It’s high spring in Southern California and I’ve been eating it like this: running around town for tacos and burgers, going to my favorite farmers markets for fresh berry and mushroom flowers, and clawing at restaurants for late dinners while the sun sets. undergoes the clock on. The pandemic is not over yet, but the period of intense caution to get together in person has abated. Find me at a local dive school or brewery (where I’ll still reach for an IPA despite it being an object of ridicule at the moment). Vaccinated and confident, I feel rejuvenated every time I bump into a new or familiar elbow, and restaurants and bars are so often the perfect place to do so. I consider it a part of my health and well-being.
I am Daniel Hernandez, recently minted Food editor here at The Times. Critic Bill Addison is on a well-deserved vacation. In the meantime, me and other staff writers on your LA Times Food team will join in.
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Allow me to introduce myself: I’m drinking this green juice every day, will solemnly swear by pulqueand my favorite meal of the day is breakfast.
A breakfast burrito with chorizo or machaca wrapped in a borderland flour tortilla, ideally from San Ysidro, is tasty. I am too enormous famous (among my breakfast guests) for my sliced cactus and mushroom omelettes, with lots of garlic and topped with crumbled queso fresco. Or, on those hasty mornings, will I admit to heating up a takeaway white pizza and putting a soft fried egg on it, then pounding the thing with red chili flakes — and maybe a drizzle of olive oil?
In short, I am a practical home cook with not much free time but a few signatures at home. Like many of our readers, I assume. And while I didn’t grow up in the food industry, I’m a journalist who likes to be around food so food can tell us the stories about ourselves that need to be heard. It’s an atmosphere we built in LA Taco. food is pleasurebut it’s also possible setback† Working in restaurants can create joy and, just as generous, woe†
Eat your way through LA
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My first month on the job was a whirlwind. I am amazed to see how the Food team actually works.
Their job – to always be around food – is often characterized as ‘glamorous’, but that belies the reality. To have the latest information on what restaurants and chefs are doing in the expanse of Los Angeles County and its neighbors, your dinner writers and columnists – Addison, Stephanie Breijo, Jenn Harris and Lucas Kwan Peterson – must be there, racking up miles and braving SoCal highways, day after day, trying food everywhere, often chased around town by our chief food photographer, Mariah Tauger†
Many of their meals, as you might imagine, are not always good.
In our other branch of reporting, cooking, columnist Ben Mims and writer Julie Giuffrida are gathering ingredients and trying out recipes in their kitchen over and over to get them just right. The amount of necessities and basic necessities like oils and flour they have to endure on their own baffles the mind. It’s worth reminding our readers how intense this work is, for everyone involved – writers, photographers, editors and designers. I’ve tried to keep up. And honestly, it’s a lot.
But I’m always up for a tough challenge. So is the team, of course. I am humbled by the kind words of welcome, readers of Food. My job is to publish stories about what we eat. So I’m always curious how you think we can improve or expand our coverage of food in The Times. Reach out! And Health†
Here are notable stories of the week:
— Breijo reports on the death of Yening “Lupe” Liang, the co-founder of Hop Woo on Broadway in LA’s Chinatown. Liang and his wife and partner, Judy Liang, are credited with being the first to make their menus trilingual: Chinese, English, and Spanish. The couple finally met in Rosarito, Baja California.
— There is a new “tiendita” in the Grove of Alma Cocina de Mexico, Breijo reports in her column This week LA Restaurants will also release an exciting pan-Asian dinette in Long Beach.
Charcuterie plates or “adult lunches” are fun to stare at, Mims writes, but dinner snacks are a real thing, as these recipes from Lukas Volger show.
– Cinco de Mayo deserves some absolution – as an excuse to cook real Mexican food, Giuffrida notes in her weekly compilation of recipes from The Times archive.
— Mother’s Day is also coming. Giuffrida has you covered.
— What to eat now? There’s a writer for that: This week Harris tells us about the fascinating focaccia bread ice cream at Antico Nuovo on Beverly, and more.