Photo credits: Bill Branson, National Cancer Institute, via Wikimedia Common
FROM THIS EPISODE
All month, we’ve been talking about how food is having its moment on the screen, from TV shows set in restaurants to Netflix specials featuring the world’s top chefs. We close out our Food on the Screen series with a look at the NBC reality TV show “The Biggest Loser.” Some shocking findings from the New York Times revealed that most of the contestants on Season 8 regained much, if not all, the weight they lost. Some are even heavier now than they were at the start of the season.
To hear why dieting is a zero sum game, we called neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt. Her new book is Why Diets Make Us Fat. While we’re on the subject, download This American Life’s “Tell Me I’m Fat” episode if you haven’t already. What you hear might shock you...
Music: "Cool, Not Cold" by Shawn Lee
Last week, we talked to Chef Niki Nakayama about how the Netflix series “Chef’s Table” changed her life forever. When Season 1 started streaming she could not take reservations at her restaurant n/naka fast enough. Now we turn to another chef about to take the same ride. Adeline Grattard runs yam’Tcha in Paris and will be featured on the next season of Chef’s Table, along with three other French chefs: Alain Passard, Michele Troisgros and Alexandre Couillon. Hear Grattard’s take on being filmed for the upcoming season which will be unveiled in September.
Music: "Fall All The Way" by Captain Planet
There’s no shortage of restaurants in our fair city offering up great Vietnamese food and frosty pints of beer. Button Mash in Echo Park is upping the ante with an arcade of old school video games. (Sorry dear listeners, no producing “Good Food” this week. We are all tipsy on the east side from tofu balls and beer, mashing buttons and chasing ice cream and cherries with Charley Chuck and Ms. Pac-Man.)
We have the owners of Button Mash — Jordan Weiss and Gabriel Fowlkes — to thank for this little trip down memory lane. Chefs Nguyen and Thi Tran are responsible for the menu. (Maybe you’ve sampled their food at Starry Kitchen in its various iterations around town.) In between games of Galaga, Frogger and Space Invaders at Button Mash, Jonathan Gold recommends the tofu balls — vegan! green! deep fried! — along with the popiah, the bun cha ha noi and the almond tofu. He also digs the tangy tamarind chicken wings; find the recipe on the Good Food blog.
You can read Jonathan’s full Button Mash review on the LA Times website. Text the words “Good Food” to 69866 to get more of his weekly restaurant recommendations.
Although we mostly obsess on this show over the many and myriad kinds of food eaten by humans, some of you living in the big city might be curious about what coyotes are eating. Maybe you’ve seen these wily predators skulking the streets at dusk and dawn. In some parts of the country, including right here in LA, the drought has brought them out of the mountains and canyons and onto our blocks in search of food and water. Avishay Artsy, producer of “DnA: Design and Architecture” on KCRW, has the scoop on a new National Park Service survey aimed at better understanding what coyotes eat — from BBQ chicken and food wrappers to dog food and other animals.
Music: "Funky Lumpini" by The Upsessions
For Chef Ken Takayama, the beginning of summer means a trip to the farmers market to buy squash blossoms for the menu at Mélisse. He fits the delicate squash blossoms around soft-boiled eggs as part of an elaborate ratatouille dish served there. Takayama schools Laura Avery on how to construct this architectural marvel on the plate, while farmer Casi Richie shares tips for how to choose the best vibrant orange blossoms. Find the Mélisse recipe for ratatouille with squash blossom-stuffed eggs on the Good Food blog.
Music: "Let's Get Together" by EarthRise SoundSystem
Earlier this month, Tacolandia celebrated “all things taco” by inviting 100 plus vendors from around the world to dish up their best fare to adoring fans in Downtown LA. One of the festival judges this year was Gustavo Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly and host of KCRW’s Orange County Line. He ate 31 tacos and is here to tell the tale of the best ones he ate at the fest.
Music: "Mockingbird" by Jonah Tolchin
The Brooklyn festival Smorgasburg has spawned several food innovations, including the Ramen Burger where crunchy noodles take the place of the bun. Now the weekend food and crafts festival has made its way west, to the Alameda Produce Market in Downtown LA. Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch is the market manager and shares his shortlist of the best eats at Smorgasburg LA. The market is free and open for business each Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
Music: "Radio Love (Instrumental)" by Player Piano
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