Restaurant Nights; Solar Dehydrator; Summer Brews; Burgers & Fries; Ice Cream; Gastro Bistros

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Laura Avery spoke to Alex Weiser about his beautiful first melons. On Sunday, July 31, Alex is hosting a Slow Food Dinner at Weiser Family Farms in Tehachapi.

Laura also stopped by Flora Bella Organics and spoke with James Birch about his big stalks of fresh garbanzo beans. He also had some terrific bite sized plums.

With figs also in the market, Laura briefly mentions the Breba crop.

Lesley Balla, dining editor from, spoke with us about her new food blog, and gave a round-up of special restaurant events around town. She spoke about Nancy Silverton-s Mozzarella Mondays at Jar, No Corkage Fee Night at Josie Restauant, Be a Kid Again Night at Luna Park where you can draw with crayons and eat comfort food, and Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante-s Ravioli night.

Emily Chou, an industrial arts student at Pasadena City College and Art Center College of Design, had the assignment to build a solar-powered cooking device. She and two other students, Nathan Cooke and Daniel Talamante built a prototype for a solar-powered food dehydrator and found an application in a 14-acre community garden project in Vernon. The dehydrator would give the gardeners the option to increase their seasonal yield from about 20 pounds per unit to about 30 pounds per unit. To find out more, including how to help with the funding they need, contact the students at or at

Sang Yoon from Father-s Office stopped by to tell us what beers would be good at our summer barbecues. He said wheat beers with a citrus-y flavor are good by the pool (try Great White by Lost Coast, but that smoky beers pair well with grilled food. He mentioned Craftsman Smoked Black Lager, a German Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock, and a Hop Rod Rye from the Bear Republic in Healsburg, California.

Jonathan Gold visits Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa in Rosemead (9016 Mission Drive, 626-286-3370) to eat Vietnamese meatballs. He says "nem, (are) dense grilled meatballs that you wrap into neat rice-paper bundles with fresh herbs, marinated carrots and various greens before dunking them into bowls of sweetened fish sauce." He also recommends the bun bo hue, Vietnamese noodle soup, and banh beo chen, slippery rice cakes.

John T. Edge, Director of the at the University of Mississippi, whetted our appetite for hamburgers and French fries. His book, Hamburgers and Fries: An American Story, has a chapter "Black Book of Burgers" which includes the regional burgers he loves best. He mentioned Chronis Famous Sandwich Shop (323-728-7806) at 5825 Whittier Boulevard in LA. John shares this recipe with us.

Onion Entangled Griddle Burgers
Serves 6

  • 1 pound ground beef chuck (beef shoulder)
  • 2 onions, shaved (use a mandolin or a very sharp knife to make the thinnest possible slices)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 slices American cheese
  • 6 buns
  • Mustard
  1. Heat a heavy, well-oiled skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Loosely gather a handful of meat and slip it into the pan. Repeat a total of 6 times, working in batches as needed. The burgers should be free-form lumps.
  2. With the side of a spatula, push the burgers into a semblance of a round. After about a minute, pile on the onions, add half the salt, and then, with as much force as you can manage, smash the onions into the meat. Again, work the sides of the patties into a round. Cook another minute and then flip. Smash the burgers again, hard.
  3. Drain some of the grease that collects. Sprinkle on the remaining salt. Arrange the cheese on top and cook until the cheese melts and you smell the onions starting to burn.
  4. Serve on mustard-garnished buns.

Dr. Bob Small, Dean of the Collins School of Hospitality at Cal Poly, is the creator of Dr. Bob-s Ice Cream. He has moved the production of his high end hand-crafted ice creams to the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. You can find his Dark Chocolate, Really Dark Chocolate (for chocolate purists), Strawberry Sour Cream and Brown Sugar, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, The Works (with chocolate chips and chocolate nibs), and Black Raspberry Chip (one of the most popular fruit-based flavors) online or at Gelson-s, Surfas, Bristol Farms and San Vicente Foods.

Itinerant chef Louisa Chu, who writes the award-winning food blog Movable Feast, tells us about -temporary- restaurants in France. She calls these restaurants Gastro Bistros.