Photo: Chef Niki Nakayama of n/naka (Zen Sekizawa)
FROM THIS EPISODE
This time last year, it's possible you did not know the names Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida. Then the dynamic duo's restaurant, n/naka, was featured in the first season of Chef's Table on Netflix. On the show, chef Nakayama and sous chef Iida walk the audience through their take on kaiseki, a formal 13-course Japanese meal prepared with careful attention to ingredients and technique.
Hear Nakayama give us the scoop on n/naka's big plans to push the envelope on local sourcing and learn how Chef's Table changed her life forever. Find n/naka's recipe for tuna poké on the Good Food blog.
Music: "A Small Escape" (Instrumental) by Fly By Pony and "Back It Up" (Instrumental) by Caro Emerald
In the natural world, we depend on birds and bees to carry pollen from tree to tree to create new seeds of life. When two trees share the same species or genus, horticulturalists cross them to produce hybrid varieties that arguably yield deeper flavors and more robust physical features than the original breeds. That's how the pluot was born. When botanist Floyd Zaiger famously crossed a plum with a plumcot — a plumcot being a 50-50 hybrid of plum and apricot — a succulent fruit that looks like a plum but tastes of apricot was born. Zaiger called it a “pluot.”
If you're in Santa Monica on a Wednesday or Sunday, stop by the Murray Family Farms' stand and taste the pluots. Farmer Sean Murray will walk you through the farm's 16 varieties and the fruit's family tree. Luke LA pastry chef Joy Cuevas likes pluots in her cobblers because they retain their vibrant hues even after they're baked. Find her recipe on the Good Food blog.
Music: "Bird of Paradise" by Fly By Pony
Jonathan Gold is no stranger to Sichuan cuisine. Now it's time to add another restaurant to the list: Meizhou Dongpo in the Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia. Jonathan recommends the crispy Beijing duck that is carved before your eyes, the violently sputtering scarlet mapo tofu and the fish floating in a sea of chiles. The restaurant's interior space is grand too, one that, in his words, could swallow all three locations of Chengdu Taste and still have space for the banquet rooms at the back.
400 South Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
Music: "A Night Like This" by Caro Emerald and "Book of the Month" by Lovage
Kansas City, the Carolinas and Memphis have all got their own styles of barbecue. Then there's Texas. The Lone Star State has at least four kinds of 'Q all by itself, says Robb Walsh, three-time James Beard Award-winner and member of Foodways Texas. He breaks down the styles for us, and clues us into why BBQ is eaten on Juneteenth and how Upton Sinclair's The Jungle changed the lives of pit masters everywhere. A second edition of his Legends of Texas Barbecue bible is available wherever books are sold.
Music: "Texas Flood" by Stevie Ray Vaughn
LA Beer Week kicks off this Saturday. The seven-day celebration of all things malty and hoppy moved us to ask Jolie Myers to fill us in on the latest trends in beer. Myers is the managing producer of KCRW's Press Play and covers the local beer scene for LA Magazine.
Music: "Groove Holmes" by Beastie Boys
Fans of vegan food can get their fix this Saturday in Pasadena at the Vegan Beer and Food Festival. Clara Polito is one of dozens of vendors selling their goods at the fest this year. But her story is unique. Polito became a vegan when she was just a tween. Seeing a void in the vegan dessert market, she started baking. Now, at the ripe old age of 19, she sells her vegan "inception" cookies, Elvis cake and cannoli around town and online as Clara Cakes.
Music: "Hög Luft (Fujasaki remix)" by Familjen and "Solomon Jones" by RJD2
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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.
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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