Saturday Morning News Bites, First Edition

The romantic reader in me loves the idea of pouring over an actual newspaper while sitting in a beautiful, sunlit breakfast nook. I’m sipping coffee from a floral mug, and the coffee/cream/sugar ratio is just right. The birds outside flit by the window and twitter charmingly.

In reality, I usually consume news in a window-hopping frenzy on my laptop while seated at our dining room table. There is no coffee beside me (no coffee machine, either), but there is a room-temperature glass of water (I have to be mindful not to knock it over and kill the laptop– I did that recently). There’s also a cute baby jumping furiously in nearby a jumper, though the rhymes coming from the speakers aren’t exactly charming.

Romantic? Maybe not. Home? Definitely.

Here are five bits of LA news from the week that are worth a glance this fine, spring morn (and I hope you’re sitting right where you want to be):

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Photo of CicLAvia at Mid-City hub

1. Twist Eatery on La Brea plans to open mid-May, and this sneak peek of the menu looks darn good.

2. Bars in California will not be allowed to serve drinks until 4 a.m. (and though my big partying days are numbered, I was hoping this would pass. It would make LA feel a bit more like New York).

3. Los Angeles Historic State Park will undergo a major renovation in 2014. We could use more green space in the city, so I hope a large expanse of grass is in the works.

4.CicLAvia was a huge success last Sunday, and 2014 calendars are already out as the city plans for next year’s iteration of the event (the route will again be DTLA to the ocean, but both sides of Venice may be blocked off next time). I hope I get to see the two-story bike with my own eyes. Holy cow! Have you seen this insane video?

5. Besha Rodell over at LA Weekly posted this great piece awhile back, a 3rd grader’s story on Voltaggio’s Ink. This week Rodell and said student are at it again, but this time he’s singing the praises of The Hart & The Hunter. Future food writer, obvi.

Did you stumble upon any other exciting news this week? Share it in the comments! 🙂

A Foodie Day Trip With Two Pit Stops

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Photo of olives by Dan Shouse via Creative Commons

The weather gods are showing us their good side lately, and all this sunshine is making me daydream of possible quick trips to take with the fam. Our travels often revolve around food as much as sights, but in the case of this day trip, they’re one in the same.

I recently read about Graber Olive House while doing online research for Chow— the husband is such an olive fanatic (he will eat a whole can of black olives as a dinner appetizer) that I immediately got excited. An olive house?! That might even put a spring in that homebody’s step.

Graber Olive House is nearly 120 years old, and it’s basically an old-school (and still-running) olive operation from start to finish: orchards, curing tubs, size sorters, and canning machinery all in one spot. Their big press point is that all of their olives are tree-ripened, unlike so many of the fruits we eat nowadays that are picked long before they’re ripe so that they can age as they travel across oceans and continents. The argument is that tree-ripened produce tastes better, and lots of people think Graber olives are a prime example of this (of course they’re pricier to boot).

I also learned from their website that those canned olives we all played with on our fingertips as kids are oxidized to that deep and consistent black color. Unoxidized olives (like those cured at Graber Olive House) won’t all be the same color, but rather an array of red, green, and tan shades. Kinda cool!

The house is just 40 miles away from LA in Ontario, so it makes for an easy day trip. You can email to set up a tour of the entire grounds any time of year, but it sounds like fall is the best time. There are also various gift shops full of fancy food items. 315 E. Fourth Street, Ontario; 800-996-5483

Stop number two: The Donut Man, a stand on Route 66 that’s just 18 miles from Graber. I haven’t had one of these delicious looking treats myself, but from what I hear they are some of the best donuts in So Cal, and fresh strawberry donuts are available all of spring! 915 E Rte 66, Glendora; 626-335-9111

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Photo of Donut Man strawberry donut by Space Pirate Queen via Creative Commons

Seriously?! Take a look at this crazy photo menu. If that doesn’t get you drooling in about five seconds, you must be a robot.

The road is calling me to the Inland Empire.

2 Reasons to Plan A Weekend Visit to Mateo Street

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Downtown LA is full of surprises, and most recent one to jump out at me is the Handsome Coffee Roasters and Egg Slut partnership on Mateo Street. The Egg Slut truck roves around a bit, but you can consistently find it at the curb outside of HR Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. One of the only food trucks that focuses on eggy breakfast concoctions, Egg Slut had me at “breakfast sandwich.” I grew up on junk food, and the Egg McMuffin was high on my list of favorite drive-thru eats.

As a grown person and a Los Angeles food addict, I do understand that the McMuffin is no match for any of the delicious a.m. options in L.A. I love the griddle cakes from Salt’s Cure, the cheap two-egg breakfast plate at Nick’s Coffee Shop, and the pork belly hash bowl at Sycamore Kitchen. But they now have some competition IMHO, because my new favorite breakfast is any sandwich from the Egg Slut truck, paired with a strong-as-a-Hulk-Hogan drip coffee from HR.

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Of course I ordered the sandwich that most closely resembles my favorite McD’s sammy: bun, sausage patty, fried egg, cheese, and aioli (top left photo). DAMN good, and clearly capable of blowing it’s fast food predecessor out of the water. Friends had a similar sandwich but loaded with bacon instead of sausage (top right photo).

There are a million and one reasons to drive to DTLA, but here’s another one for all the McMuffin lovers out there.