Best Burrito in LA, Meats in Milk and Raw Cheeses

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Los Angeles Public Library Literary Odyssey Dinners
Dinners with Great Writers in Los Angeles' Most Gracious Homes.
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The LA Weekly Best of LA edition is on stands now. It's co-author, Jonathan Gold, spoke about:
Best Butcher: Alexander Meats, located in the back of Howie's Market. 6580 N San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, 626-286-8871.

Best Coffeeshop to Write a Screenplay: House of Pies, 1869 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 323-666-9961.

Best Burrito: Lupe's #2 4642 E Third St. Los Angeles 323-266-6881

Best Calves Intestines: El Gallo Giro, 7148 Pacific Blvd, Huntington Beach 323-585-4433

Best Boba Drink: Freskol, 979 S Glendora Ave, West Covina 626-338-5883 In the same mall, find Penang Malaysian restaurant has the best roti canai to eat.

Best Jellies: King Kelly Orange Marmalade and Wild Plum Jam

Best Ice Cream: Dr. Bob's Available at Surfas, 8825 National Blvd, Culver City 310-559-4770

Best Mojito: Xiomara, 69 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, 626-796-2520.

Emily Green is a staff writer for the LA Times Food Section. She spoke about raw milk cheeses.

Mark Bittman is the author of the best-selling How to Cook Everything, published by MacMillan and The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, published by Broadway Books. His weekly Minimalist column appears every Wednesday in the New York Times Food Section.

Pork (or Chicken) Stewed in Coconut Milk
Time: at least 2 hours
Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola
  • 2 to 3 lbs boneless pork butt or shoulder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 1 or 2 small chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced, or dried chilies, or to taste
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 or 3 cans unsweetened coconut milk, or as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce) or soy sauce, or to taste
  • Juice of a lime, or more to taste

1. Put oil in a large deep skillet or casserole that can later be covered; turn heat to medium-high. Brown pork on all sides, turning as necessary and adjusting heat so the meat browns but does not burn. This will take about 20 minutes. Season it with a little salt and pepper.

2. When the pork is just about browned, add shallots, chilies and ginger; brown a bit, then add about 2 cups coconut milk and the nam pla. Bring to boil, cover, and adjust heat for a steady simmer. Cook, turning occasionally, for at least 90 minutes, or until the pork is tender; add additional coconut milk if mixture dries out.

3. When the pork is tender, remove to a platter. Stir lime juice into sauce; taste, and adjust seasoning, adding more chili, nam pla or lime juice as necessary. Carve meat, and serve it with sauce.

Variations: For chicken stewed in coconut milk, use 4 chicken leg quarters in place of the pork. Brown in 4 tablespoons oil, on skin side first, then turn over. Cook for a couple of minutes more, then proceed as in Step 2, leaving lid askew so liquid reduces more quickly. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

For chicken (or pork) in milk, use half butter and half olive oil. Substitute garlic for shallots; omit chilies, ginger, nam pla and lime, but add 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or sage leaves. Substitute whole or 2 percent milk for coconut milk. Cooking times are about the same.

Cold Cut Beef Shank

Makes 8 servings

Time: about 4 hours, largely unattended

  • 2 lbs boneless beef shank or brisket
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice or white wine
  • 3 scallions, trimmed
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (or 2 cloves, 5 coriander seeds, and a cinnamon stick)
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. Put all of the ingredients except the cilantro in a large saucepan with a lid. Add just enough water to cover the beef, about 1 1/2 cups. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 4 hours, adding more water if necessary. The meat is done when very, very tender.

2. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the braising liquid (reserve the liquid), and let it cool to room temperature; cover and refrigerate until it is cold. Strain the reserved liquid and refrigerate.

3. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut the beef into 1/4-inch slices, across the grain. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with the braising liquid as a dipping sauce.

Richard Sanford is the owner of Sanford Winery, 7250 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton, California 93427; 805-688-3300. Open daily 11am-4pm