FROM THIS EPISODE
The phrase “eating your young” implies a brutal and savage nature. Au contraire, says zoologist Bill Schutt. He’s studied cannibalism extensively in animals and humans and has found that it occurs much more commonly than we’d like to think. His new book is “Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History.” Squeamish listeners might want to turn down the volume for this segment; some of it might be disturbing.
OK, back to the realm of “Good Food.” You remember Tony Danza? He played a single dad, retired baseball player and housekeeper/boyfriend to Angela Bower on the 1980s TV sitcom, “Who’s the Boss?” Bet you didn’t know he now owns a cheese store in New York City. Alleva of Little Italy bills itself as the oldest cheese store in America, where they’ve been pulling and smoking their mozzarella in-house for 125 years. Now who’s the boss?
Next we return to our neck of the woods to sample hundreds of different cheeses. We wish! Seriously though, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills has 500 different kinds of cheeses for every occasion. The shop celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, so we stopped in for a visit with owner Norbert Wabnig to learn how he started there and get a taste of his top three recommendations. Can you guess which ones?
If cheese ain’t your thing, consider gravlax, lingonberry jam and cod roe squeezed from a tube atop a slice of crusty bread. That’s what's on offer at Olson’s Scandinavian Delicatessen on Pico Boulevard. The shop switched hands from one Olson to another after it first opened its doors in 1948. It’s now owned by Christian Kneedler, who took over the deli roughly three years ago. He’s carrying on the Olsons’ tradition and giving Angelenos a taste of home.
Syria has long been on our minds since the Arab Spring protests first erupted throughout the Middle East in 2011, and even more so now with President Trump’s recent travel bans. Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold closes out this week’s show in Van Nuys, where he tries Syrian-style kobee — that’s ground beef and pine nuts seasoned with traditional spices that owner Wafa Ghreir stuffs and fries in bulgur. But that’s not all. Fateh, mjadara and m saren — tender lamb sausages served in a cinnamony broth — are also on Jonathan’s list of things to try at Kobee Factory and Syrian Kitchen. Find out more from his LA Times review.
Nermeen and owner Wafa Ghreir. (Camellia Tse/KCRW)
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The Great Tortilla Tournament, nixtamalization, and Guerrilla Tacos Let’s talk tortillas! Gustavo Arellano announces KCRW’s first-ever Great Tortilla Tournament, to choose the best tortilla in LA out of a bracket of 64. Bill Esparza talks tortilla makers in the L.A. area. And did you know that inside your tortilla is an ancient process, perfected over centuries? Also, L.A. Taco’s Daniel Hernandez recalls a Guadalajara taco crawl with Jonathan Gold.
Joël Robuchon, restaurant lines, and Jonathan Gold on N.W.A. This week the world lost its most highly decorated chef, Joël Robuchon. Chef Ludo Lefebvre recalls lessons he learned at the hands of this master. We also revisit Evan Kleiman and Jonathan Gold’s 2014 visit to Robuchon’s Vegas restaurant. Jean Trinh investigates how some diners in LA can stand waiting two or more hours in line. Finally, we recall Jonathan Gold’s coverage of the influential rap group N.W.A.
Omega-3s, 'Downtime' with the Redzepis, and zucchini ice cream Paul Greenberg discusses what the Omega-3 boom means for our planet and lives. Nadine Redzepi talks about cooking for culinary giants like her husband Rene Redzepi in ‘Downtime.’ Crafting a menu takes more than exceptional produce, says writer Diana Henry. Also, a tour and history of LA’s pan dulce scene. Plus: ‘City of Gold’ director remembers Jonathan Gold’s 1992 piece on the LA riots.
Remembering Jonathan Gold (1960-2018) There’s a Jonathan Gold-sized hole in the heart of Los Angeles. The Pulitzer-winning LA Times food critic died on July 21, prompting an outpouring of grief and love from around the world. For this special tribute, we gathered the voices of colleagues, friends, chefs, and listeners to celebrate the man who taught us how to eat and live in LA. We dedicate this show to our former colleague of 20 years.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Why Gustavo is doing a Great Tortilla Tournament for KCRW It’s the perennial question: Corn or flour? We’re putting 64 Southern California tortillas head-to-head in our #MasaMadness bracket to see who will win the Golden Tortilla trophy. Gustavo Arellano fills us in on all the details. Read More
Joël Robuchon: My introduction to the refined world of luxury fine dining In 2014, Evan Kleiman took a road trip to Las Vegas with Jonathan Gold. The highlight of the trip by far was an opulent dinner at Joël Robuchon in the MGM Grand: the most luxurious meal she had ever experienced up until that point. In honor of the legendary French chef Joël Robuchon who passed away this week, we’re resharing Evan’s 2014 reflection on that unforgettable meal. Read More