Monthly Archives: April 2010

In L.A., the world is flat


After months and many, many pizzas, I tackle L.A.’s booming multicultural pizza scene for the Times:

Just as certain city blocks contain the cuisines of a half-dozen different countries, pizza in Los Angeles doesn’t conform to one nationality — it practically circumnavigates the globe.

There are South American pizzas shaped by decades of Italian immigration and Croatian pizzas forged along the shores of the Mediterranean. Korean and Japanese corporations have taken to testing their unique interpretations of pizza on L.A.’s international appetite. And some foreign pies defy classification altogether, labeled as pizzas by restaurants and diners searching for a simple descriptor. It’s all part of the naturalization process.

Read the rest here.

And for the complete multimedia experience, tune into KPCC’s Off-Ramp this weekend to hear me chat with host John Rabe about these peculiar pies. Or listen online here.


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Leftovers: House of Kabob

Charred kebabs and mountains of Persian rice for the L.A. Times:

The lunch line at House of Kabob in Lake Forest curls out the door, the neck of each prospective diner craned toward the kitchen. It’s a crowd mostly of baby-faced workers from nearby tech firms waiting with ID cards still dangling from their company-issued lanyards. They’re jockeying, however politely, for even a fleeting glimpse of the restaurant’s excellent Persian cooking.

Dishes here are often sights to behold: cubes of meat lapped in flames until they’re transformed into perfectly grilled, tender blocks; mountains of long-grain basmati rice tall enough to teach you a lesson in topography. Still, House of Kabob’s success has been downright quiet. It’s taken simmering, persistent praise and neighborly devotion for the restaurant to outgrow its tiny home.

Yet when the Lake Forest original spawned a second location in an Irvine strip mall late last year, it wasn’t just a matter of expansion — it was culinary mitosis.

Read the rest here.

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The Food Section Gals

As a current Times contributor and lover of most things historical, I strongly suggest going to this talk:

Betsy Balsley, Donna Deane, Rose Dosti and Barbara Hansen:
The L.A. Times Food Section Gals

speaking on
The Heyday of the Food Section at the
Los Angeles Times

Saturday, April 10th, 10:30 am at the Los Angeles Public Library
Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Branch
630 W. 5th St.
Free and open to the public

With over 100 work years of combined experience, the team of Betsy Balsley, Donna Deane, Rose Dosti and Barbara Hansen produced the Los Angeles Times Food section in its heyday beginning in the late sixties, into the 1980’s. During this era the food section had 40 to 50 pages every week, with popular columns such as Culinary SOS and Borderlines and dozens of original recipes. Recipes were prepared for publication in a magnificent test kitchen. The LA Times Food Gals will reminisce about this extraordinary era of food journalism, the resources they had to produce a great food section.

For more info, visit the Culinary Historians of Southern California website.

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