The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Sotto’s Steve Samson: 5 Great Bites in Los Angeles

There’s an impressive new crop of Italian restaurants in LA: Bucato, The Factory Kitchen, Maccheroni Republic, Bestia—they’re the leading edge of a pastakrieg. But through it all, Sotto has remained one of the better options for Southern Italian rustic, serving hearty ragus and Neapolitan pizzas and securing its hold on best lists by LA Weekly and Jonathan Gold. Chef Steve Samson of LA's Sotto recently gave us the scoop on his favorite local comfort food destinations (not counting those summertime family meals with Mom and Grandma on trips to Italy). READ MORE

8 Restaurant Brands That Rose From the Dead

In early July, Crumbs Bakeshop filed for Chapter 11, only to announce less than two months later that it would be reopening 28 of its 49 locations. If such a sudden turnaround seems shocking, consider how many other prominent chains have been through the ringer and back. Here are eight restaurant brands that have returned from the dead. READ MORE

9 Kids’ Lunches Better Than PB&J

The sandwich is so 2013. Get your kids excited about lunch all over again with these nine high-flavor, low-stress options. READ MORE

Smoke City’s Michael Gans: 4 Great Bites Near LA

A series about LA chefs and the off-night food they love.

Not too many places are holier for barbecue aficionados than Lockhart, Texas, a 30-minute drive south from Austin. It’s representative of a style commonly referred to as Hill Country Barbecue. The area annually draws 250,000 visitors intent on experiencing the primal methods of pit-smoked meats. Time-honored establishments like Smitty’s and Kreuz duke it out just like the Giants and Dodgers (in barbecue as in baseball, opinions never settle). This particular brand of barbecue developed out of butcher shops operated by Czech and German settlers in the mid-1800s. Meat is served on butcher paper, with a side of raw onion, white bread, and pickles. Asking for sauce or utensils is practically an insult. READ MORE

Eating Outside the Bubble

After the difficult events in Ferguson, there's been a slate of stories in national media about how de facto segregation still rules life for most of us 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education. Our kids, most of them, go to school with other kids who look just like them, even though the United States has never been more racially diverse. READ MORE

One-Dish Wonders: 9 Ridiculous Single-Item Food Slingers

Although Crumbs Bake Shop announced it’d be closing all its stores in July, investors swooped in at the last minute and announced more than half the cupcake chain’s locations would reopen beginning in September. READ MORE

Kyochon’s Korean Fried Chicken Bowl Needs Fleshing Out

Los Angeles’s fried chicken landscape is indeed a diverse one: classic Southern, Indonesian, Chinese, and yes, Korean. You can find that last one at places like OB Bear, The Prince, Dan Sung Sa, and KyoChon, a South Korean chain that serves made-to-order, double-fried chicken wings known for their crispiness. READ MORE

Gluten-Free Is the New Normal

It’s been a year of seesawing fortunes for the gluten-free movement. It’s endured rolled eyes and snark, but it’s also earned respect. Chefs, cookbook authors, and magazine editors are touting gluten-free, or GF, as an everyday option—not as a weirdly textured and tasteless diet of denial, but as food that’s absolutely fabulous, on its own terms. READ MORE

Beer Belly’s Wes Lieberher: 5 Great Bites in Los Angeles

Wes Lieberher runs the kitchens at the gastropub Beer Belly and its Philly-centric cousin, Whiz, both in LA's Koreatown. We asked him to school us on his cheap-eat finds in the City of Angels. READ MORE

That Time Anthony Bourdain Scared Kids with the Gay, and I Laughed

In 2009 I got an email, kind of tentative in tone, from a TV production company, asking if I knew a lot about taco trucks in Oakland. I did—I'd spent a month that year eating from 40 of them. Through all the reticence to say exactly what the show was, I could tell they were talking about No Reservations. They copped to it: Anthony Bourdain was coming to San Francisco to tape a show, and he’d make a detour across the bridge to Oakland. READ MORE