Bisontini at the Brown Hotel, Our Drink of the Week!

Photo by The Mexican
A Mexican, down at the Brown

Anyone who reads this column is a serious drinker, so anyone who reads this column should make at least one pilgrimage to Kentucky and its many bourbon distilleries. And if you're going to take the plunge, start in Louisville and stay at the historic Brown Hotel. It's where the horsey set stays during the Kentucky Derby, and its bourbon offerings are as encyclopedic as a Cheesecake Factory menu. Their cocktails have improved over the years and change with the seasons. But the one constant is dessert: the Bisontini.

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There Is No Honor Without Pie: KCRW's Good Food Pie Contest Is Oct. 4

"when come back, bring pie."
The sun is out, the weather is hot, and the heat is on: the seventh annual KCRW Good Food Pie Contest is Oct. 4 at UCLA's Fowler Museum. The winner this year gets a fancy KitchenAid stand mixer with a heated bowl (side note: BRB going to Surfas), but everyone who attends wins: the participants are asked to make two pies, one of which is to be distributed to the public.

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Dispatch from the Heirloom Seed Exposition: The Dirt on Seeds

Photos by Media Chica
What a pyramid!

By Julie Lee

For five years in a row, the Heirloom Seed Exposition has been held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. The Expo, which occupies all but one of the fairground's buildings, has grown in size each year, bringing together seed producers, seed growers, seed bankers, heirloom livestock breeders, homesteaders, pure food activists and vendors from across the country. Few other events bring together as many overall-wearing folks as this one.

Using Sonoma County as a location gives the advantage of pulling its visitors not only from California's agriculturally-rich Central Valley, but also from a surprising number of individuals who have roots in Orange County and the surrounding Southland, where health food and leading healthy lifestyles are embedded into the culture.

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Las Vegas' 10 Best Restaurants (And Drinks) Off The Strip

Dave Lieberman
Get off the Strip already!
I'm not a big fan of the Vegas Strip. It's always full of people desperately trying to have a good time, whether they're weekenders in Los Angeles' largest, most remote suburb or there for a spectacularly poorly thought-out family vacation. The Strip is where decency goes to die surrounded by fawning club managers wielding $300 bottles of $30 vodka, cocktail waitresses with their breasts hinched up to chin-rest height, and bachelor parties puking all over themselves. It sucks, and it's not my idea of a vacation. The restaurants, too, are sad: semi-franchised outposts of the greatest hits back home, where celebrity chefs consult on the menu and then return once every six months to wave their hands in the kitchen and make ranting noises. It's the kind of place where restaurant reviews pay as much or more attention to the physical beauty of the waitresses than they do the food.

Fortunately, though, there's much more to Vegas than the Strip. Your blackjack dealer, cocktail waitress, outlet mall clerk, buffet line cook and whore escort have to live somewhere, and I guarantee you they're not eating $200 steaks at fancy casino restaurants and drinking in host bars every time they go out. There's a whole city out there, one with a burgeoning eating culture. There's a "Chinatown" two minutes off the Strip that's got just about every Asian cuisine you could want; there are breweries and beer bars and cocktail bars and taco joints, just like any other major city. Bonus: they're almost completely full of locals, so prices are extremely reasonable and quality is high, since they rely on repeat business.

There are dozens of spots, but here are ten spots to get you started and leave some jangle in your pocket for gas money for the long slog home on the 15.

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Judgmental Expat East Coaster Visits California Dunkin' Donuts, Whines About His Experience

Dave Lieberman
Look, ma, no line!

I'll admit it. I was one of those breathless hype monsters who posted with glee about the impending opening of Dunkin' Donuts in California. I grew up in New Jersey; Dunkin' coffee flowed through my veins so early and so often it probably stunted my growth. To this day, the thought of a Dunkin' Donuts French cruller makes me salivate.

I tracked their every move. I even allowed their PR company to rip off my post about how to order coffee. I literally couldn't wait--and then a friend of mine sent me updates about the line at the first location in Santa Monica that included the words "hundreds" and "hours" and "blocks". I couldn't drag myself all the way to the People's Republic of Santa Monica to fight for parking and wait hours and hours for a doughnut and coffee.

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Just in Time for Sunday, 3 Denver and Seattle Food Specialties to Try

Photo by Marshall Astor
Yayyy partyyy

This Sunday, I'll be at my friend's house watching two teams that aren't the San Francisco 49ers play in the big game. It's going to be horrible. Between the fact that I used to live in Seattle (and the Seahawks used to buy ads in my paper) and the fact that they knocked my team out of the running (also, division rivals and everything), who am I supposed to pull for? Bruno Mars? The Red Hot Chili Peppers? The weather?

All I know is, it's going to be a really long day, and all I'm going to have to keep me company is beer and food (and a whole mess of people).

At least I'm in Orange County, because we'll have the barbecue going, and I'm going to have my pick of everything from carne asada, to thit nuong and regular ol' burgers. If I were in Seattle? Or Denver? Well...

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Out-Of-County Experience: Rajdhani in Artesia's Little India

Edwin Goei
This weekend was Diwali, and for Gujaratis, the holiday also represents the new year. A few Gujarati co-workers described it as their Thanksgiving and Christmas all wrapped up in one. The multi-day festival consists of celebration, prayer, and lots and lots of food. When I asked them about the latter, specifically where I could eat without having to barge in on a Gujarati household during one of their most important religious holidays, they pointed me to Rajdhani, one of the few true Gujarati eateries in our area, which exists just a click beyond the Orange County line in Artesia's Little India.

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The Original Ramen Burger Coming To Torrance This Saturday!

Remember the ramen burger? The one that one GoRamen blogger and chef, Keizo Shimamoto, debuted in New York at a a thing called Smorgasburd and then immediately went viral? The one that everyone has been calling the next cronut ever since?

Well, it's coming to Southern California, like, this weekend, like, seriously! Shimamoto is serving it at the Torrance Mitsuwa on Saturday. But he's only making 500 of them.

You might be thinking to yourself right about now that Torrance is quite a schlep from OC. You might be thinking why didn't the dude, who is an OC boy originally, decide on the Costa Mesa Mitsuwa instead. Well, if you're going to wait hours in line for this thing, the drive to Torrance is the least of your worries.

Here's the announcement in Shimamoto's own words:

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BIG Opportunity: Help Make The World's Largest Cup Of Boba Tea

626 Night Market
Add this to the list of things to do before you die: Help make the world's largest cup of boba tea.

The opportunity is here! Folks from 626 Night Market, the massive Los Angeles-based food fest inspired by the epic night markets of Asia, plan to create a record-breaking boba drink to be unveiled at a future event. Why? Because it's boba, the beloved beverage anchored by slimy, chewy tapioca balls that can only slurped through a massive colored straw.

The cup will be big. HUGE. Here are the states, according to the Kickstarter page:

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Dishcrawl Launches Downtown Long Beach Event + Exclusive Chef Leak

For the voracious foodie, indecisive eater and social butterfly alike, Dishcrawl is for the first time spreading its bar-crawl-for-food concept to the eclectic restaurants of downtown Long Beach.

On March 12, Dishcrawl reps will escort ticketholders to four locations across downtown's dining and entertainment district where they will spend three hours sampling specialty dishes, exploring menus and even meeting the chefs themselves. The participating restaurants and chefs are usually kept secret until that day, but Dishcrawl gave us one of the names and told us we could leak it to you early!

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