writes.")
- penned an ode
- tome (when describing a book)
- jumping the shark (just no.)
- at the end of the day
- drool-worthy, mouth-watering, yummy
- unctuous (courtesy Bourdain)
- BBQ (or barbeque or bar-b-que. use barbecue. the only exception is the rubric ZOMG BBQ or if "BBQ" is part of a restaurant's name)
- sat down with (especially when it was a phone or email interview, it reads funny.)
- java (instead of coffee)
- vino (instead of "wine." see http://blog.zagat.com/2013/03/wine-time-momofuku-gets-new-vino.html)
- "grape juice" and "juice" (instead of "wine" too uh)
- tipple, tippling
- healthful (just say healthy)
- amazeballs (cutesy internet lingo is silly and gets dated so fast)
- ! (exclamation points are silly. F. Scott Fitzgerald: "Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke." We have all been guilty of this.)
- boo ya
Those are but a few of Brion's pet peeve words spewage. Ironic that douchery is so despised on this list since a list banning words itself is necessarily douchey. Then, you have words he's banned with vague justification like the oh-so-reasonable "why" for brouhaha or "stop it" for using tussle, or with no explanation whatsoever for innocent words like tipple and quaff. Gee, thanks for the feedback, chief!
Many of Brion's banned words are clearly personal preference bullshizzle, but then you get to his banned word healthful and it makes him look like a foodiot, a word he loves! The word healthful describes something that is good for you or conducive to good health, like certain foods, i.e. healthful foods. Moreover, healthy means in good physical or mental condition, as in I feel healthy. Brion's fave (I'm sure he hates fave too) healthy has been misapplied over the decades to the point of brain-dead acceptance, even by Eater National. Therefore, neither healthful or healthy should be banned since each has a distinct definition.
FYI, his banned word unctuous, which is oddly credited to Tony Bourdain, has been used often (and early-on) by the ONLY Pulitzer Prize winning food writer ever, Jonathan Gold. It seems the word unctuous has been pretty amazeballs for the celebrated Los Angeles Times restaurant critic.
These banned words lists suck (see what I did there, Raphy?) because they are mostly based on partiality whether backed up or not. Also, I hate these lists because somebody is telling me how to write. And, that's totally un-American! Yeah! (I just threw in not one but two exclamation points!!!)
I fully understand this Eater banned words list is purposed for internal use, but then it was published as if to say, "Use these words and you're a moron!" Hey Eater, next time, keep your list in your fortress of foodiedom to torment your own staff. By the way, Paula Deen should be on your banned list, sick of seeing so much of her on Eater.
And, hey, Brion, here are some more choice words to add to your precious list—Go Fondue Yourself!
See the whole goddamn list here. I'm gonna go quaff a bottle of vino to calm myself down! Boo ya!!!
Sep 9, 2014
Wanna Learn Recipes & Techniques from Top Chefs for Less Than 10 Bucks a Month? Salted May Be For You!
The sun sets on traditional culinary education and half-baked recipe sites.
The sun set on another perfect Southern California day (that is, if you don't consider the severe drought), and about 3 dozen foodie tastemakers gathered in the Red Bull suite of the Hotel Erwin located in Venice Beach. This summer has been dry and sweltering, however there was a slight reprieve with some welcome cloud cover from now whimpering Tropical Storm Norbert.
Can't cook a s'more? Salted is definitely for you!
On the balcony facing the Pacific Ocean and Muscle Beach, all the accoutrement for s'mores were laid out for our end of summer snacking. More than a couple of people were actually struggling with toasting their marshmallows and then fumbling with sandwiching the childhood campfire classic sweets.
I thought this was perfect since the purpose of the event was the pre-launch of a new type of online culinary education called Salted. Founded by Jeff Appelbaum, Salted offers hi-def, on-demand instructional cooking videos that feature some of America's most celebrated chefs.
Chefs step up to educate the masses.
Some of those chefs were on hand for the night of the pre-launch, they included Eric Greenspan (Greenspan's Grilled Cheese), Jason Travi (Superba), Bryon Freeze (former Tar & Roses), and Adam Steudle (Hotel Erwin). All of the chefs present seemed to have a disdain for the traditional culinary school route for entry into the professional kitchen. Even Greenspan, who himself attended and worked at a culinary school, recommended that anyone wondering if becoming a professional chef is right for him or her should just head to the best restaurant in town and offer to work for free. "You'll know pretty fast if you're right for it," he concludes.
The biggest criticism for attending culinary school was a wake up call for anybody seriously considering the cooking profession. You'll be paying law school prices for culinary school resulting in a minimum wage job. Depressing is an understatement for this observation.
Back to basics sans food tv hype.
Nobody likes a complainer who doesn't offer a constructive solution. Enter Salted. For $9.99 per month (plus free intro month for early birds), subscribers will have access to 200 exclusive video tutorials, 8 classes, and 50 master chefs like Roy Choi, Neal Fraser, Ricardo Zarate, Daniel Holzman, and many others. The tutorials will range in degree of difficulty from basics like "How to Cut an Onion" to more advance (and Deep End!) like "Beef Heart Tartare."
Laughing all the way!
With my mind buzzing with Salted info., I decided to mellow out with a bottle of pre-mixed margarita called Laughing Glass. I normally run from pre-mixed anything since my early college years. However, this Laughing Glass stuff was good. It's available at Whole Foods for around $18 a bottle. My favorite thing about this margarita is the even balanced flavors, and it wasn't too strong with the tequila. Oh, and it's all-natural. Not sure exactly what that means, but it's nice.
Anyway, hurry and head over to Salted now, before they pull the FREE 30 DAY TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION OFFER. It'll be worth your while. Maybe you'll even learn how to make s'mores without scorching them, unlike my colleagues.
NEW OFFER! ENTER PROMO CODE: deepend. This code will provide YOU with 3 free months of Salted membership (when applied to Salted's monthly plan). Remember this is an exclusive Deep End Dining offer for 3 months of free membership versus the 1 free month at Salted's site. This applies to the monthly plan only!