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Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

Shook and Dotolo, Playing with Balls at Animal

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Los Angeles as a city of indulgence. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Riding the Gravy Train at Animal

The night we visited Animal, the meat-centric Los Angeles restaurant from chef-owners Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, there were about nine different creatures represented on the menu. But we started with a salad, just to see how vegetables were prepared here. We weren't disappointed. A big old pile of lettuce tossed with creamy sumac dressing, chunks of feta, and beets showed up, and we demolished it. READ MORE

Crispy Pig Ears at Lazy Ox Canteen

Everybody says you should order off the chalkboard specials at Lazy Ox Canteen, a small-plates restaurant with a decidedly meaty bent in downtown LA. But if you did that, you wouldn't get to try their best dish: pig ears with a mayonnaise-y dippin' sauce. The pig ears are deep-fried, salty, and lime-y, like chicharrones, and have a gristly, fatty texture you either love or hate: crisp, buttery, and chewy, all at the same time. Cut into strips, they were perfect for sharing, with a glass of crisp Scrimshaw pilsner. READ MORE

Carl’s Jr. and the Case of the Half-Assed Foot-Long

The headline: "Carl’s Jr. testing foot-long cheeseburger." Testing what, you might ask? In the land of the chronically fat and recklessly unwise, how could a one-foot-long burger fail to delight?

But the OC Register's food columnist wasn't particularly impressed by the massive new heart-stopping treat, which is being tested in limited locations:

READ MORE

The Perfect Al Pastor Truck

After years of Chowhound longing, could this be the al pastor truck we've all been looking for? Bandini thinks Leo's Taco Truck might serve the best al pastor in Los Angeles. "They cut the pork right on to the tortilla and then top it with pineapple. Most places cut it from the spit and then grill it."

mdpilam agrees: This truck is the new king. "You can actually taste the smoky, porkiness to it, and the thin pineapple slice adds just a slight crunch of sweetness in the middle bite(s) that just puts it over the top," says mdpilam. "This is going to be my new regular go-to truck."

"It is the best pastor I have had in Los Angeles," avows TravelPath.

The truck appears at the corner of La Brea and Venice most days around 4:30 in the afternoon, though the guys working the truck told one hound that their hours are Sunday to Tuesday 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Leo's Taco Truck [Culver City]
Corner of La Brea and Venice
No phone available

Discuss: New Taco Truck at corner of La Brea and Venice

The Fragrance of Burnt Miso Ramen

Ramen Mottainai is a new ramen place with an utterly distinct style. They do kogashi miso ramen, a.k.a. burnt miso. For this dish, the miso paste is charred, giving the soup a lovely and particular fragrance, says rameniac.

They also do an utterly authentic shoyu tonkotsu ramen, done in the tradition of a proper Yokohama ie-kei shop, says rameniac. "The noodles are thicker and more substantial than I've had at any of the other ramen-yas in the area. The soup had visible flecks of pork fat floating in it and was nice and rich," says huaqiao.

There are a lot of new ramen places cropping up, but Ramen Mottainai is totally legit, says rameniac.

Ramen Mottainai [South Bay]
1630 W. Redondo Beach Boulevard #9, Gardena
310-538-3250

Discuss: new (good) ramen shop alert: RAMEN MOTTAINAI in gardena (nano-review)

Shabu-Shabu with Extra DIY

You may not believe in shabu-shabu. After all, you're paying to go out to boil your own meat. But Shabu Shabu Bar has upped the ante with an extra level of DIY: "They provide a mortar and pestle for you to grind your own goma (sesame seed sauce). Call it silly, call it stupid, call it counter intuitive. It's the same reason why people do 1000 piece puzzles or climb Everest: just so they can say they did," explains elmomonster.

"Anyway, the grind-your-own-goma bit is just for show," continues elmomonster. "No matter how much elbow grease you put into it, the seeds will never turn into a paste. Instead, the waitress (who will pity your efforts) will pour in the real sauce from a bottle and then amp it up with garlic, scallions and a dash of chili oil. She'll do the same for the ponzu if you let her."

To throw in an extra level of hard-core, get the $50 Yokozuna Platter, which is at least 40 slices of rib-eye. "Only when it arrived did I realize what we had we gotten ourselves into! Sure, most of it was air, but this was sliced beef formidably stacked into a literal meat mountain, looking much like those giant paper-mâché volcanos kids make for their grade school science projects," says elmomonster. The stuff is light and wispy: tissue-thin slices of rib-eye.

It's delicious, but it might kill you.

For more on shabu-shabu, see last week's post on Shabu Shabu House.

Shabu Shabu Bar [Orange County]
1945 E. 17th Street, Santa Ana
714-954-0332

Discuss: Shabu Shabu Bar – Santa Ana – A Review With VIDEO

LA, We Love You, But We Have Some Questions

We've had a few days to hang in LA—an incredibly fun town, for the record—but we do have a few bones to pick. READ MORE

Overheard on the Los Angeles Board

"Sergio has moved again!! He is now located at the Mariscos Chente on Imperial Highway in Inglewood. He will be there seven days a week for a while." – westsidegal, tracking the movements of Mariscos Chente's master chef

"I ordered what I can only describe as creamed chicken, but so much better. Creamy, deliciousness with shredded chicken, atop boiled potatoes that were thickly sliced and rice." – WildSwede on Mamita Peruvian Restaurant

"The Banana Cream Pie ice cream is killer. Smooth, real banana flavor, and lovely chunks of pie crust." – DrBruin on Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt

Senator Schumer Protests “Alcopop”

It's Joe Camel all over again.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, is asking the Federal Trade Commission to delve into the marketing practices of various caffeinated beverage companies, claiming they're marketed specifically to kids and encouraging underage drinking, reports the NY Daily News.

What's alcopop? A portmanteau of alcohol and pop that describes a flavored alcoholic beverage (think Smirnoff Ice)—but certain brands are really going above and beyond to get our little ones excited about pounding down their weight in alcohol. READ MORE