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Inside the Amazing History of LA’s Famous Old Restaurants and Bars
Plus a new Alfred Coffee, and a Chinese food flip off Fairfax

Celebrating LA’s oldest
There are still lots of long-running restaurant gems around town, from cheeseburger taco spots to some of the country’s oldest burger stands. Yet still more have been lost to the sands of time though (often after their own decades-long run), or have flipped into different concepts that still slyly reveal their past. Now the blog for American Cinematheque has run down a few of the best from the book LA’s Legendary Restaurants, including Chasen’s, Perino’s, and The Brown Derby. It’s far from a complete peek into the restaurants of old, but even in this truncated way, learning a little bit about some of the most famous places that used to be is fascinating — especially in this high-turnover market. Go give yourself some nostalgic feelings today with a classic old restaurant.


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Cava to Open New Los Angeles Locations

Cava, the rapidly expanding fast casual Mediterranean restaurant brand, will open two new locations in the Los Angeles area on March 7 and March 8 in downtown Culver City and Venice Beach. These openings represent the 26th and 27th restaurants for Cava, and the fourth and fifth in Los Angeles. On the opening day at both locations, Cava will hold a community lunch, a tradition that started with the very first restaurant opening. Cava will offer free meals between 11a.m. and 2 p.m. and will be accepting donations to Garden School Foundation, its local non-profit partner, which dedicates itself to education through garden-based learning in outdoor living classrooms."


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5 Great Food Festivals in Los Angeles This Month .

Spring in Los Angeles signals many things. The vibrant green hills will soon give way to the scorched brown earth we know so well. The air begins to smell like honeysuckle. And food festival season is upon us.
That's right, after a few sparse months, we're back to a schedule of food events that covers practically every weekend and some weekdays, too. You could spend the next few weeks doing little else but wandering around large rooms eating small bites of food.
From huge, multiday, celebrity chef–driven productions to beer bacchanals, here are five food and drink festivals coming up that you might consider attending.


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Local restaurants face conflicting policies about gendered bathrooms

.Some L.A. restaurants are finding themselves a little confused about restrooms. California’s recent move toward gender-neutrality in public restrooms may be in conflict with Los Angeles municipal codes for restaurants. Even if a restaurant fully endorses the concept of gender-neutrality in restrooms, local law currently requires that, if they have single-occupant restrooms, there must be a minimum of two and they must be designated for male and female users. Complying with that code is a requirement to even get a liquor license in the city, L.A. Weekly reports. Which is where it gets tricky, because those exact single-occupant restrooms are the ones described by AB 1732, a California state law signed by Governor Brown in September, which requires single-occupant restrooms be designated as gender neutral. So what is a small restaurant to do? It isn’t entirely clear in the short term. If they have the square feet to spare, AB 1732 doesn’t make any rules regarding multi-occupant restrooms, so that is one option. As long as the sink is located outside the toilet enclosure, the restroom is considered to be multi-occupant and falls under different regulations.


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Immigration raid at French restaurant shows difficulties of nabbing workers here illegally

It was just weeks after the Pacific Beach restaurant and bakery The French Gourmet had been raided by immigration authorities that chef and owner Michel Malécot was out to dinner. He spotted a familiar face among the staff — a bus boy who had just been busted for working illegally for Malécot. Unlike that restaurant owner — and numerous other San Diego employers who depend on illegal labor — Malécot had to answer for his hiring practices, a hard lesson that the Frenchman said cost him a fortune and should serve as a cautionary tale to other business owners as the likelihood of increased workplace enforcement rises under the Trump administration. The criminal case against The French Gourmet, Malécot and the restaurant’s manager and pastry chef, Richard Kauffmann, in 2008 sent shock waves through San Diego’s restaurant scene. It was a rare case of the U.S. government targeting the employer, and Malécot said the intent was to use him as an example."


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Jeni the Ice Cream Whisperer Finds Inspiration and Customer Loyalty in L.A.

It’s 5:30 p.m., and although the doors won’t open for almost two more hours, a few people have formed a line outside of Jeni’s Ice Cream on Rose Avenue, the brand’s latest scoop shop and its second in Los Angeles. In honor of the store’s grand opening, owner Jeni Britton Bauer is in town from Columbus, Ohio. She’s in her typical uniform for the occasion — jeans and a white top with a faux flower pinned at the collar — and she shuffles some potted plants off their stands so we can sit and chat comfortably.
If the craft-store peony brooch didn’t give away the 43-year-old’s creativity — she’s channeling Gucci, she says — an easy conversation about her flavor-making process surely does. When asked if she ever gets an ice cream maker’s version of writer’s block, she’s quick to reply.


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Chef Miles Thompson Shares L.A.'s Most Unmissable Restaurants

We missed Miles Thompson while he was gone. The chef left town after Allumette, the restaurant he ran in Echo Park, closed in June 2014. He worked in Northern California for a couple of years before returning last summer to take over the kitchen at Michael's in Santa Monica, and it's wonderful to have his brand of thoughtful, highly inventive cooking back in Los Angeles.
It turns out he missed us as well. Have you ever wondered what you'd crave the most if you were to leave town? We asked Thompson to tell us about the spots he dreamed about while he was living up north, and he came up with a list that could serve as a guide for newbies, or as a reminder to the rest of us that we have it pretty damn good. Here are the 10 places Thompson missed the most while he was away.


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Disneyland Has a New Restaurant, and It Is Absurdly Expensive

Disneyland has finally opened the long-rumored 21 Royal to the public. The small restaurant, located in New Orleans Square, requires a total buyout of the 12-person space to visit. It costs $15,000, so perhaps the ""open to the public"" part is more of a technicality.
Plans for 21 Royal were first announced in 2014, and the space is now finally fully operational. The restaurant will host only one group at a time — the party meets its guide at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and is taken into the park, where the restaurant sits on the second floor of a New Orleans Square building, right above Pirates of the Caribbean. There's a cocktail hour, where guests can explore the pretty luxurious two-bedroom apartment in which they'll be dining. The sommelier is on hand to tell tales of Disney history. Then on to the main event: a seven-course dinner created by 21 Royal's chefs, Andrew Sutton and Justin Monson. Dessert can be had out on the balcony, which has a view of the fireworks.
The cost of the evening — again, $15,000 — includes tax, gratuity, valet parking and park admission. It comes out to $1,250 per person, which is still wild but within reach for some Angelenos and a lot of international tourists.
This isn't Disneyland's only foray into high-end dining. Club 33 opened in 1967, with the original intention of hosting Walt Disney's business associates and VIP guests. It is also located in New Orleans Square, and is open only to club members and their guests. Club membership is $25,000 to join, then $10,000 annually.


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The All-Uni Restaurant Returns With Miyabi Uni in Torrance

Remember Maruhide Uni Club? The restaurant in Torrance that dealt almost exclusively in sea urchin, and that closed in mid-2016 after a couple of years of satiating the needs of uni addicts? Well, there's a new all-uni restaurant in town, and it has a lot in common with Maruhide.
Miyabi Uni, also in Torrance, is most obviously similar to Maruhide in its dedication to sea urchin. But beyond that, Miyabi is run by two chefs who worked at Maruhide, Isao Minami and Hisao Kasama. Both chefs were trained in Japan, then moved to the United States before meeting when they both worked at Benihana in Torrance. From there, they moved to Maruhide when it opened.
At Miyabi, which has been soft open for a couple of weeks, the menu is fairly similar to Maruhide, though it's a tad more expensive. One of Maruhide's greatest assets was that you got giant chirashi bowls overflowing with uni for less money than you might pay for a couple of pieces of uni nigri at the better sushi bars in town. At Miyabi, cost is closer to those high-end Japanese restaurant prices, with appetizers that cost as much as $29.95 and uni donburi bowls hovering around $35 at dinner. (Lunch isn't yet being served, but when it is, according to the menu on the restaurant website, the menu will be oddly lacking in uni.)
Eater's Matt Kang checked out the space and the food recently, and confirms that it indeed is quite a bit swankier than Maruhide, in look and feel. When I reviewed Maruhide in 2014, I had two main complaints: The restaurant felt like the dining room of a crappy Marriott, and the non-uni offerings — particularly the sashimi that came on a lot of the bowls — were lacking in quality. If Miyabi is serving higher quality fish in a nicer room, it has a great chance of gaining the pilgrimage status Maruhide had, and surpassing it for those of us who care about more than just a heaping plate of uni."


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A Daniel and Balthazar Alum Opens a Neighborhood Restaurant in Mid-Wilshire

Sascha Lyon is a Los Angeles native, but his culinary career has taken him all over the country. Today he synthesizes all of those experiences with his personal passions to open Commerson, a restaurant on La Brea Avenue in Mid-Wilshire named after French botanist Philibert Commerson.
Lyon has a wide-ranging and impressive career, including being part of the opening team at New York's famed Daniel restaurant, and also working at Balthazar. He went on to become the chef de cuisine at Pastis before opening his own New York spot, Sascha Restaurant and Bakery.


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6 Thrilling Restaurant Openings That Make Us Excited for 2017

While we all breathe a sigh of relief that 2016 is behind us, and look with trepidation toward the coming year, there's one thing at least we can look forward to: 2017 is already shaping up to be a pretty thrilling time for Los Angeles restaurant openings. Big names are coming to town from both New York and San Fransisco. Established L.A. chefs are opening new projects. And one of our most talented chefs, who has been absent for a couple of years, is looking to break back onto the scene in a big way. Here are the six openings we're most excited about in 2017."


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New Hot Dogs! New Cocktails! New Beer! Three New Places to Eat and Drink in L.A. This Weekend

Do you need a drink? I need a drink. And I could use a hot dog — America's greatest comfort food — as well. Luckily Los Angeles is getting a bunch of new venues this week that expand our options for eating and drinking our blues away.
On the drinks side of things, 213 Hospitality, in partnership with Eric Alperin (of the Varnish fame) and Richard Boccato, opened the doors to Bar Clacson this week, hosting a grand opening on Wednesday night. Located downtown at 351 S. Broadway, the bar has a vintage Mediterranean theme, drawing inspiration from the bar tabac and the European tradition of apéritivo hour. Bar Clacson has a focus on low-ABV cocktails, apéritifs and digestifs, as well as classic cocktails. According to press materials, ""The beverage program is accompanied by a menu of European fare typical of bar tabacs, developed in collaboration with Jeff Marino. Featured dishes include bruschetta, paninis, and cheese and charcuterie boards."" There's also a 27-foot indoor bocce court. The bar is open Tuesday to Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 a.m. Hooray for day drinking! barclacson.com.
Day drinking is also an option at Verdugo West Brewing Company, a brewery in Burbank that held its grand opening this week. According to Food GPS, the brewer is Chris Walowski, formerly of Smog City Brewing. The brewery offers a number of core and seasonal beers, and you can drink them on-site or buy growlers to go. It also offers a service whereby you can order a burrito from a nearby purveyor and have it delivered to your table at the brewery. Verdugo West is open Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Kids and dogs on leashes (the dogs, not the kids) are welcome in the taproom. verdugowestbrewing.com.


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Drink Houz Restaurant

Drink Houz is a new wellness-inspired café in Westlake (near Silver Lake) featuring a seasonal menu of mostly vegan and vegetarian offerings. Look for salads like the winter special with quinoa, kale, butternut squash and rosemary maple dressing; bowls with creamy polenta, pesto and runny egg; and sandwiches such as a green melt with roasted radicchio, pear, spinach and Havarti. Breakfast & Lunch daily. Drink Houz, 3231 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90026, 213-378-0529.


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French pastry chef Dominique Ansel

French pastry chef Dominique Ansel, chef/owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery and Dominique Ansel Kitchen, announced he'll be opening a bakery and full-service restaurant in Los Angeles. (The address has not yet been confirmed.) Patrons routinely line up for his famous invention the "Cronut," a half croissant-half doughnut. His other signature creations include "Frozen S'mores" and "Cookie Shots."


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Restaurateur Stéphane Bombet (Faith & Flower, Hanjip) and chef Scott Conant (Scarpetta) will open The Ponte

Restaurateur Stéphane Bombet (Faith & Flower, Hanjip) and chef Scott Conant (Scarpetta) will open The Ponte, a modern Italian restaurant in the former space of Terrine. Look for a February 2017 opening. The Ponte, 8265 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, no phone.


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Hollywood mourned the loss of its beloved The Cat & Fiddle

Hollywood mourned the loss of its beloved The Cat & Fiddle, but the restaurant will re-emerge in spring 2017 on Highland Avenue in Susan Feniger’s former Mud Hen Tavern space. The Cat & Fiddle, 742 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038, no phone.


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Bardonna Silver Lake Restaurant

Bardonna has opened a third location, Bardonna Silver Lake, on a hipster stretch of eastside Sunset Boulevard. For all-day breakfast find an English muffin with beer braised kale, fried egg and thick cut bacon; a huevos rancheros bowl with feta cheese and fermented chili; shakshuka; truffled avocado toast; and braised short rib beef hash. Lunch offerings include soups, salads and sandwiches. Expect a super long list of finer coffees, teas and house-made nut milks and kombucha. Bardonna Silver Lake, 3206 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026, 323-522-6741.


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