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Wine expert Ian Blackburn sips and swirls his way around LA's finest wine shops. Lesley Balla picnics on gourmet take-out and sources local food restaurants. Food critic Jonathan Gold on the best bacon dishes. And find out what's in season in this week's Market Report.

Banner image: colorful, crisp salad from Joan's on Third

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Guest Interview Good Food Sweepstakes 1 MIN


Subscribe to KCRW during Good Food and you could win the elegant, Italian-made FrancisFrancis X1 espresso machine in Ferrari red and three months of free espresso coffee with free delivery, courtesy of Intelligentsia Coffee.

This sweepstake is only available this Saturday, August 11 during Good Food. Subscribe now at 800-600-KCRW to win this beautifully crafted espresso maker.

As a bonus, if you subscribe during Good Food, we'll send you the Gold Standard 2007, a year's worth of recommendations from Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold.

Guest Interview The Market Report 7 MIN


Laura Avery talks with Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms about Ogen melons. Developed  in an Israeli kibbutz, the intensely fragrant Ogen has a sweet, green flesh with yellow netting and bright green stripes on the outside. Alex harvests all his melons dead ripe, so he recommends refrigerating them if they aren't eaten right away.


Paul Thurston of McGrath Farms shows Laura his fresh shell beans. Reacquaint yourself with deliciously light lima beans. To peel the pods, just twist and the pods snap out. McGrath Farms is also harvesting Tongue of Fire and Mexican red beans, both are red in color and remain red after cooking. Also look for black turtle beans (earthy flavor) and cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans (nutty flavor). For a quick and easy cold bean salad, boil them  in salted water for 10 to 12 minutes.

Guest Interview Bacon Dishes 7 MIN


Jonathan Gold seeks out the best bacon dishes around town.

He recommends:

  • Hunan ham (bacon) stir-fried with hot peppers at Chuan Xiang Tower (227 W Valley Blvd #118A, 626-293-8653) in San Gabriel
  • house-cured guanciale (hog jowls cooked Roman-style) at Vincenti in Brentwood
  • sweet, thick and juicy Nueske bacon at Square One
    in Silver Lake
  • "pig candy" (bacon baked in brown sugar) at Lou in Hollywood
  • bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Parmesan cheese at A.O.C. in Los Angeles
Guest Interview Gourmet Take-out 7 MIN


Don't feel like firing up the kitchen stove or serving the same, plain picnic stand-bys? Lesley Balla, editor of food blog Eater LA, leads us on a gourmet take-out adventure in search of fresh, seasonal and locally sourced food. For those hot summer nights when no one feels like cooking or impromptu picnics at the Hollywood Bowl, Lesley suggests:

  • Clementine - antipasti, roasted chicken with lemon and thyme, pasta, dips served with crostini and crudites, butterscotch brownies, and Hollywood Bowl picnic baskets
  • Joan's on Third - salads, meats, Korean short ribs, and vegetarian selections (call in advance to order a picnic for the Bowl)
  • Lemon Moon - salads, burgers, panini sandwiches (only open for breakfast and lunch)
  • The Little Door and Little Next Door - carrot and apple salad with cilantro, green lentil salad with butternut squash and olives, pates, terrines, cheeses and organic breads
  • Square One - all locally sourced food and artisanal products
  • Wilshire - chef/parter Christopher Blobaum's very "green" restaurant in design, waste management and locally source food
  • Grace & BLD - both owned by chef Neal Fraser; new tasting menu with products and seasonal ingredients from within 400 miles of restaurants.  Grace (pronounced "gras") provides sophisticated dining, whereas, BLD is a casual cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Canele - communal table; rustic bistro food, simply prepared and seasonal
Guest Interview Wine Shops 7 MIN


Wine connoisseur and founder of Learn About Wine, Ian Blackburn, sniffs, swirls and sips the finest wines and wine shops in LA.

For wines:

  • 2005 Burgundy -  An excellent year for both red and white wines. Whites or Chardonnays average $16 - $25; reds and Pinot Noir $25 - $35
  • 2005 Syrah California - Syrahs coming out of Santa Barbara are big in flavor, but improve with age. $40-$60; He recommends VIE and Kosta Browne
  • Rose - Red Car makes a great bottle, as do Linne Calodo and Tablas Creek. A high-end rose should not be more than $15

For wine shops:

  • K & L Wine Merchants, Hollywood - great rare vintage wines and classic producers, specialize in Italian specialty imports
  • Woodland Hills Wine Company - good for mega-collectors
  • Wine House, West LA (right off the 405 Freeway) - huge selection, knowledgeable staff
  • Du Vine Wine & Spirits, West Hollywood - great neighborhood store, specializing in French, Italian and Spanish wines
  • Silver Lake Wine - hip neighborhood wine store with good selections of smaller producers; great place for tastings and to meet fellow wine lovers
  • Colorado Wine Company, Eagle Rock - great neighborhood store, regular and special events tastings and fun service
  • Wine Expo, Santa Monica (2933 Santa Monica Blvd, 310-828-4428) - most diverse and eclectic collection of wines, specializing in Champagnes and unique Italian wines

Ian is starting LAW school (Learn About Wine school), a credentialed program in which you must pass the "bar" to get your JWE (Junior Wine Executive) credential. Coming soon at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica.

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