LA Honors Jonathan Gold this Saturday

A tribute to the late Pulitzer Prize winning Los Angeles Time food critic Jonathan Gold, will start at the new El Segundo at the LA Times building this Saturday, July 28 at sunset.

Gold sadly passed away on July 21 at the age of 57 from pancreatic cancer. He would have turned 58 years old this Saturday night. In his honor, a team of Los Angelenos are going to “turn the city gold.”

The Los Angeles Times will light a tribute to Gold on its new building in El Segundo. After the sun goes down, other Los Angeles landmarks including L.A. City Hall tower, the Wilshire Grand Center, The Broad, US Bank Tower, Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain in Grand Park, Natural History Museum, pylons at LAX and Pacific Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier will also be illuminated for the occasion.

IMG_8700
Photo by Goro Toshima

Messages will be projected in Gold’s honor at The Wiltern, the Ford Theatres, The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Chinatown Summer Nights and the Fairplex in Pomona.

Gold’s surviving wife, LA Times arts and entertainment editor Laurie Ochoa stated that, in lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Gold’s life, would consider supporting the following nonprofit organizations: L.A. Regional Food Bank, Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Heal the Bay or Al Otro Lado.

Friends of the Gold-Ochoa family have also created a GoFundMe campaign to assist them with immediate expenses.

The Los Angeles Times thanks the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Offices of L.A. County Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Sheila Kuehl, KCRW, Central City Association, Grand Park and The Music Center, Live Nation, Los Angeles Chinatown BID, Los Angeles World Airports, OUE Ltd., Pacific Park and all of the participating organizations for this special tribute to the city’s beloved food critic, Jonathan Gold. The community is encouraged to share photos of the tribute using #LAGold.

My review of Jonathan Gold is featured on my blog – Dine and Travel – Click on this link City of Gold.

Cuisine Worthy of the King of Thailand

Operating on Fairfax Avenue since the mid-1970s, Thai restaurant Chao Krung has become an integral part of the Los Angeles community. Originally led by Boon and Supa Kuntee, the restaurant is now run by their daughters, Amanda Kuntee and Katy Noochlaor, who are serving up some delicious new surprises.IMG_7488

“Through the years, the dishes became more Americanized and not as authentic as we remembered and loved,” Kuntee, the restaurant’s executive chef, said while handing us the menus. She now prepares many of the family’s traditional recipes, including, as we learned, the dishes the king of Thailand enjoyed. The sisters’ grandmother cooked for the king using the highest quality ingredients, meats and sauces made from scratch – and now Kuntee is doing the same for Angelenos.

One of those dishes worthy of a king is the Sister A’s homemade Thai sour sausage. It arrived on a pretty black-and-white-striped plate with five small brown sausages served with a lime wedge, fresh ginger, red onion and cabbage leaves. Wrapping a sausage around a cabbage leaf, I squeezed lime juice on top, and added some ginger and red onion. It was sublime – the flavorful moist pork sausage has the essence of lemongrass, garlic, sticky rice, coriander root and white pepper. Kuntee makes all of the sauces, including the bird’s eye chili sauce for the sour sausages.

A nice cold draft beer completes this dish. The beer and wine list curated by Last Word Hospitality offers a handful of red wines from California and France, while white wines include a sparkling M. Bonnamy Crémant de Loire and pinot gris from Dundee Hills in Oregon.IMG_7495

I enjoyed a refreshing glass of grenache-syrah rosé to pair with the iconic Thai street food snack – tod mun pla, or fish cakes. They were served with a bowl of chopped cucumbers and peanuts, adding texture and crunch to the sweetness of the curry fish sauce.IMG_7503

A favorite around the table was the pyramid of pad thai rice noodles that arrived on a plate with stir-fried shrimp and a tamarind fish sauce. A little palm sugar sweetened the noodles, and preserved radish slices balanced out the pleasing flavors. Bean sprouts, one-inch long green onion stalks, a lime wedge and a mound of crushed peanuts came on the side, perfect for adding in more texture and kick.

We also enjoyed sharing the yum woon sen sweet and spicy glass noodle salad with layers of ground pork, slices of Chinese celery, pickled garlic, Thai chilies and shallots. A drizzle of fish sauce and garlic chili dressing accentuated all of the fresh Thai flavors. This can be ordered vegetarian style too.

For those looking for some heat, the bowl of green curry with chicken does the job with green Thai chilis and jalapeños. We ladled this dish over perfectly cooked jasmine rice.

IMG_7508

My bowl of tom kha gai soup with chicken, mushrooms and ginger featured slices of lemongrass cooked until soft. Biting into a stalk offered a pleasing coolness to balance out the heat of the coconut broth and the flavors of the fresh cilantro on top.

We used chopsticks for most of the dishes, however we did need to use a knife to fillet a whole fish that was deep fried with garlic. Known as pad gra tiem, this fish was crispy on the outside, and moist and flakey on the inside.IMG_7506

To wrap up the meal, diners can choose desserts such as the freshly sliced mango with coconut sticky rice, or the coconut ice cream topped with praline mixed nuts and fresh green mint.

Forty years after its founding, Chao Krung hasn’t lost its spark. And now, this Thai restaurant is bringing a family legacy to a new generation of diners in Los Angeles.

During dineL.A., Kuntee is preparing a $15 lunch menu and $29 dinner. Menu highlights include her Thai sour sausages, pad thai and spicy green Thai chili curry shrimp made with coconut milk, Thai eggplant, kaffir lime, jalapeños and sweet basil. Come in during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. for a $4 glass of draft beer or house wine for $5. Over 10 dishes on this menu are $6 or under. $$ 111 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323)939-8361.

This article was published in the July 19 issue of the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.

8 Favorite So Cal Ice Cream Destinations

5 Ways to Cool Down at LEGOLAND

Summer temperatures are rising, yet LEGOLAND offers multiple venues to keep your family happy and cool. Here are 5 solutions to beat the heat:

IMG_7299-2
Photo by LEGOLAND
  1. LEGO® City: Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride at LEGOLAND® California Resort. The interactive ride features more than 2,000 sea animals including several five species of sharks, several species of rays including a southern stingray with a five-foot wing span. Tropical fish swim amid new LEGO® models around a ship’s sunken treasure. For the first time in the United States, LEGOLAND California Resort brings guests onboard 22,000 pound submarines where guests discover a truly amazing world filled with real sea animals.  Through the use of interactive touchscreens at each porthole inside the sub, guests can help the LEGO® minifigure dive team identify LEGO® gems, pearls, and gold coins throughout the more than four minute journey. Guests can reach one of three levels during each ride: Junior, Senior and Master Explorer. The submarine ride will be included in the price of admission this summer at LEGOLAND California Resort.  For more information and to sign up for insider updates, visit LEGOLAND.com/deepsea2018.

    IMG_2340
    Photo of writer at the entrance of LEGOLAND
  2. SEA LIFE® aquarium helps families learn about the life of the sea, by combining active hands-on learning with close encounters with sharks, octopi and rays. The new exhibit – Sea at Night inspires visitors to stroll in a gentle surf under a starry sky – during the day Walk, jump and “splash” in a simulated bioluminescent tide. Any LEGOLAND ticket can be upgraded to include SEA LIFE Aquarium admission for $22.

    IMG_7300
    Photo by LEGOLAND
  3. LEGO CHIMA Water Park climb aboard a shipwrecked pirate vessel and stand beneath a 38-foot-tall mast. Looming overhead is over 300 gallons of water that is ready to come pouring down at any moment to drench you in the hot sun. Zip along a curving blue slide and then “splash out” into a pool of water at the end. Gather four riders and board a giant orange raft to slide and spin while rushing past the Water Park Tower on a giant orange half pipe. Build cities, dams and bridges out of DUPLO bricks and test them against the flow of water.
  4. Ride the Pirate Shores Water rides to fire water cannons across the ships’ bows to get others wet and race down a flume between battling ships to cool off.
  5. Stay in one of the two LEGOLAND Resort Hotels – LEGOLAND Hotel or the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel. Both are located at the entrance of LEGOLAND California. Both offer registered guests a free breakfast buffet. Both hotels have guest rooms with a separate kid’s area with LEGO building tables and a scavenger hunt in every room. LEGOLAND Hotel offers interactive LEGO features throughout and a choice of LEGO themed rooms – Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, LEGO NINJAGO or LEGO Friends. The 250 LEGOLAND Castle offers three different themed rooms with your choice of Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard. There is an Enhanced Pool Area featuring a zero entry pool featuring interactive water play features and whirlpool spa. Nearby is the Entertainment Courtyard Play zones for kids of all ages including a DUPLO tot spot, slides, an outdoor stage and cinema with seating for early evening movie nights.

Paramount Coffee Project DTLA

The ROW DTLA space, which features the bustling Smorgasburg LA market on Sundays, now offers visitors a bold taste of Australia. Paramount Coffee Project, an import from Down Under, is generating quite a buzz. It has opened its second location in Los Angeles after the success of its first shop on Fairfax Avenue.

 

Taking my daughters for lunch recently, we discovered the thoughtful Cali-Aussie cuisine has a grab-and-go coffee bar, and on-site roastery.IMG_5296

Walking inside the corner doorway, we noticed the bright and airy inside with metal and glass garage doors are rolled-up to allow the outside in. Designed by LA-based architecture firm Otto Designs, the modern industrial dining space offers concrete and terrazzo elements.IMG_5271-2 Light wood booths and tables, are surrounded by green leaf plants and succulents. Sitting in one of the booths, we admired the whimsical graphic wall painting of a large cat wearing a shark mask over its snout. Near the coffee counter is the same cat holding a rose between its teeth and a turquoise shark fin on it’s back. The artwork was created by Sonny Day from Webuyyourkids. IMG_5273-2Looking at the pointillism menu with PCP DTLA in the center, I noticed in the coffee section, there are single origin coffees from all over the world. At the back of the cafe, the on-site roasting room has a glass window for guests to observe the commercial Loring Smart roasting machine.IMG_5276 My older daughter ordered an espresso with milk made with Prospect Parlor’s signature blend. Taking a sip she noticed distinctive floral and spice notes married to cocoa, grapefruit and marzipan. It’s made with 50% Colombia San Sebastian and 50% Ethiopia Sidamo offering a sweet and bright expression with a beautiful design on the foam.

Kenya is one of the elite coffee growing areas in the world. On the menu is a Nguruerl, Kenya espresso that offers notes of cherry cola, tangerine and brown sugar. You can order a single or double Americano. IMG_5295To those who prefer tea, they have four different artisan Song Teas that can be served iced or hot. I ordered an iced Taiwanese Buddha’s Hand. It’s a high-oxidized oolong tea offering dark chocolate, sugar and malted barley flavors. IMG_5280My younger daughter order the Fruit Loop soda with 3/4 of the glass foamy white with crushed Fruit Loops on top. It was a little too sugary for her liking. They also make a Cracker-Jak milkshake.IMG_5290Our informative server Gretchen welcomed us and asked if we were familiar with the PCP concept. She told us that Executive chef Ria Barbosa has created some unexpected twists on toasts, eggs, greens and sweets.

On the menu i noticed the bread is made by my favorite Los Angeles based Bub & Grandma’s Bread. Besides toast served with seasonal jam, they offer an uni toast on sesame sourdough with a hole in the middle filled with an urchin compound butter and a warm onsen egg. Onsen is a traditional Japanese low temperature egg that originally was slow cooked in the water of Onsen hot springs. This toast is topped with a fresh herb salad. 

I ordered an avocado toast on a slice of thick and crusty sourdough bread that’s topped with Persian cucumber slices, pea tendrils and a scattering of toasted hazelnuts. I added two eggs on the side for protein. IMG_5283There are two egg dishes that include the PCP Breakfast sandwich layered with house cured ham and a curried egg. One can add pea tendrils to offer a earthy flavor and avocado. My daughter ordered the eggs and ham plate. It arrived with two bright orange yolks enhanced with harissa, a dollop of guacamole, and the best house cured ham. It’s served with a sliced baguette for those who want to construct their own open face sandwich.

Heartier Australian-California delights include a lamb sausage roll with harissa ketchup, and a roasted lamb sandwich layered with harissa, lime yoghurt, dandelion greens on sourdough bread. Barbosa also makes a savory pork collar sliced thinly and sandwiched between a baguette with brie, stone fruit and drizzled with olive oil and persimmon vinegar.

This talented chef includes flavors of the Philippines when making a lumpia sausage, also known as a Filipino spring rolls. Also on the menu is a Dutch Baby, sometimes called a German pancake; a Bismarck or a Dutch puff. It’s served with seasonal jam and whipped ricotta or you can order it with peas and carrots, smoked salmon and creme fraiche. For a few dollars extra add sunny side up or scrambled eggs.IMG_5282My older daughter ordered the Tea Leaf salad in a bowl filled with market greens, and topped with bright red tomatoes, roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds, crispy lentils and a fermented green tea dressing. You can jazz it up more by adding sliced lamb.

Sweet items include coconut oats with almond macadamia nut butter and seasonal fruit. The old fashioned rolled oats and flax seeds are soaked in almond macadamia milk and dairy free coconut milk yogurt overnight. It’s served with an extra dollop of the yogurt and fresh fruit.

As we got up to leave the general manager Hugh asked how we enjoyed our meal. I told him I really liked the vibe, food and caffeinated beverages served at PCP. He asked if I have been to the sister cafe on Fairfax. When I told him no, I added that it will be bumped to the top of my list. $$

Both Paramount Coffee Project locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1320 E. 7th St. (323)746-6480 and 456 N. Fairfax Ave. (323)746-5480.

10 Fun Fourth of July Venues in LA

Since I’m staying in town this Fourth of July, I researched where some fun Fourth of July food, drink and firework viewing spots are in So Cal. Here’s 10 destinations to cool down and nourish yourself on July 4, 2018 

  1.  Marina Del Rey Hotel’s July Fourth Red, White and BBQ Celebration! Enjoy picturesque Marina views, while soaking up the sun at the oceanfront pool. Order BBQ favorites fresh from the grill and visit The Event Lawn’s Beer Garden featuring samplings from 16 breweries. There is live music, and fun for all ages, including a water balloon toss, pie-eating contest and the best view of the fireworks show on the pool deck, beginning at 9 p.m. with synchronized music. For additional information and tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/4th-of-july-block-party-tickets-47181134042 image008
  2. Party like a patriot at the greatest pre-firework party on the Westside. Brennan’s is grilling up favorites like hot dogs, brats, burgers, skewers, corn on the cobb, and more! Enjoy Cold Tall Boys, Corn Hole Tournament, Badminton Tournament, and Live Music from 12 to 7 p.m. Brennan’s is at 4089 Lincoln Blvd, Marina del Rey, CA 90292.
  3. Start celebrating Independence Day with brunch at The IndependenceSanta Monica’s favorite drinking and dining destination will be offering bottomless mimosas, toast towers, banana french toast, hangover poutine, and more from 10 am to 3 pm at their beach side eatery. 205 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
    (310)458-2500.image001-2
  4. Red, White & Blue at Viviane – Chef Michael Reed is preparing a gourmet feast of takeaway dishes for your Fourth of July party. Pre-order family-style salads, grain bowls and sandwiches for a picnic at the beach, park or however you plan to celebrate Independence Day. Viviane at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. so visitors can enjoy dining poolside. 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., (310)407-7791.

    IMG_3661
    Caroline Styne, Herbie Hancock and Suzanne Goin
  5. The Larder’s Fourth of July takeaway menu – Let Suzanne Goin’s cuisine delight and wow your guests at your backyard Fourth of July party. The Larder in Brentwood and Burton Way offer takeaway menus for cookouts and picnics. A full array of appetizers, platters, fried chicken, barbecue-ready burgers with toppings, and Larder Baking Company breads and rolls are available. Be sure to pick up some cookies, peach pies with crème fraîche whip or a delicious cornmeal cobbler with summer berries. The Larder’s extensive à la carte menu includes seasonal salads, prepared foods, pastries and desserts. Wines curated by Caroline Styne are ideal for entertaining guests or gifting to a host and hostess. Wines can be added to any takeout order. All July 4 orders can be ordered in person, online or by phone by July 2. Both locations will be open for business on July 4 with limited hours. The Larder at Burton Way is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tavern is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and The Larder at Tavern is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Larder at Burton Way, 8500 Burton Way, Los Angeles, (310)278-8060. Tavern and The Larder at Tavern, 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)806-6464.IMG_7197
  6. Sparklers on July 4 at Vinovore – Coly Den Haan’s Virgil Village wine boutique is offering complimentary sparklers on top of 10 percent off every six-pack of wine. Stock up and bring some lady-made red, white and rosé wines, and Champagne to your Independence Day party. This female-driven wine shop is open on July 4 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 616 N. Hoover St., Los Angeles, (323)522-6713.IMG_6958
  7. Fourth of July barbecue at Melody – On July 4 in Virgil Village, chef Justin Abram is grilling out on the patio from 4 to 10 p.m. The new “lazy French” restaurant is serving burger patties, veggies, oysters and wine. Sip red, white and pink wine while playing corn hole. 751 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (323)922-6037.
  8. All-American barbecue at Prank – This fun DTLA location is hosting a barbecue with specials on beer and boilermakers on July 4. Chef Ricardo Sanchez is grilling racks of ribs and chickens to be served alongside mac and cheese, coleslaw and fries. This festive meal is from 2 p.m. to midnight. 1100 S. Hope St., (213)493-4786. IMG_7181
  9. Best firework viewing in the valley at Castaway – Celebrate Independence Day at Castaway in the scenic hills of Burbank to watch this year’s fireworks. The restaurant is offering a Fourth of July special celebrating some classic American dishes. In addition to Castaway’s à la carte dinner menu, chef Perry Pollaci is preparing a grilled peach salad with arugula, citrus and ricotta salata. His barbecue Jidori chicken has a Jack Daniel’s maple glaze. Baby back ribs are glazed with chipotle and brown sugar. Burger lovers will enjoy the Castaway house-blend beef burger with pepper jack cheese, smoked bacon, arugula, shallot marmalade and chipotle aioli. Finish with a warm apple pie à la mode. Reservations can be made at OpenTable. The celebration is from 5 to 11 p.m. There is a $20 fee for patio seating and $10 fee for window seating.  1250 E. Harvard Road, (818)848-6691.IMG_7207

10. Trejo’s Donuts for Fourth of July – For Fourth of July, Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts is making a lemon curd doughnut topped with meringue, and a pastry and Chantilly cream doughnut with strawberries, blueberries and toasted coconut. Bring a dozen to your red, white and blue-themed party. 6785 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (323)462-4600.

This was also featured in the Beverly Press 

Jeni’s brand new ice cream cone