Seafood, on the grill and in Sichuan cooking

on Jul8

Welcome to a very hot July weekend, when temperatures are threatening to hit triple digits in much of the Los Angeles area. Maybe head to the farmers market when it just opens, then get somewhere cool. That might be your kitchen, where you could sample the figs that are now in season, or try some of our easy recipes for grilled fish, or one of our top recipes for June. Maybe leave the baking for when it cools off, assuming that happens anytime soon.

That cool place might be on a brewery patio, or in a restaurant in Monterey Park, where Jonathan Gold checks in on the Sichuan restaurant Hip Hot, this week’s review. If you’re farther west, we have a Scouting Report on a new place in Sawtelle that serves build-your-own instant ramen bowls (you can get them with foie gras, of all things). Regardless, drink a lot of water along with those pints of Berliner weisse and plates of chile-spiked Dungeness crab.

— Amy Scattergood


Dungeness crab served at Hip Hot in Monterey Park.

Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Dungeness crab served at Hip Hot in Monterey Park.

Dungeness crab served at Hip Hot in Monterey Park. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The Sichuan restaurant scene in the San Gabriel Valley continues to flourish. Jonathan Gold visits Hip Hot in Monterey Park, where chef Tiantian Qiu is focusing on chile-spiked seafood dishes. Jonathan considers the cooking, the ambiance, the Go games in the tables, and the impressive procession of dishes — green bean jelly, chicken wing dry pot, water-boiled fish and a Dungeness crab doused with chiles and Sichuan peppercorns.


While Americans tend to grill steak and burgers, Evan Kleiman, food writer and longtime host of KCRW’s “Good Food,” says that Italians often favor grilling seafood, especially when it’s paired with charred slabs of bread. Her recipe for seafood bruschetta is a how-to on easy summer grilling. “When your instrument is simplicity, you become attuned to each note,” she writes. So, fish and bread, plus ripe tomatoes, herbs, very good olive oil — perfect ingredients for a hot July weekend.


A selection of beers served at Ladyface Ale Companie.

Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

A selection of beers served at Ladyface Ale Companie.

A selection of beers served at Ladyface Ale Companie. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Beer writer John Verive heads outdoors with his pints, finding five L.A.-area breweries, brewpubs and cafes where you can drink outside — legally, and often with some pretty great food to match with your brew. Appreciate some craft beer while you sit under the sky, maybe with your dog — a few of these places allow them — or a game of darts.


A pan of lasagna from the new Secret Lasagna restaurant in Chinatown, opening July 19.

Wyatt Conlon

A pan of lasagna from the new Secret Lasagna restaurant in Chinatown, opening July 19.

A pan of lasagna from the new Secret Lasagna restaurant in Chinatown, opening July 19. (Wyatt Conlon)

In her weekly restaurant news column, Deputy Food Editor Jenn Harris gets details on a new lasagna restaurant — more specifically, a little walk-up window where you can get the stuff by the slice or the tray, open late in Chinatown. (Why is it secret? Because the word is as much of a hook as “lasagna,” isn’t it?) There’s also a new sushi restaurant in Encino — an omakase speakeasy, also two very good words, from the folks who brought you Scratch Bar & Kitchen.


Cielito Lindo's avocado sauce.

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Cielito Lindo’s avocado sauce.

Cielito Lindo’s avocado sauce. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Love the taquitos at Cielito Lindo on Olvera Street? Reader Jim Toomey from Reseda does, as do a lot of the rest of us — and particularly the avocado sauce that comes with the dish. So Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter got the recipe as part of her ongoing Culinary SOS column. (Is there a recipe from a favorite restaurant that you’ve always wanted? Ask us and we’ll see if we can get it for you.)

Goldbot: You can now talk to Jonathan Gold any time you want — or at least the robot version of him that lives on Facebook Messenger. You can ask Goldbot for a personal restaurant recommendation based on location, type of food or price. The bot will also deliver Jonathan’s latest reviews straight to your device.

The Daily Meal, the food and drink website under the editorial direction of Colman Andrews, is now one of our partners. Check out its 101 best pizzas in America and other stories, recipes and videos.

Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers and now features his 2016 Best Restaurants. If you didn’t get a copy of the booklet, you can order one online here.

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