Anaheim’s Sri Lankan find for the LA Times:
PHOTO by CHRISTINE COTTER / LOS ANGELES TIMES
Wadiya turns tropical the second you pass through its doors. Consuming all of one wall is a multi-canvas mural depicting a neon beach scene. Stationed at the restaurant’s center is a cash register shaded by the thatched roof of a seaside shack. And creeping out from a corner is a fake, gangling tree, its limbs unnecessarily groping for some sun. Wadiya’s is a dedicated design — one that swaps the Anaheim restaurant’s strip mall surroundings for the paradise of Sri Lanka’s island style.
After Wadiya chef-owner Chintheka Ganasekera spent years behind the steam tables and hotel pans of the catering business, his utopian vision became a reality mere months ago. That Wadiya is Orange County’s sole Sri Lankan restaurant only seems to inspire the kitchen: It doesn’t filter or blunt its cooking, instead proudly presenting a cuisine that, even with its Indian and Indonesian influences, remains completely distinct.
With the increasingly imminent closure of Cook’s Library, this weekend’s LA Times Festival of Books is probably going to be the most food-focused literary event for some time. The usual association of authors is set to dominate the schedule (including perennial guest and exemplary human Ray Bradbury), but between the various culinary conversations (with LA Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and KCRW’s Evan Kleiman, among others) and the dedicated Cooking Stage (which will feature cooking demos and book signings), there’s going to be plenty to eat and read. The Cooking Stage schedule is as follows:
Saturday, April 25th
11:00am – JoAnn Cianciulli (L.A.’s Original Farmers Market Cookbook) & Amelia Saltsman (The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook)
12:30pm – Dana Slatkin (The Summertime Anytime Cookbook)
2:00pm – Jamie Purviance (Weber’s Way To Grill)
3:30pm – Katie Lee Joel (The Comfort Table)
Sunday, April 26th
11:00am – Vinny Dotolo & Jon Shook (Two Dudes, One Pan)
12:30pm – Curtis Stone (Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone)
2:00pm – Barbara Fairchild (The Bon Appétit Fresh Fast Easy Cookbook)
3:30pm – Giada De Laurentiis (Giada’s Kitchen)
A Long Beach staple for the District:
PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES
Measured against the bulldozed bulk of Long Beach history, Ma ’n Pa Grocery seems like a place that could’ve been easily erased from its adorable corner near the Colorado Lagoon. But that it remains is a testament to its charm—the market, full of Iowa-by-the-sea spirit, is as much a part of the community as any of the finely furnished homes that otherwise define the neighborhood.
Familial in more than just name, Ma ’n Pa has long cultivated a friendly, always-there-for-you atmosphere. That the place operates like a general store—stocked with produce, prepared foods and all the household essentials in between—is only part of the appeal. The rest of the market’s accessible reputation is earned by its easygoing attitude. And this is a trait obvious even from the street, where hand-painted advertisements color the grocery’s cabin-like exterior, picnic tables sit along the sidewalk and a rack of communal books waits at the ready for any hungry readers.
As reported everywhere, today is Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day–stop into a participating store today between Noon and 8 p.m. and pick of a free scoop of your choice. Not bad match for another 80-degree day.
A Costa Mesa classic for the District:
PHOTO by RICK POON
Dining at Anjin is a practice of patience, a lesson in how to temper your hunger while you wait at a place so perpetually packed that it logs hour-long lines 10 minutes after opening. But every eater at Anjin knows this. Some decide to kick around the concrete outside; others take a quick shopping break instead.
Kill time inside, however, and you endure a much different experience, your mind and spirit and stomach all worn down by relentless sizzling from the tabletop grills. It’s then that your eyes start to pick through every inch of the restaurant, shifting from the huge hoods and vents hanging over each table to the wall-mounted spotlights shining on those gas-powered grills. By the end of your wait, when your gaze fades to a hungry blur, you notice something more peculiar: a set of sculptures hung near the kitchen, each piece depicting a face of the seven deadly sins. Initially, the restaurant’s moralizing design doesn’t make any sense—it’s only well into your grill-it-yourself meal that it becomes clear.
A couple of L.A. favorites (and neighbors) are teaming up for a five-course, cheese-centric dinner on April 20. The partnership between Evan Funke and Zoe Nathan of Rustic Canyon (and Huckleberry Cafe) and Andrew Steiner of Andrew’s Cheese Shop is the driving force behind the lactose-laden meal, in which Funke and Nathan will be utilizing Steiner’s cheeses for everything from goat cheese ravioli to a brown sugar creme fraiche trifle. The dinner is $65 per person. For reservations, call 310.393.7050. Find the full menu here.
Beef hearts and beyond from the District:
PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES
Peruvian food is one of the most coveted cuisines among culinary trendspotters, the supposedly eagle-eyed eaters who try and find the next big flavors before the apocalyptic onset of global blanding. More than anything else though, Peruvian plates always seem to be on the tips of tastemakers’ tongues—dishes born from a natural fusion of Andean elements and colonial and immigrant influences. So, it should come as no surprise that local favorites like Kotosh and El Rocoto traverse this cross-cultural territory, restaurants famous for their Asian-inspired interpretations of Peruvian cuisine. But Norwalk’s Anticucheria Danessi isn’t so global—Danessi is pure Peruvian.