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Rafael 'Ray' Vega, Casa Vega Mexican restaurant owner, dies

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • January 14, 2021
For decades, Rafael “Ray” Vega made the rounds in the brick-lined dining room of Casa Vega restaurant in Sherman Oaks, dressed sharply in a sweater vest with a name tag fastened to the front. “Hi, I’m Ray Vega and this is Casa Vega,” he would say....

Review: Where to find the best margaritas to-go in Orange County

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • January 14, 2021
Dry January has been canceled. We’ll try again next year. For now, it’s margaritas for everyone! Correct me if I’m wrong, but margaritas to-go might be the greatest innovation of the pandemic. I’ve taste-tested a lot of restaurant margaritas at...

What happens when a restaurant worker gets COVID-19?

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • January 13, 2021
On Nov. 1, Ashley and Tyler Wells were deep in rural Northern California, driving south, about 10 hours outside of Los Angeles. They were returning from a camping trip in the wilderness. Although the cell service was spotty, a call from one of the...

Best thing I ate: Descanso can’t sizzle, but this pozole is hot

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • January 13, 2021
While all restaurants have been forced to pivot dramatically in response to the pandemic, the restaurants making the biggest adjustments have been those whose entire concepts revolve around interactive dining. Restaurants, for example, like...

Baroo chef opens Shiku at Grand Central Market

Jenn Harris • Los Angeles Times • January 12, 2021
Shiku at Grand Central Market Anyone lucky enough to try Kwang Uh’s creamy pink noorook at Baroo, the much-lauded, profoundly innovative Korean restaurant he opened in a Hollywood strip mall in 2015, will be relieved to know the chef is back....

Maybe resolve to eat more takeout this January?

Bill Addison • Los Angeles Times • January 9, 2021
What to even say about this first week of 2021? My colleagues LZ Granderson and Gustavo Arellano express it clearly. Read (or reread) Michelle Obama’s words. As I vacillate between scrolling through apps and staring at the laptop and TV to process...

A Look Back at How 101 Coffee Shop Became Part of Movie History

Jared Cowan • Los Angeles Magazine • January 7, 2021
Today, a metal gate secures the door of the 101 Coffee Shop on Franklin Avenue in the Hollywood Hills. Graffiti is scrawled across the windows and a lonely, dusty jukebox stands in the corner begging to play another classic rock tune. The...

Review: Serious Italian cooking arrives in Westminster

Brad A. Johnson • Orange County Register • January 7, 2021
The smoked salmon tartine from Pastars in Westminster is one of those things that’ll drive you crazy as you admire its good looks and try to decide whether to eat it with your fingers or a knife and fork. I grab it with my hands and rush it toward...

The best L.A. Italian food from The Times' 101: 2020 edition

Bill Addison, Patricia Escárcega • Los Angeles Times • January 6, 2021
[It’s here: The Los Angeles Times’ 101 restaurants, dishes, people and ideas that define how we eat in 2020.] In good times and in bad, Italian food is there for you. Take comfort in this guide to Italian restaurants from The Times’ 101 list,...