Checking in on the newest platform for L.A.’s emerging food artisans for the L.A. Times:
PHOTO by KATIE FALKENBERG / L.A. TIMES
Outside the old Venice jail, toddlers in tie-dyed shirts lick avocado-vanilla popsicles and graying couples aim their Leica cameras at a small-scale organic garden. Inside, wines are dispensed from behind the mahogany reception desk while curious cooks page through dog-eared recipes at a cookbook swap.
The inaugural Food Rendezvous brimmed with comestible energy, an assemblage of L.A.’s food artisans, gardeners, chefs and nonprofit organizations. The event sprang from the minds of Laurie Dill and Dominique Leveuf, two former San Franciscans who were inspired by the underground markets there. The pair had spent more than six months planning last month’s first Food Rendezvous, a populist platform designed to unite L.A.’s vast, sometimes fractured food community.
“The idea is not just to bring in new food producers and artisans that are making things from scratch, but it’s also to reconnect with the centrality of doing things from scratch,” Leveuf says. “It’s about sparking a conversation.”
Visit the Food Rendezvous tomorrow at the Abbot Kinney Festival. Read the rest of the story here.
Rocio Camacho’s pre-Columbian cuisine for the L.A. Times:
PHOTO by GLENN KOENIG / L.A. TIMES
Cars cruise through the roundabout under the waning afternoon sun, leisurely circling a reconstruction of Mexico City’s Angel of Independence. First-timers marvel at the faux-colonial facade seemingly imported block by block from Guadalajara. Lynwood’s Plaza Mexico is Latin America the L.A. way, an elaborate set onto which visitors can graft memories and forge new ones.
La Huasteca is the shopping center’s grandest stage: sylvan murals that appear to recede into forested infinity, wrought-iron chandeliers that could light up a whole town. For six years, the restaurant has been a reliable outpost of high-end alta cocina, a study mostly of Mexico’s Huasteca region. Six months ago, however, the kitchen came under the command of chef Rocio Camacho.
Camacho earned the attention of an entire city at Moles La Tía in East Los Angeles. The César Chávez Avenue restaurant is where she transformed the very notion of mole, where vague ideas of chocolaty sauces exploded into a prismatic array of cheery yellows, herbaceous greens and brilliant magentas. Camacho’s move arrived by word of blogger Javier Cabral, who was also instrumental in raising the profile of Moles La Tía. Now at La Huasteca, Camacho has unveiled a refined new menu.
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Indonesian fried chicken and coal-black kluwak for the L.A. Times:
PHOTO by MARIAH TAUGER / L.A. TIMES
There’s a glistening chicken somewhere under the blanket of crispy rice-flour crumbles. The crystalline snowflake-like particles are scattered over the entire bird, its skin sluiced with a squeeze of lime and spiced with a dab of sambal, shrimp paste and chiles ground into a pungent, penetrating blast of heat.
Time seems to stand still for that chicken: Phones quit chirping and fidgety kids suddenly snap to attention, transfixed by the fried delights of the ayam goreng kremesan at Merry’s House of Chicken, a months-old Indonesian restaurant in West Covina.
The eastern edges of the San Gabriel Valley might be L.A.’s epicenter of Indonesian cuisine. Sprawling across strip malls and city lines is an archipelago of food-court cafes and full-fledged restaurants, some serving offal-intensive curries and others sweetly lacquered barbecue. But there isn’t a single stick of satay at Merry’s; the restaurant instead purveys classic Javanese cooking.
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