Tag Archives: downtown

Leftovers: Chimú

Top-tier Peruvian for the L.A. Times:


PHOTO by RICARDO DEARATANHA / L.A. TIMES

This is Los Angeles’ Peruvian moment, an embrace of Andean flavors prophesied long ago by food futurists who proclaimed the cuisine to be the next big thing. There have always been pockets of our sprawling geography where ceviche is scattered with giant kernels of corn and jugs of chicha morada stain teeth a pleasant purple. But this is a citywide shift in culinary consciousness.

It coalesced at Mo-Chica. Ricardo Zarate’s restaurant reshaped the notions of Peruvian food with sushi-grade fish mounded in a tart puddle of citrus, and quinoa cut with crème fraîche and stirred just until it resembled risotto. Now that mantle of invention is being carried forth by Chimú, a downtown walk-up where beef hearts share a salad with shaved apples and lamb belly bastes in a cilantro-black beer reduction.

Chimú operates from a takeout window in Grand Central Market’s outer courtyard, a lunchtime amphitheater where all the city’s social strata converge. It’s that centrality that landed Mario Alberto (formerly of Lazy Ox Canteen and Mo-Chica) and Jason Michaud (owner of Silver Lake’s Local) here in the shadow of the funicular Angels Flight.

Read the rest here.

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Leftovers: Downtown Bar Food Crawl

Cole’s, Library Bar and Redwood Bar and Grill from CityBeat:


PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES

It was a burger that first broke ground: a high-concept creation sweetened with caramelized onions, smeared with an applewood-bacon compote and glued together by Gruyere and Maytag blue cheese. Father’s Office’s self-titled Office Burger stormed the culinary world, causing drunken late-night crowds to queue up in claustrophobic scrums and kitchens to plow through patties in hopes of reproducing that success.

But if Father’s Office revived the formerly fossilized concept of the gastropub, downtown is where the best bar food has taken hold. It’s in part due to concentration – within a few disorienting blocks are dozens of restaurants and bars (and all those permit-dodging places in between) that care just as much about their food as they do their drinks. Because of that, the best way to absorb all that bar-bound cooking is the crawl, stopping in for a boutique beer here and a carefully constructed slider there.

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Leftovers: Church & State

Breaking away from the brasserie pack downtown:


PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES

Church & State is the odd bistro out in L.A.’s recent brasserie boom – an uncomplicated place that fits downtown’s still-indelicate fringe. While Anisette, for example, pursues Old World grandeur, Church & State monopolizes modernity. It’s a methodically simple restaurant spread out on the ground floor of the Biscuit Company lofts, where it brings the rest of downtown right inside. Its bare brick floors, strings of slumping lights and Skullphone paste-ups approximate the atmosphere of an alleyway as much as an ornate bistro.

But as the least formal of the brasserie pack, Church & State remains undervalued. That neglect might derive from the fact that under its opening chef, the food simply fell a little flat. Or perhaps it stems from attached restaurateur Steven Arroyo – eaters may have been worried that the restaurant was quietly working to become yet another Cobras & Matadors. Whatever the cause, Church & State is now disproving doubters. Walter Manzke, formerly of Bastide, has the kitchen fulfilling its promise. Now, Church & State is on the ascent. It’s a genuine French bistro all the way down to the bone marrow.

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Art Alert: MOCA Bake Sale

Short notice, but here’s a chance to help out MOCA’s failing finances the easiest way possible: with your stomach. Today, between noon and 2pm, a number of artists will be hosting a bake sale outside the museum featuring everything from marionberry pie to Alberto Giacometti-style baguettes (above). More press released info after the jump:

UPDATE: Photos from the weather-wrecked event here.

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Leftovers: Nickel Diner

Downtown’s ideal diner from this week’s CityBeat:


PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES

Call the Nickel Diner whatever you will – a harbinger of gentrification, a preservationist’s dream, a loft-livers’ love – but the spirit of the downtown restaurant is best represented by three little doughnut holes. They arrive on a sampler plate; at a recent brunch rush, they were strawberry shortcake, vegan blueberry and the famous maple bacon. The three seem derived from a common diner DNA of past, present and future, but the maple bacon doughnut is what captivates the crowds.

The bacon-crusted pastry has become the restaurant’s essential bite – like fried Snickers or chicken ’n’ waffles – a sweet hunk of Americana sought out for its Homeric gluttony. But lost in all that baconated press is the fact that the Nickel Diner is a relatively rare restaurant: not only does it have a clear sense of itself, but it can match any hypertrophied expectations, too.

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