Posts Tagged ‘Red Table’

LA Restaurant Week
July 18-31
Greater Los Angeles Area

Hundreds of restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles Area will participate in this 14-day feast. All participating restaurants will offer either discounts on select items, or prix-fixe menus.

US Open of Surfing
July 23-31
Huntington Beach, south of the pier

This week-long competition takes place on the shore south of Huntington Beach Pier. Come see professional and amateur surfers compete to take a spot for the ASP World Tour. Visitors will also find skateboarding demos and live music all week. Completely free to attend, this weekend will see thousands of spectators on the beach for the US Open. Expect heavy traffic all week. Try to find parking in the neighborhoods, but prepare to walk a long distance if choosing to park in neighborhoods, since the neighborhoods closer to the beach will remain full all week.

Red Table’s 5th Birthday Party
11:30 am – 9:00 pm, July 25
Red Table Restaurant, Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach’s Red Table Restaurant turns five years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have $5 happy hour available all day.

Monster Mixer #8: Pop-Up Virtual Reality Arcade
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 25
The Copper Door, Santa Ana

Experience the new generation of virtual reality for free tonight in Downtown Santa Ana. No one under 18 may attend.

Terror: The Life & Death Tour 2016
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 27, The Industry, Chula Vista
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 28, Union Nightclub, Los Angeles
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 30, Chain Reaction, Anaheim

Hardcore band Terror currently tours across the nation, and that tour will swing through Southern California this week. Ticket prices and age limits vary by location, so click on a show’s link for information.

2016 International Food Blogger Conference
July 28-31
Hyatt Regency, Sacramento

The world’s top conference for food bloggers moves to Sacramento this year! This conference covers a broad diversity of topics, and each attendee may choose their own program of sessions to attend. Registration costs $195 for food bloggers or $495 for non-bloggers.

Pizza Port Pint Nite
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 28
Meat Up BBQ, Placentia

Meat Up BBQ brings back their monthly pint nite this Thursday night. Buy a beer, and keep the glass while supplies last.

14th Annual Taste of the Pacific Islands
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, July 28
Bali Hai Restaurant, San Diego

Get a taste of Islander cuisine this Thursday night near Liberty Station. Admission to this all-ages tasting costs $30 presale and $40 at the door, and includes all food, non-alcoholic drinks, access to a silent auction, arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment, and more.

Nagoya Fair
9:00 am – 9:00 pm, July 29-31
Mitsuwa Marketplace, Torrance

Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance will have a free and all-ages event all this weekend. Visitors will get to experience a taste of Nagoya culture with unique food and entertainment.

Belmont Shore Summer Sidewalk Sale
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 29-31
Along 2nd Street, Long Beach

Various shops in Belmont Shore will offer sales on their items. Many shops will also place their items out on the sidewalk for people to browse as they walk by.

Urge Gastropub’s 6th Anniversary
11:30 am – 11:30 pm, July 29-30
11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Juily 31
Urge Gastropub, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego’s Urge Gastropub turns six years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have a weekend full of beer, music, food, and more. Expect local bands, food specials, and unique anniversary beers all weekend. Although this costs nothing to attend, Urge will offer a VIP package that includes many items – check the website to see what the VIP package gets you.

KCON Food Street Night Market
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 29-30
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, July 31
LA Live, Los Angeles

Experience Korean nightlife this weekend at the annual Koreatown Night Market for FREE! This event celebrates Korean culture by immersing visitors into the night market experience similar to that of South Korea. Over 40 food vendors and 11 food trucks will serve up delicious Korean delectable eats, while visitors can check out the live entertainment, art exhibits, and vendor village in this outdoor market.

Pinup Prom 2016
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 29
Pinup Girl Boutique, Burbank

Free to attend for all ages, a pinup-themed prom event will take place in Burbank this Friday night.

26th Annual Taste of Yorba Linda
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 29
Yorba Linda Community Center, Yorba Linda

Sample the best of food & drinks in Yorba Linda this Friday evening. For $55 presale or $65 at the door, guests get treated to a night of unlimited food tastings plus two drink tickets good for beer or wine. Guests may reserve a table for ten for $100.

5th Annual LUCKYRICE Feast
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 29
Vibiana, Los Angeles

Join in on this night of Asian-style food tastings and cocktail sips this Friday night in Downtown LA. General admission costs $88 and starts at 8pm, while early admission costs $150 and starts at 7pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and cocktail tastings while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Delicious Little Tokyo
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 29
10:00 am – 11:00 pm, July 30
10:30 am – 9:00 pm, July 31
Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles

A handful of food & beverage events will take place around Little Tokyo this weekend. Some of these events have an admission fee, while some do not, so check the website for the full list of events.

Voodoo Glow Skulls: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 29, Underground DTSA, Santa Ana
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 30, Bar 1650, Corona

Skacore band Voodoo Glow Skulls will headline two shows this week in Southern California. Ticket prices and age limits vary by location, so click on a show’s link for details.

11th Annual Unleashed by Petco Imperial Beach Surf Dog
8:00 am – 3:00 pm, July 30
Imperial Beach Pier, Imperial Beach, San Diego

Catch a weekend of surfing and dogs this weekend in Imperial Beach. Various events will take place throughout the day, with a few taking place on Sunday as well. Events vary in price, so check the website for a price for each individual event.

Long Beach Dragonboat Fest
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 30-31
Marine Stadium, Long Beach

Come watch numerous teams race Dragonboats in Marine Stadium, with the finals on Sunday. Expect to see Chinese traditional art demonstrations, Chinese Acrobats, traditional dance, hip hop, music and martial arts performances. Spectators may attend and watch for free.

Run/Yoga Challenge Brouwerij West
9:30 am – 12:30 pm, July 30
Brouwerij West, San Pedro

Participate in some running and yoga this Saturday morning, then follow it up with beer at Brouwerij West in San Pedro. Participation costs $25 and includes the physical activities, vegan brunch, and beer samples. Participants under 21 may not have any beer though.

The Inspired Market – Yorba Linda
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, July 30
RM Nixon Park, Yorba Linda

This free and all-ages arts & crafts fair takes place on the last Saturdays of each month in Yorba Linda. Swing on by and check out the various vendors here selling accessories, apparel, and more.

Midsummer Scream
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, July 30
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 31
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

A horror and Halloween expo comes to Long Beach this weekend, filled with vendors, entertainment, activities, and more. Tickets range from $25 to $75.

Cook’s Corner 2nd Annual Beer Fest
12:00 pm – 3:30 pm, July 30
Cook’s Corner, Trabuco Canyon

Check out lots of motorcycles and sip on craft beers this Saturday afternoon in Trabuco Canyon. Admission costs $30 presale or $35 at the door, and provides unlimited beer samples for the duration of the event while supplies last. Cook’s Corner serves food at cost, so bring extra cash for that. No one under 21 may attend.

10th Annual Venice Bar B Que
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, July 30
Oakwood Recreation Center, Venice

A free and all-ages community potluck will take place in Venice this Saturday afternoon in Venice.

3rd Annual NOS Brew Fest & Home Brew Competition
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, July 30
NOS Event Center, San Bernardino

A craft beer and homebrewing festival comes to San Bernardino this Saturday afternoon. General admission costs $25 and starts at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $40, starts at 12pm, and also includes a t-shirt, key chain, and VIP parking. All attendees receive unlimited beer samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Gourmetzia 2016
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, July 30-31
The Reef, Los Angeles

Described as “the international food lovers ultimate sampling event,” this two-day expo at The Reef showcases the finest in trending foods, gourmet, and artisan delicacies. Between all of the food sampling and browsing, check out all the culinary demos, performances, and high-energy activities. General admission costs $30 and grants full access to all the vendors and their samples.

Fiesta Pilsner Release
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 30
Telegraph Brewing Company, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s Telegraph Brewing will release a special pilsner this Saturday, and you can check it out at their tasting room all day. Telegraph will also have a Mexican mobile food vendor on site, plus appropriate music. This event has no admission fee – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

HARD Summer Music Festival
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, July 30-31
Auto Club Speedway, Fontana

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has always remained a popular genre in our recent history. Since the early 1990’s, people have jammed and danced to EDM through various forms, such as rave, techno, trance, dubstep, and more. Due to this genre’s lack of lyrics, EDM sounds the same to everyone around the world. This international appeal reaches every corner in the world, especially at Electric Daisy Carnival. This weekend, Los Angeles will see its own EDM concert with Hard Summer, a two-day outdoor concert taking place at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Tickets start at $109. No one under 18 may attend.

HessFest 2016
12:30 pm – 5:00 pm, July 30
Mike Hess Brewing, North Park, San Diego

Hess Brewing will celebrate their sixth anniversary with an afternoon beer tasting event this Saturday at their tasting room in North Park, San Diego. Hess Brewing will pour many of their beers plus some rare and exclusive beers just for this event, and other local breweries will make an appearance to serve their refreshing brews as well. General admission costs $50, starts at 1:00, and includes unlimited beer tasters and food samples. VIP admission costs $65, starts at 12:30pm, and provides access to VIP-only beers. All attendees receive a souvenir glass that they may bring back to the Hess tasting room for $4 refills for the rest of the year.

Punk Rock Fundraiser Show
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, July 30
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Enjoy a hard punk rock show this Saturday afternoon in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

LA Weekly’s Burgers & Beer
2:00 pm – 7:00 pm, July 30
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum & Sports Arena, Los Angeles

Hang with hipsters at this gourmet foodie and craft beer event in Los Angeles this Saturday afternoon. Find burgers from dozens of Los Angeles County’s hottest burger joints, and enjoy beer samples from dozens of Southern Californian microbreweries. General admission starts at 3pm and costs $75 with beer or $55 without beer. VIP admission costs $90 and starts at 2pm. All attendees receive unlimited samples until it runs out. No one under 21 may attend.

Twilight Chow Fest
2:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 30
Martin Auto Service, Riverside

The Inland Empire gets their very first night market this Saturday, following on the heels of the very successful night markets of Arcadia, Koreatown, Costa Mesa, and recently Long Beach. Admission costs only $3 per person or $5 for two.

5th Annual Downtown Burbank Car Classic
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 30
San Fernando Blvd b/t Magnolia & Angeleno, Burbank

Car enthusiasts will want to make their way over to Downtown Burbank this Saturday afternoon for a day full of classic cars, customs, and more, free to attend for all ages.

3rd Annual Vegan Faire
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 30
Healthy Junk, Anaheim

This Saturday, check out this FREE and all-ages festival showcasing the full spectrum of healthy lifestyle goods & services with booths & workshops focusing on food, environment, clothing and fitness. Catch live music on the promenade all day too.

Tiki Night 2016
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 30
Egyptian Theater, Hollywood

Enjoy an all-ages Pacific Islander festival and show this Saturday evening in Hollywood. Visitors will find music, dance, entertainment, food, drinks, desserts, arts & crafts, vendors, and more. General admission costs $18, or $14 for students or seniors.

Popfuji II
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 30
Brouwerij West, San Pedro

This Saturday evening, San Pedro’s Brouwerij West will bring back Popfuji, their unfiltered pilsner, as well as a handful of local bands and gourmet food trucks. The cover charge to enter costs $5.

Ska In The Park 4
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 30
Out Of The Park Pizza, Anaheim Hills

Get your skanking on at this free and all-ages ska show this Saturday night in Anaheim Hills.

No Clue Brew Ride
8:30 am – 12:30 pm, July 31
No Clue Brew, Rancho Cucamonga

Go on a bike ride this Sunday morning, which will include a brunch stop and beers. The bike ride costs nothing to attend, but participants should bring cash for food and beer.

2nd Annual Yestercon
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, July 31
The Carson Center, Carson

Check out old toys, games, and other pop culture items at this all-ages retro event in Carson this Sunday. General admission costs $10 and starts at 10am, while early admission costs $15 and starts at 9am. Visitors may park for free here.

Swiss Fair
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, July 31
Swiss Park, Whittier

The Annual Swiss Fair returns to Swiss Park in Whittier this Sunday. Guests of all ages will find Swiss food, drinks, desserts, vendors, dance, music, cheese tastings, games, and more. Entry costs $5, which includes parking.

Reckless First Anniversary Party
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, July 31
Reckless Brewing Company, Miramar, San Diego

Formerly Wet N Reckless Brewing, they will celebrate the first anniversary of their reopening this Sunday afternoon. They will have 12 beers on tap, and you can get a sampler flight of all of them for $15.

Summer Soda Tasting 2016
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, July 31
Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, Highland Park

$15 gets you a pass to sample various sodas in Highland Park this Sunday evening while supplies last.

letlive. @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 31
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Post-hardcore band letlive. will headline an all-ages show in Santa Ana this Sunday night. Tickets to this show cost $15.

Meat eaters around the world have this unexplainable fascination with bacon. This little strip of pork drives millions around the world crazy for that one special piece. If you ask random people why they like bacon, I assure you that the answers follow no sort of consistency. From portion size to the crisp texture to the salty goodness, everyone has a different reason for loving this thin strip of pork. Some producers and manufacturers have capitalized on this by selling bulk bacon with added ingredients. This results in cheap bacon circulating the markets, where the common package of bacon no longer only contains meat, but now contains other ingredients that 99% of bacon consumers cannot even pronounce. To alleviate this problem, consumers should purchase bacon not in bulk, since that comes pre-sliced and contains additives, but as a full slab of bacon. Many chefs and restaurant owners love slab bacon for the ability to control portion size, but many do not realize that pork belly also comes in this form. In America, nearly every form of bacon derives from pork belly, while in the rest of the world, people prepare pork belly as they would forms of pork, such as shredded, diced, or as one entire piece. Anyone who loves bacon should learn to also love pork belly, as you obtain more bacon goodness than just strips of it. Want to get into pork belly? Check out these five places in the Greater Los Angeles Area that serves pork belly in simple yet delicious forms.

5. Vizzi Truck‘s Pork Belly Taco

Since its inauguration in 2009, the gourmet food truck community has risen from one man’s ambition to the global empire as it stands now around the world. Thanks to numerous media outlets, especially Food Network, citizens worldwide now seek out these food trucks not only for novelty, but for the street food depicted in the media. As the hometown of gourmet food trucks, Los Angeles has provided a home to some of today’s top food trucks, and has proved a battleground for newer ones or others that simply could not keep up with the strenuous work of operating a food truck. Luckily, the bad ones fall out quick, while the good ones remain to serve. One can determine the quality of a food truck by its age – the longer a food truck has remained open, the more they know about the industry. Trust in Vizzi Truck, a gourmet food truck that opened back in 2009 as the first generation of gourmet food trucks. Their penchant for Coastal Cuisine appeals to a wide diversity of consumers by utilizing French cooking techniques and mixing different styles of cuisine. For example, take a look at their Pork Belly Taco. This taco takes a Vietnamese approach to pork belly and applies it to Mexican street food logic by grilling pork belly, inserting it in small street taco-size flour tortillas, then topping it off with cucumbers, pickled carrots & daikon, cilantro, and Gochujang sauce, a Korean sauce that tastes salty with a kick of spice. The veggies give the taco a tart taste to balance the savoriness of the pork belly, while the sauce helps to open up your palate to better absorb the pork belly’s flavor. Although it appears small, this taco can fill you up, not to mention that Vizzi Truck serves this taco on a bed of truck-made popcorn. If you track down Vizzi Truck, you can snag this taco for $4. Vizzi Truck employs a seasonal menu, so track them down quick before they remove the Pork Belly Taco!

4. Flying Pig Café‘s Pork Belly Buns

As a food truck owner, you would not want to stay in that realm for too long. For the most part, entrepreneurs and/or chefs enter the food truck industry as a means to get their feet wet, learn the ropes of the industry, invest some capital, and then apply the acquired knowledge towards opening a brick & mortar business. In some cases, the entrepreneur can continue to operate the food truck, but due to the uncertainty of profit on a food truck, at least it will operate under the safety bubble of the brick & mortar business. While a few of today’s food trucks derived from a brick & mortar business, a great number of food truck owners have made the step up into establishing a brick & mortar business. Flying Pig Café, one such business that started from a food truck and still operates that food truck, now calls Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles their home. Flying Pig Café still serves many of the items from the truck that many fans will recognize, but they now also serve plated entrées, such as fried rice or Loco Moco, and alcoholic drinks such as wine and craft beer. Luckily, the fan favorite Pork Belly Buns still remains on this menu. They braise pork belly and place it on a steamed bao bun with red onion escabeche (similar to pickled red onions), pickled sesamé cucumbers, and death sauce, their signature spicy sauce. These ingredients work well to bring out the flavor of the pork belly, as the death sauce opens up your palate, while the tart veggies provide balance to the meat to support the savoriness. If, for some reason, you still have doubts about this, check out their Happy Hour that runs from 5pm to closing Monday through Thursday, where all customers can not only receive $4 beers (including Allagash Curieux!), but also order 2-for-1 buns, meaning TWO Pork Belly Buns for just $4! Come here much? Park in the Arts District a few blocks away, where the street meters only run until either 4pm or 6pm, depending on the street.

3. Hopscotch Tavern‘s Pork Belly Rillettes

As time marches on, things cannot remain the same forever. Over time, everything has to change as part of human nature. Our way to living has provided us with the necessary means to adapt to change and fit in to new lifestyles quickly, while those who take longer to adapt tend to suffer setbacks or misfortunes in some areas. Many people may swear by old standards and traditions, but eventually these traditions will meld with the present. This explains the need for some restaurants to change their menu every so often. While some simply employ a seasonal menu based on product availability, few others may completely overhaul their menu. Hopscotch Tavern in Downtown Fullerton recently completely redesigned their menu after roughly 7-8 months in business. With a half year’s worth of experience under the table, the crew at Hopscotch decided to carefully examine the menu and revamp everything. They did away with the previous Low & Slow moniker, and now serve up gastropub faire, such as fried duck, chilaquiles, blue crab tots, pig ears, and their new Pork Belly Rillettes. The Hopscotch crew concocts the rillettes with pulled pork belly, fills a mason jar with it, and tops it off with an apple & lemon salad. On the side, you receive toasted baguette slices and a scoop of Bacon Onion Jam. If you have never had rillettes before, you eat this like a spread – spread some of the jam on a baguette slice, then lather the pork belly on the slice. Pro Tip: spread everything on every slice prior to eating – this allows you to control how much each slice receives as well as attempt to balance the jam and the rillettes. If sharing this plate, inform your party of allocating the spread if you intend to do so, so they know that each slice will have similar amounts of the jam and rillettes. Looking for a craft beer pairing? Go for an IPA to cut through the saltiness of the rillettes. Personally, I usually order whatever they have on nitro. Truthfully, you cannot go wrong with whatever you order here. Despite a completely brand new menu, Hopscotch remains a true gem nestled in a town of club-goers.

2. Red Table Restaurant‘s Grilled Pork Belly

Thinking about marketing and public relations, who honestly uses it the most? What levels of business utilize strong marketing versus free marketing? Everybody can benefit from free marketing media, such as Facebook and Twitter – those only require time for research and generating content. Who would you say utilizes paid marketing? I can tell you right now that those at the top do not pay for marketing. Entities at the top already possess the best position, and thus do not need to market. Those at the bottom do not pay for marketing, as they cannot yet afford it. Those in the middle, or the second-best, will pay for marketing, as they already have a decent position in the industry, but need that extra boost to usurp the leading individual, group, or company. When you have a product or service so great that consumers constantly crave it, your consumers turn into your free marketing material, as they will market for you via word of mouth. Red Table Restaurant has come a long way with their worldly gastropub cuisine. Since their inception in 2011, Red Table has traveled a long way to get to the status that they sit at right now. Masked by a Trader Joe’s and tucked away behind the respective shopping center, Red Table needed something to get the word out about their strange location out to the general public. Needless to say, Chef Louie Jocson’s international epicurean experience has received international media attention, using just his unbelievable food to garner a solid following with the associated word of mouth that slips around from ear to ear. Although Red Table displays daily/weekly specials, their regular menu contains plenty of unforgettable dishes, such as their Grilled Pork Belly appetizer. This $9 plate comes with four thick slices of grilled pork belly with crispy skin, drenched in soy vinegar, and topped with pickled onions & herbs. A perfect portion for parties of two to four, each bite seems to get better than the last with the soy vinegar sauce building in intensity, not to mention the tartness from the pickled onions resetting the salty flavor from the combination of the pork belly and the sauce. For a craft beer pairing, you definitely want to go with an Imperial IPA if Red Table carries it; otherwise, go for a regular IPA. Feel daring about the pork belly? Red Table offers an entrée with pork belly – the Pork & Beans, which I will cover in a future post. Until then, get over to Red Table in West Huntington Beach, located behind Trader Joe’s once you find it. With its proximity to the beach, how can you not want to go to Red Table this summer?

1. Fickle Restaurant‘s Molasses Pork Belly

Three cheers for fresh faces, who we always welcome into the industry for bringing on new challenges and new ideas. Whenever faced with a new person, such as a new kid in school or a new co-worker, we welcome them for bringing on a new face to break monotony, plus any of their ideas and intellect that they can bring to the table. Although far from the hivemind concept, pooling together knowledge generally leads to improved outcomes for the setting, from the classroom to the workplace and further than that. New people will also face challenges adapting to the new setting, and will require time to acclimate with everything going on around. Sometimes, the new people will have to pair up and work together to solve problems and make progress. Other times, a sole new person will come up with multiple ideas, and will need to somehow combine them to work out for the greater good. So when building space opened up in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles, the genius behind Fickle Restaurant swooped in to claim the space. However, Fickle only came out as one of the many concepts for this space. In the end, travelers can now find two different businesses in the same space. By day, this place operates as The Sandwich Smith, of which I will review one of their sandwiches in a future post. At night, this space transforms into Fickle, a restaurant with a menu that can unpredictably change at any given time based on the chef’s whim. Whereas many other restaurants change their menu based on season and availability of ingredients, the folks at Fickle simply change the menu whenever they want, in addition to the available supply of ingredients. As such, customers can only truly find an accurate menu by visiting the restaurant to read a menu in person, as opposed to looking up their website, which they have not updated since late June. Luckily, Fickle does keep some of the fan favorites on the menu for a longer duration, such as their Molasses Pork Belly. They sear a giant slab of pork belly, and place it on top of charred savoy cabbage and pumpkin purée. They then sprinkle lime pepitas around the plate before drizzling a balsamic sauce around the plate. Pork belly lovers rejoice – you now can have your pork fat and eat it too! Very few places will serve a slab of pork belly this large, let alone for the reasonable price of $18. Good luck getting through this dish, as most ordinary people cannot get through half of this pork belly due to the overwhelming pork fat presence. If you can stomach it, you will taste this pork in your mouth for days, on a similar degree to foie gras. Got a hankering for craft beer? If you feel the need to tone down the intensity of this dish, order an IPA, which they usually carry on tap. If you want to intensify the pork flavor, order any Belgian beer, which Fickle currently carries in bottles. If you find yourself visiting often, note that you can likely park in the Arts District, located just a few blocks southeast from here, on the street for free, as the street parking meters stop running after 4pm or 6pm, depending on the street. Parking meters also do not go into effect on Sundays all day. Who knows when Fickle will decide to take this off their menu? Just like the definition of the word, this menu changes on a whim, so if you go in one time, do not expect to observe the same menu on your next visit.

As we embark on a new year, we look back on the previous year to learn and make progress for the upcoming year. Day by day, people live their lives, some by a set routine, others by thriving on new discoveries and expansions. The human race always seeks to progress culture by devising and adapting new approaches to existing methods. While not all humans share the same interests, all humans at least bear knowledge about food, as everyone has eaten food their entire lives. From the early days of basic meats, vegetables, and grains, food has evolved into a vast range of ingredients, tastes, cooking methods, and presentation. Innovative foods often make headlines as a new discovery, so as a result, many modern chefs tend to experiment more rather than stick to basics. Over time, many food trends surface, giving way to entrepreneurs to capitalize on those growing trends, such as cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and the recent gourmet food trucks trend. However, many food trends remain relatively undisturbed, known only to the true food fans. Last year saw a few food trends touched on, yet they still have not flourished. Read on to find out five food trends to pay attention to this year.

5. Duck Fat

320 Main‘s Duck Fat Fries

Ask any meat eater about their favorite meat, and nine times out of ten you will receive “Bacon” as the response. Those nine people also agree that the tenth person should shut up, but that argument belongs to someone else. Anyways, most people recognize that fried foods get fried in oil, which does not add much flavor to the end product, just the crunch. Most mass-produced food tend to use cheaper ingredients, like how many chain restaurants fry their fries in oil. When you start to step up the quality, you see the previously mass-produced foods getting prepared in small batches. Have you ever tried a small batch of fries fried in duck fat? Move over, bacon – duck fat fries carry tons more flavor, cooked right into each fry. Sure one can cook fries in bacon grease, but in addition to gaining more bad grease than flavor, does the fryer use high-quality bacon or store-bought bacon? Besides just fries, plenty of other foods can cook in duck fat. Duck carries more flavor and texture than chicken and turkey, as most ducks live in the wild. Always remember that wild meat almost always outperforms farm meat in every category.

4. The Influx of Gastropubs

Red Table‘s Loco Moco

When deciding on a place to go dine out, do you ask where to go, or do you get asked where to go? Traditionally, recommendations go along the line of cuisine type, such as Asian, Italian, Mexican, Sushi, and so forth. But when you ask someone where to eat (or vice versa), how often would you hear someone mention a gastropub? Until recently, nobody had even heard of the word gastropub. With the recent preference shift towards higher quality food, people started recognizing the significance of gastropubs in the restaurant circuit. If you have not heard of a gastropub, imagine a pub that serves craft beer and high-end food at reasonable prices. Because of how recent gastropubs started emerging, most gastropubs feature nontraditional dishes, preferring to think outside of the box they call a kitchen, and rambling up something crazy that works. Want to see pulled duck, cheese, and a fried egg over fries? Only at a gastropub. Want to see french toast, bacon, maple syrup, and peanut butter ice cream? Only at a gastropub. Want to see a bacon-wrapped meatloaf stuffed with a hard-boiled egg? Only at a gastropub. You can find amazing food at a gastropub that you most likely will not find anywhere else.

3. Cooking with Craft Beer

The Viking Truck‘s Wipeout IPA Lamb Sliders

The popularity of craft beer has soared over the past few years. While the same few fizzy yellow beers continue to dominate market share across the globe, as people get educated about craft beer, the preference shifts from cheap beer to quality beer. Like wine, craft beer pairs well with almost all food, especially meat. Also like wine, the color of the beer should pair with the meat; e.g. wheat or white ales should pair with poultry, and brown or amber ales should pair with red meat. Some crafty chefs have experimented with cooking with craft beer as well. Following the simple aforementioned pairing guide, chefs have churned out food made with craft beer, which dynamically alters the entire dish. Cooking with alcohol usually burns it all off, allowing minors to order the food, but the reduction process enhances the dish, modifying the flavor to something different than the beer. Do not see it as tasting like a mix of the two – see it as an entirely new dish. Once you eat something prepared with craft beer, you will understand what I mean.

2. Meat in Desserts

UMAMIcatessen‘s Foie Gras & Jelly Donut

How often does one end a meal with a component of the main course? When selecting dessert, people want something sweet, or perhaps a warm drink like coffee or tea. Would you ever expect to eat a dessert contained meat? To some people, they see meat as their choice of comfort food, and thus opt towards something meaty. But if those people ever found out about dessert with meat in it, I doubt I could keep them down for long. This food trend started over a decade ago, when some restaurants served dessert with bacon in or on it. Since people did not accept this change back then, it fell out of favor… until recently. When the good food revolution came about, all sorts of people wanted to explore the culinary world to find out what they had ever missed. One restaurant created a chocolate bar with bacon in it, which got them on the Food Network. Since then, multitudes of restaurants across the world have followed suit, attempting to build working desserts with meat in it. Today, bacon remains the most popular choice for meat in dessert. But with no real limits now, chefs can freely test ideas without getting scrutinized. Fancy some candied duck confit?

1. Crazy Burgers

2nd Floor‘s Sailor Jerry Burger

You cannot start cooking something without the foundation of the dish. Prior to cooking, one needs to know what to make. Will the customer eat food with a knife and fork, or with bare hands? Understanding the template changes the dish completely, and even after selecting the template, building the dish can go any way. With the recent surge of gastropubs, people now look at hamburgers as something gourmet instead of something cheap from fast food places. As a basic template, restaurants can freely throw whatever they want onto a patty and call it a hamburger. Would you like some peanut butter, jelly, bacon, and hot sauce on that burger? How about some pork belly and barbacoa beef? Have you have a burger with chicken and waffles on it? I have tried all of these, and will never stop searching for the ultimate burger. No limit exists in the creation of a hamburger, only that the chef or cook uses a meat (or meat substitute) patty. Erase any preconceived notions you may have about hamburgers. Forget about fast food chains or chain restaurants that will not cook your burger medium rare. You owe yourself a fine (medium rare) burger with toppings that synergize with the patty. Extravagant toppings make the burger look epic, but if they overpower the burger, then you ordered an open-faced sandwich.

Everybody eats out of necessity, and not always just for the luxury. Basic meals come and go, as they simply provide fuel to make it to the next meal. But do most people simply consume their food and continue with their day, or do they stop to enjoy the sweeter things in life? Ask yourself this: do you eat to live, or live to eat? Nobody can honestly consider after-meal desserts a necessity in life, even if they possess a sweet tooth. Despite this, nature causes all creatures to prefer sweets over anything else. Should you have dessert with every meal? Not always. Can you have dessert any time you want, regardless of other factors like time and weather? Of course! Despite the increasingly cold weather approaching, one should never sacrifice desserts for uncontrollable reasons. By that notion, continue reading to see five warm desserts in the Greater Los Angeles area that I highly recommend consuming to warm up this winter.

5. Sidecar Doughnuts‘ Rosemary Doughnut

To get the day started, people eat breakfast for that initial surge of nutrients and energy. What people eat for breakfast ranges from cereal to eggs to meat to burritos and other savory items. Some people eat desserts for breakfast, like Pop Tarts. Although most people do eat doughnuts for breakfast, the amount of sugar in doughnuts coupled with the lack of nutrients places doughnuts in the dessert category. Sidecar Doughnuts would like to flip that perception around with their unique approach to doughnuts. Breaking the barrier of traditional doughnuts, Sidecar opts to create doughnuts with ingredients people would never imagine can appear in or on a doughnut. If you do not believe me, order their Rosemary Doughnut to taste what I mean. Sidecar mixes rosemary into the doughnut batter as well as the frosting, giving off the strong rosemary scent before biting into the doughnut to discover the rosemary in the doughnut. Rosemary not your thing? Sidecar creates rotating doughnut flavors daily, so you will see something different everyday. Always try to eat the doughnut fresh to preserve the heat from cooking the doughnut.

4. K.C. Branaghan’s Irish Pub‘s Bread Pudding

Always take caution when businesses use declarative marketing phrases like “Best in the County” or “Family Recipe” because more often than not the business simply used that phrase to lure customers in. When you do finally find a legit claim, take it for all of its worth. When K.C. Branaghan’s mentioned a “family recipe” on the menu, I knew I had to order it to satisfy my skepticism. Unexpectedly, they brought out Bread Pudding instead of a main course. Most bread pudding I have tried resembled runny cafeteria food, so at first I did not believe that I had just received bread pudding. One bite into this bread pudding will leave you craving more. Topped with chocolate and caramel, this bread pudding comes out incredibly moist and creamy, almost resembling hot ice cream. Bread contains lots of air, but this bread pudding has such a dense consistency that I do not suggest taking big bites of this. For $8, this bread pudding can serve up to four people. Remember their daily specials so you can plan which day to visit K.C. Branaghan’s to order the bread pudding.

3. Sweet Wheels‘ Signature Beignets

Good things come in small packages, as many would tend to cause you to believe. When ordering dessert, customers should always pay attention to the portion size, as a sugar overload can cause short term queasiness. Luckily Sweet Wheels portions their treats just right. Sweet Wheels rolls around Los Angeles with their yummy sweets ready for all the sweet-toothed sharks out there. The offerings vary by the season, but their Signature Beignets (pronounced ben-YAYS) always remain on their menu. These warm & gooey small puffs contain a light custard lining on the inside, and powdered sugar on the outside. For as basic as it appears, pictures cannot accurately capture how soft and creamy the inside feels. Imagine a hot cake-ball or mochi ice cream to better understand the experience of eating one of Sweet Wheels’ Beignets. When Sweet Wheels rolls around to a stop near you, head over and get these Beignets, and possibly a cup of coffee to go with it!

2. Red Table‘s Red Table Cup Cake

Businesses in an unfavorable location need to rely on either heavy marketing or word of mouth to generate more business. If the business produces top-shelf items, word of mouth should definitely help immensely, as consumers will proudly tell others about their discovery. When I first heard about Red Table, I struggled to find its location. Once I located it and tried the food, I suggested this restaurant to everyone I knew so they could come here and try their Red Table Cup Cake themselves. This red cake in a cup (hence “Cup Cake”) gets topped with vanilla bean cream cheese; however, one does not simply order this for the cream – one orders this for the cake. Unlike standard red velvet cake, this cake has a savory kick to it. In fact, if you closed your eyes while eating this, you would swear that you just ate a sweet piece of meat, or perhaps something buttery. I promise you have not eaten anything else like this cake. Savory cake sounds perplexing, but Red Table makes this concept work. Like Chef Jocson says on Tuesdays here at Red Table: “Trust me.”

1. Los Angeles Brewing Company‘s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Size does not mean everything, yet size matters. Thinking about relative size, size can measure more than just physical mass – size can also measure quality, or even popularity. If you seek a restaurant that follows the concept “Go big or go home,” look no further than Los Angeles Brewing Company. This massive sports bar in Downtown Los Angeles sports 100 beers on tap, plus a kitchen full of amazing eats. Although I strongly recommend trying every food here, no other menu item deserves recognition more than their Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Extremely dense, moist, succulent, and sweet, customers should not underestimate its small stature. Served with a scoop of house-made vanilla ice cream, this cake can easily split up into four quarters to share. Believe me, one person should not attempt to eat this entire thing. A cake this extreme yet so scrumptious should never all fit into one person’s stomach – spread the joy and share this magnificent cake. No more words can explain this drop from heaven, so just get over to Los Angeles Brewing Company already and order the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

The Hamburger – a classic food that nearly everyone in the world has eaten. Since we were kids, we have all tried at least one variation of the hamburger. Because it is such a basic template of bun and meat, the hamburger is a canvas upon which professional and amateur chefs can create masterpieces; the only similar food that is more of a blank canvas is the sandwich. The hamburger can be made cheaply, or it can be made fit for a king.

For now, I am here to show you hamburgers that truly are fit for a king, without you needing to be rich like a king. Below are five hamburgers in the Los Angeles area that I recommend you order this Summer, either because it is only available for a limited time, or because it is that damn good.

5. Shortstop BBQ‘s Shortstop Burger

Brothers Andrew & Alex are masters when it comes to BBQ. Perhaps one of Orange County’s most underrated and best-kept secret, Shortstop BBQ is writing their legacy one page at a time. They have pooled together their best-selling BBQ meats into one product – the Shortstop Burger. This 1/2 pound smoked angus beef patty comes topped with house-cured & smoked pork belly, grilled onions (cut whole by default), cheddar, and their signature honey BBQ sauce, and comes with a side of frites (double-fried fries). The burger sounds like a typical Western-style Burger, but with quality ingredients like these, this is no ordinary BBQ burger! The burger patty seems to absorb all of the flavors of everything on top, and the pork belly is essentially thicker and fattier bacon. And this BBQ sauce… let me tell you truthfully, your taste buds will be frolicking in this sauce. This burger is available at their food truck that roams Orange County AND their restaurant in Fullerton/Placentia. The restaurant is set up as fast-food service, but there will be beer & wine served there very soon. You definitely need to keep an eye on them for updates!

4. Red Table‘s Belly Burger

This is truly a hidden gem, if not designed on purpose. Tucked away on the backside of a shopping center behind a Trader Joe’s, Red Table combines classic comfort food with worldly cuisine and techniques. The prices are reasonable, the food is exquisite, the beers are rare, and the specials are out of this world. One burger on their menu that will leave you wondering how to start this thing is the Belly Burger. This monstrous build comes with a ground steak patty, pork belly, pickled slaw, then drenched with “not so secret” sauce, which is still a mystery to me. One would look at this thing and immediately reach for a knife and fork. No no no – a burger is NEVER meant to be eaten with a knife & fork. Forego all things conventional, acquire some napkins, and dive in with your hands and gobble this burger up. Sure you will get messy, but the experience is part of the meal. If you can manage it, use only one hand to hoist the burger up, so you have a hand free to grab your beer glass. Trust me – you do not want to be seen either 1) not enjoying your beer while you snarf down that burger, or 2) drinking your beer with a straw (god forbid). Bring your friends here too so they can gaze in amazement while you devour the burger like the mammal that you are.

3. The Factory‘s Stout Burger

When you have a burger with beer in it, you know you are heading in the right direction. Leave it to the crafty folks at The Factory to figure this one out. This gastropub located in the heart of the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach is so far from the more popular areas of Long Beach that few have discovered this majestic burger. The Stout Burger is a 7oz grass-fed beef patty with sharp cheddar cheese, cabbage, caramelized onions, and stout sauce on a pretzel bun. The sauce uses whatever stout is on tap at The Factory, so the sauce will taste slightly different each time! At the time that I tried it, the sauce used Stone Brewery’s Imperial Russian Stout. I do not know how the onions are caramelized, because those onions were so soft they felt like Thai noodles. This burger pairs well with the many IPAs served here, as the owners are major hopheads and often feature a draft list of mostly hoppy beers. Keep in mind that on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, all food is 50% off after 8pm. There you go – a good reason to go to The Factory!

2. Slater’s 50/50‘s The ‘Merica

I have already posted about it, but this needs to be said again – GET THIS “BURGER” BEFORE IT IS GONE. This is Slater’s 50/50 we are talking about here – they do not mess around when it comes to reinventing fire. For the month of July only, you can obtain The ‘Merica at any Slater’s 50/50 location. This aporkalyptic burger is constructed with a patty that is 100% ground bacon (remember to take a breath), thick-cut bacon, bacon cheddar, “bacon island” dressing, and a fried egg, most likely fried in bacon fat. You have not lived until you have experienced a Bacon Foursome. If you really want to go that far, consider the egg may be fried in bacon fat, thus this becomes a Bacon Fivesome, and you are at the center of it all my friend! If you think this may be too salty or too high in cholesterol, fear not – the patty is not as salty as one may believe. In fact, I am willing to wager that the patty may be the leanest part of this burger sans the fried egg. You only have less than three weeks left to slaughter a pig, so hop to it!

1. Vizzi Truck‘s Bacon + Bacon Beef Burger

If there is one burger you must try this Summer before it is gone, I have the exact answer for you. Albeit I have already covered why this burger is so good, Vizzi Truck still needs a mention on this list. This Bacon + Bacon Beef Burger borrows concepts from two locally famous burgers to form this perfect creation. The patty is 50% beef and 50% bacon, then underneath that is a marmalade with even more bacon, dijon, and onions. This gets further topped with blue cheese mornay, arugula, and another layer of the marmalade. There is not much you can do to make this burger better than it already is – modifying it is a sacrilege, and anyone who dares modify this burger should 1) get slapped, and 2) be suggested a different item. If a person cannot enjoy the burger as it should be, it is better that person not enjoy it at all so that person does not get the wrong perception of the burger and attempt to explain the wrong flavor of it to another person. Worse yet, that person can blog about it! Perhaps I got carried away, but when it comes to burgers, Vizzi Truck has a winner, and you definitely need to seek out Vizzi Truck and eat this burger. Eat it like you have never eaten before.