Highlights of LA Times’ The Taste: Friday Night

Sun Gold Tomatoes and Burrata from Love & Salt. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.

The opening event of the LA Times’ “The Taste,” was a wonderful night, with the weather cooling down just in time for the evening, short lines, lots of liquor and happy chefs. It’s always exciting to be on the Paramount backlot, with their New York City streets. This is the first time I noticed that they even have a subway entrance.

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best when the ingredients are of the highest quality, and Love & Salt turned out of our favorites,  Sungold cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor along with creamy, rich burrata. Braised Brisket Rendang Tacos with pickles veggies and micro cilantro from long time favorite Bone Kettle in Pasadena was juicy and flavorful. We could eat them every day. Las Palmas served their house special Beef Birria burritos, which taste exactly like the ones I had at school as a child.

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Where Rock And Photography Meet Art

If you’ve ever read any of my articles, you know that there are two things that I’m absolutely passionate about; Music and Photography. If I can combine the two, I’m in heaven. Coming up on Saturday, September 14 is the opening reception for Karen Fishof’s solo exhibition titled, “Radiate”.  Karen, one of the founders of Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp has met her share of musicians over the years, so naturally she’s decided to leverage her storied background with some pretty compelling images. If you’re thinking that this is just another show with photos of rock stars, you’re in for a treat.  Karen has composed all of her images by placing the subjects right on the photo paper, turning on the lights, and developing the prints. There were no cameras involved!

There are pieces of ephemera from some pretty big names in music that were used in the creation of these images, such as a pair of Ginger Baker’s and Ringo Starr’s drumsticks. There’s another print where the guitars are “signed guitars by the most famous acts in the business.”  If you think that the development of photographic prints is a lost art, see this exhibit.  I for one still miss developing my own prints, the smells of the chemicals, and the end result. See if you can guess which rock stars were used in the production of the art.  If you’re at the reception, there’s a good chance you may run into the subjects themselves, because wherever Karen Fishof goes, rock stars follow. My original story on the camp she co-founded can be found here: Sweet Dreams are Made of This.  For more information on the artist, you can visit her website. For information on the event, click here.

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The Intown Report’s Gig Picks of the Week 9/5/19 – 9/11/19

Atomic Sherpas photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Beat

Looking for cool live music this week? Here’s some show recommendations:

Thursday 9/5

Cafe Nela – Insect Surfers, Neverland Ranch Davidians, PRV13 Dance Party (Elliott Levin & Don Preston) + Baron Bandini

Fleshtonela PhotoLab (835 N.La Brea Ave) – Katatonic, The Freakees + DJ Tony Knox & special guest (hosted by KXLU’s No More Heroes)

Redwood Bar – Ley Valentime, Killer Wolves, The Brutalists + Vampyre Bunnies

Regent Theater – Morgan Delt, Meatbodies + Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Friday 9/6

4th Street Vine (Long Beach) – Atomic Sherpas, Rockford + The Wrinkling Bros.

Cafe Nela – Star Party (Axxel Reese,Steve Reed, Mike Villalobos, & Schoolie G) Wrinkling Bros, Car-pit + Comprehend

La Santa – TSOL, Professor & the Madman, The Detours + Headnoise

Old Towne Pub – Compress Collide, Earth Arrow, Thieves About + Blind Trees

Redwood Bar – Ley Valentime, Killer Wolves, The Brutalists + Vampyre Bunnies

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Eataly Welcomes La Pasta Fresca, a New Housemade Pasta Bar

La Pasta Fresca at Eataly

Undoubtedly one of L.A.’s best food destinations, Eataly has just added a new pasta bar to its convergence of authentic Italian eateries and sublime Italian groceries: La Pasta Fresca.

Though I haven’t had a chance to try it yet — La Pasta Fresca just opened on September 3 — my expectations are high, as I’ve enjoyed excellent meals at two of Eataly’s other offerings: Terra and La Pizza and La Pasta.

La Pasta Fresca is a homemade pasta bar offering top-quality pasta dishes served up in a matter of minutes. You’ll also find a well-edited wine list here. While rooftop restaurant Terra is a wonderful place to linger over a three-course meal and a well-crafted cocktail as you take in the beautiful  Hollywood Hills view, La Pasta Fresca caters to mall visitors and Century City workers looking for a quick but high-quality bite (and perhaps a glass of Sangiovese, Grillo, or Prosecco).

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‘Desolation Center’ Opens September 13, 2019 in Los Angeles

It was the ’80s. While New Wave and yuppies and Reaganomics ruled the country, there was a thriving underground scene where art and music intersected. Starting first in Hollywood and the desolate ghost town of Downtown LA before spreading into the suburbs, punk rock pissed off the cops like nothing had since the 60s. Cops in riot gear used to scatter the confused crowds of kids at shows, batons swinging, with no provocation at all.

A young concert promoter named Stuart Swezey wanted to avoid the police crackdowns and explore new environments. Soon he took his promotional concept, “Desolation Center” out of the downtown warehouses and into the wide open spaces of the desert and the sea. This documentary covers the four site-specific shows that followed–three shows in the desert and one on a whale watching boat in the LA harbor– as well as several in Downtown LA. These pioneering events were the inspiration for Coachella, Lollapalooza and even Burning Man, as the founders of these festivals attest to onscreen. Although it’s already pretty obvious from the old clips of Survival Research Lab’s exploding art and Einstürzende Neubauten making industrial music with scrap metal and power saws, that it was proto-Burning Man.

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‘Monty’s Good Burger’ Opens in Echo Park!

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

With huge crowds and long lines, Monty’s Good Burger landed its third location in Echo Park last week to service Millennials’ ever-growing desire for excellent and nutritious plant-based food. At the friends and family soft opening of Monty’s a little over a week ago, the place was bananas with activists and vegetarian/vegan fans of all types waiting for Monty’s take on delicious plant-based fast food.

Chris, a helpful counterperson, took my order, and I decided to try a full meal with a double cheeseburger, fries, chopped kale caesar salad, a strawberry lemonade, and a coffee shake. After my order, I left to join my friend to talk about the food and enjoy the energy of Monty’s arty and kitschy atmosphere.

The exterior was welcoming and fun, and the interior was bright and graphically energized in a Warholian way. It vibes a lot off of the aesthetics of “Interview Magazine” during its heyday in the ’80s. People were everywhere feasting, and the joint was live! The placemats were cool, featuring Gary Baseman’s unique art. I’ve known Gary for a while, and it was like having another friend joining us for dinner. The restaurant is laid out in three sections. The reception area has several seating options and a wall dedicated to Monty’s merchandise. The middle area is a mix of booths and tall tables, and the third and last room is all booths for a more intimate setting and group dining. That room was a scene all in itself. Continue reading

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LA Food & Wine 2019 The Great Steakout and BBQ

Brisket from FIG Santa Monica. All photos by Elise Thompson for The LA Beat.

Saturday night is always the biggest and fanciest bash of LA Food & Wine. They weren’t kidding when they said, “Meat me at LAFW’s Great Steakout and BBQ.” Hosted by Curtis Stone of Gwen, it was a festival for carnivores. A few seafood and vegetable dishes made an appearance, but the night belonged to beef.

In fact, one of our favorite dishes was BBQ Unagi Donburi from Chef Wing Ho of Tao Asian Bistro, who grated flurries from a Hudson Valley Foie Gras torchon over the grilled eel, an unexpected but perfect matching. Chef Michael Passmore of Passmore Ranch won the Instagram wars with a photogenic Caviar Cone filled with crème fraîche, and Birdie G’s Cured Roe from Jeremy Fox’s new project, which glistened like jewels.

Chef Jason Prendergast of FIG in Santa Monica went all out with a buffet piled high with Smoked Beef Brisket, Dry-rubbed St. Louis Ribs, potatoes, sausage, grilled peppers, corn, and wild mushrooms. Their table could have been a stand-alone feast anyone would be pleased with. The super-tender boneless pork rib was my favorite meaty bite of the evening.

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August 31: Ernie Kovacs Retrospective at Cinecon 55

The groundbreaking work of television comedy pioneer Ernie Kovacs will be featured at the 55th annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival. Clips from Kovacs’ singular career, which helped to inspire generations of comedians that followed, from David Letterman to the Kids in the Hall, will be screened at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of the Kinecon at Cinecon program on August 31st at 12 p.m.

The event is part of a year-long celebration of Kovacs’s centennial (1919-2019) organized by Los Angeles-based publicist Joshua Mills, son of Kovacs’ spouse/muse/foil and archivist, Edie Adams, and executor of both the Kovacs and Adams estates; he’ll be in attendance with some of Kovacs’ most surreal sketches and concepts, culled from his years on regional and network television in the late ’50s.

This year’s Kinecon lineup will also pay tribute to veteran actor and television host Chuck McCann, who died in 2018. For more information on the screening and Cinecon 55’s full lineup of programming, please visit here.

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Revamped Cafe del Rey Debuts New Look & New Menu

The Regatta Room at Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey. All images by Karin E. Baker

Despite its long wall of windows offering sweeping marina views, Cafe del Rey is not a restaurant to merely rely on its vistas. This Marina del Rey stalwart has served diners high-quality California cuisine since its opening 27 years ago. Still going strong, it’s now showcasing a fresh point of view, thanks to new Executive Chef Job Carder, updated decor, and a revitalized menu.

Though there’s a new chef at the helm, the choice of Carder does bring with it a sense of history: as a child, he dined here with his grandfather, a co-founder of Norm’s Restaurant.

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Beat Recommends: King Crimson at the Greek

Of the many tempting options to see live music celebrating it’s 30th-to-50th anniversary this week in LA, King Crimson’s appearance at the Greek Theater offers something that few of the others do – the chance that something you’ve never heard before will be a highlight of the gig. The edition of Crimso that has been in place for a few years now – founder Robert Fripp, veterans Mel Collins, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto, and relative noobs Gavin Harrison, Jeremy Spencer, Bill Rieflin and singer/ guitarist Jakko Jakszyk – is the first one that has tackled repertoire from all previous Crimsons: songs by the 1971 Lizard version, the later 1971 Islands version, the 2001 four-piece version, I mean, ALL them Crimsos are potentially on the set list.

Will I get to hear “Epitaph” performed in my lifetime? It could happen. But they also continue working on stuff, and though they haven’t released a “new album” since Adrian Belew left the fold, they have been issuing high quality live recordings that include new songs, which add a new dimension to the band’s legacy. Expect a mind boggling performance from all the players involved, at least a few of your old favorites, and some useful new information.

King Crimson appears at the Greek Theater on Tuesday, September 3. Tickets, $43 to $165, at Ticketmaster.

See our review of their 2017 appearance at the Greek here.

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