California Food Journalism and News 2020 [SF Bay Area, Los Angeles and the rest of California]

His technique and the substance of his shows were unique, creating a style that today’s youtube vloggers could learn from. His long, uncut video takes were masterfully orchestrated and made for fast editing. The way he moved around the bar at Noreaga’s in the video is pure genius particularly the girl singing the Basque song accompanied by the accordion player. I’m looking for a long article about him that I read somewhere in the LA press but haven’t found it yet.

Edited to add:

I found the long article about Huell in LA Magazine from 2003, ten years before he passed away -

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It looks like Wool Growers and Pyrenees Cafe, in that same East Bakersfield neighborhood, are still going.


Any interest in a new mobile application that allows Users to share their ratings on individual menu items at a restaurant?

WADJU is designed to enable a user to review a stored restaurant menu such that the average ratings of each menu item is displayed. Easy to see what is most, average and least popular. Every User generates their own “WAJDU THINK” page. The name and rating for every item a user submits are stored so friends or followers can see what that person liked or did not like. If you’re worried about people lying or rating items inaccurately, for any menu, you can apply a filter so that you only see the average ratings of the users you want to consider (friends, critics, members of a group etc.).

This is all brand new and we are interested to hear what the real fans of food think about having this advanced tool.

Wadju can be found at:


Here are some Bay Area and California James Beard Foundation Award Nominees

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award
“Le Colonial Is an Orientalist Specter”; “The Ultimate Chaat Truck Crawl”; “The Fantasy — and Reality — of Dining at Chez Panisse”
Soleil Ho
San Francisco Chronicle

Audio Reporting
California Foodways – The Curious Second Life of a Prather Ranch Cow: Biomedical Research; Trans Man Finds – and Creates – Refuge in His Family’s Small-Town Cafe; Legalizing Cannabis Impacts Food, Farming in Humboldt
Reporter: Lisa Morehouse
Airs on: KQED, California Foodways, iTunes, Google Play, Radio Public, SoundCloud, and Stitcher


Roy Choi
Broken Bread with Roy Choi
Airs on: Tastemade and KCET

2020 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards

Power Rankings: “The Official Fast Food French Fry Power Rankings”; “The Official Spicy Snack Power Rankings”; “The Official Domestic Beer Power Rankings”
Lucas Kwan Peterson
Los Angeles Times

Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication

“An Indigenous Community in Mexico Finds Its Voice — and Strength — in Wild Mushrooms”
Michael Snyder
Los Angeles Times

2020 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant

Los Angeles

Santa Monica, CA

San Francisco

Outstanding Baker
Avery Ruzicka
Manresa Bread
Los Gatos, CA

Outstanding Bar Program

Trick Dog
San Francisco

Outstanding Chef

David Kinch
Los Gatos, CA

Corey Lee
San Francisco

Outstanding Hospitality

San Francisco

Swan Oyster Depot
San Francisco

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Lincoln Carson
Bon Temps
Los Angeles

Juan Contreras
Atelier Crenn
San Francisco

Margarita Manzke
Los Angeles

Outstanding Restaurant

San Francisco

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer

Cathy Corison
Corison Winery
St. Helena, CA

Lance Winters
St. George Spirits
Alameda, CA

Rising Star Chef

Gaby Maeda
State Bird Provisions
San Francisco

Jon Yao
Los Angeles

Best Chef: California

Jeremy Fox
Birdie G’s
Santa Monica, CA

Brandon Jew
Mister Jiu’s
San Francisco

Jessica Koslow
Los Angeles

Mourad Lahlou
San Francisco

Joshua Skenes
San Francisco

Pim Techamuanvivit
Kin Khao
San Francisco


John Birdsall has a new website -


from TASTE:

John Birdsall is an award-winning freelance writer whose byline has appeared in Lucky Peach, Bon Appétit, Eater, Food & Wine, Edible San Francisco, and more. He’s working on a new biography of James Beard, The Man Who Ate Too Much, to be published by W.W. Norton and Co. He lives in Oakland, California.

John Birdsall’s new website:


52-minute audio of discussion on SF Bay Area radio station KQED-FM with host Michael Krasny on Monday, May 11, 2020 including guests Luke Tsai, Chris Pastena, Javier Cabral and others -


Luke Tsai, editor, Eater SF

Chris Pastena, owner, Chop Bar, Tribune Tavern and Calavera

Laurie Thomas, executive director, Golden Gate Restaurant Association

Javier Cabral, editor, L.A. Taco; associate producer, Taco Chronicles

David Nayfeld, co-owner and executive chef, Che Fico

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John Birdsall describes his first cooking job at Greens in Fort Mason, San Francisco in 1984:

All I knew was that Greens made delicious vegetarian food, and that it was an oddball place to work, a kitchen where silence and an odd primness ruled. I thought I’d stay long enough to learn how to make balanced vinaigrettes and extravagantly flavorful soups without meat stocks, then graduate to some better, shinier kitchen. I didn’t realize I was being grounded in something else: a way of cooking not literally about soups or dressings. In three years of cooking, I learned to cultivate a sense of quietude in the kitchen, or at least resist distraction, or at least notice how my brain wanders; to know that distraction is the enemy of cooking.

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‘I come here every day for a reason’ — this short film highlights the essential role of grocery store workers

A deep sense of community service drives the staff of West Oakland’s Community Foods Market.

by Sarah Han in Berkeleyside Nosh:

For “Essential,” a new film for Nosh by Berkeley-based, independent production company Pedal Born Pictures, filmmakers Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner wanted to introduce viewers to a few of the essential workers who work at Community Foods Market (3105 San Pablo Ave., Oakland), a full-service grocery store that opened a year ago to serve West Oakland residents living in the McClymonds, Hoover-Foster and Clawson neighborhoods.

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Luke Tsai in SF Eater today:

Alicia Wong runs the Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory — a 60-year-old company that now specializes in custom fortune cookies — along with her parents and her husband, Alex Issvoran. Wong immigrated from China when she was a kid, but like Phung, she grew up in Oakland — and, in fact, attended elementary and middle schools that were predominantly Black. Wong says that background gives her a “dual perspective” that’s neither fully Chinese nor fully American. In that way, she says that she understands why a lot of the older Chinatown community members have a hard time supporting the protests: They might not speak much English, and so their interactions with the Black community are limited. “Everything they see is from the news,” Wong says.

from youtube:

Contact Viet Pham: or on IG @therecessroom To sign up / more info: This weekly food drive focuses on elderly Vietnamese people now, but hopes to expand to other communities in the future. SUBSCRIBE now for MORE Videos: JOIN to support the channel & for exclusives: Like: Facebook: Follow: Instagram and Snapchat @KyleLeDotNet -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About Me: I’m Kyle Le and these are the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the foods I’ve eaten, and the many things that I’ve seen…Originally from Southern California, I moved to Saigon, Vietnam after university and lived there for many years. Then, I traveled the world finding and documenting stories of Vietnamese people living outside of the homeland. Then I finished my master’s at USC and now… well… you’re going to have to follow and watch to find out! ----------------------------------------­----------------------- Like: Facebook: Follow: Instagram and Snapchat @KyleLeDotNet Original Music by Antti Luode. Filmed with a Panasonic G9, 12-60mm, 14-140mm 15mm Audio from a Rode Micro / Rode Link Dji Spark from

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For a meal unlike any other, we start in a Richmond warehouse for a multi-course, farm-to-table communal dining experience at Anaviv’s Table. Then, tucked away in an El Cerrito stripmall, Larb Thai Food & Tapas concocts traditional Issan-style delicacies that are hard to find in the Bay Area. For our final course, we head to Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco’s historic Chinatown, where chef Brandon Jew celebrates Chinese cuisine with seasonal California ingredients and upscale sensibilities.


Is that a recent episode?

It aired for the first time tonight, June 18, on KQED-TV but it looks llke it was filmed a few months ago, at least.

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Los Angeles vlogger Daze with Jordan the Lion visits Casa Vega on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks to show the settings used for several scenes in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Casa Vega has been a fixture in the San Fernando Valley for over 60 years and serves classic Mexican comfort food with its famous margaritas.

The cozy ambience and authentic Mexican food continue to entice the famous. Al Pacino and George Clooney are regulars – as are the Spielbergs, Hankses and Kardashians. Singer Gwen Stefani recently named “Vega” (as regulars call it) one of her “favorite spots in L.A.”

Last March Casa Vega owner Christina Vega announced that the restaurant would close indefinitely due to the coronavirus shutdown but as is shown in the Jordan the Lion youtube video, above, they are still doing takeout food and margaritas in Mason jars.

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A world without restaurants. Sho Kamio, owner and head chef of Iyasare in Berkeley, can’t seem to shake it. The thought flits around his head like flies circling a rotten apple.

“I’m scared of the future, of people getting used to this curbside and delivery world we’re in,” Kamio said. “I’m scared of people not going to restaurants anymore.”

Iyasare’s total revenue is down 90%, even with healthy curbside pickup sales. The restaurant’s struggle is symptomatic of one of the industry’s more pressing issues — COVID-19 has turned traditional elevated dining experiences obsolete.

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Peter Meehan, food editor of the Los Angeles Times , issued an apology and announced he’ll step down from that role after a litany of allegations against him hit Twitter on Monday. The grievances include claims that he engaged in conduct that was seen as insensitive toward women and people of color, verbally abused employees, and allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct while at Lucky Peach, a magazine he co-founded with David Chang before joining the Times. One tweet also claimed that he failed to highlight stories that centered or thoughtfully treated diverse chefs or cuisines.

Huh, I wonder if that’s why Lucky Peach closed down as well