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...such as only two rolls of sushi.
Flickr/perke

Here’s a study that belongs in a Malcolm Gladwell book. Researchers found that when people were presented with chocolate, popcorn or hand cream (please don’t eat hand cream), they sampled less off red plates than off any other color. Wait a minute. Is this the “one, weird trick” that helps you cut down a bit of your belly every day? I reached out to Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, about why red could have this de-appetizing affect:

Since red is usually associated with “danger and prohibition” (Think parking signs – and then remember to move your car), this might have tipped off the samplers to curb their sampling.

Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave, offered Squid Ink another possibility. “Certain colors are also generally more appetizing than others: reds and greens are more appealing, for example, than blues and purples, which are rarely found in natural foods.”

It’s possible that by making the plate more appetizing, the products appeared less so.

Should you chuck the good china? Read the full article for why that might be a bad idea.

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Hipcooks class

After realizing I was living next to the Best Thai grocery store in Los Angeles, I decided it was time to make use of it. Scouring the net, I found the Hipcooks “Thai Two On” cooking class (Their most popular class was “Thai One On,” but after cringing every time I read the name, I just couldn’t do it). Luckily class seemed geared toward culinary idiots like myself, so I grabbed my friend Rosey, we strapped on our aprons and wrong-turned our way downtown. (Rosey is definitely the name of the girl you want to put an apron on and take to a cooking class with you. If you don’t have a friend named Rosey, Suzy, Judy, or possibly Joyce will do).

What did I learn? I learned how to make my roommate uncomfortable by filling my pantry full of bottles of fish sauce, galangal spice, and a massive block of tamarind, all of which I have little plan but the best intentions for. So far, everything tastes great in eggs. (Except the tamarind, which I’ve been pulling apart and eating raw). But really, you should read the article on LA Weekly where you might learn a bit about the class rather than a bit about my avant-garde home eating habits. Really, I’m ahead of my time.

  A few classmates pretend they're okay with using their pinky fingers to taste things.
A couple of my classmates pretend they’re okay with using their pinky fingers to taste things.

Since spices are so prominent in Thai cooking, we spent a lot of time slaving over a massive mortar and pestles to grind up the raw ingredients, looking like an army of miniature apron-wearing Gandalfs. The food turned out delicious:

By far the best dish was the Chiang Mai sausage skewers, ground pork patties seared into compact, little sausage shapes. Another highlight was the Thai me up! rum cocktail, a bright, creamy concoction of mint, coconut milk, ginger beer and a secret weapon, vanilla bean paste, more raw and flavorful than vanilla extract.

Chiang Mai "sausage" skewers
Chiang Mai “sausage” skewers. Just look at that sear. Look at it.

Really, I was blown away by those little sausage guys. The sear provided a delightful crunch which lent itself to a fatty, complex flavor reminiscent of salty-sweet potato chips. Check out the full article for more details on the class, as well as a recipe for a rum drink so good you won’t even mind that it’s called “Thai Me Up! rum cocktail.”

 LA Weekly – “Hipcooks: Where to Make Friends, and Cook For Them (Recipe)”

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Pork chop with apple slaw and polenta.Pork chop with apple slaw and creamy polenta.

The Beverly Garland hotel is going under the knife, doing a 20 million dollar renovation and reemerging as “The Garland” this May. It’ll be newly redesigned, featuring retro and colorful decor and an all new restaurant by Chef Warren, previously of Westside Tavern. The hotel wants to get the menu right, though, so in the interim, they’ve set up Warren’s Blackboard, a modest but upscale restaurant that changes their menu twice a week through a patriotically democratic process. Choose your own adventure! I wrote about it for LA Weekly:

Warren’s Blackboard blackboard is updated a couple times a week based on customer’s wishes. With your bill, you’re handed a feedback card reminiscent of something you’d see at a family restaurant chain: “How would you rate our service? What dishes were your favorite? Is there anything you would change about your dining experience?” The difference from say, Red Robin, is that Warren’s Blackboard listens.

So far, because of the “winning” feedback, displayed like award ribbons on a bulletin board by the entrance, Warren’s Blackboard has implemented less salt, more fish entrees, more vegetable appetizers and another dessert. Other suggestions looked like flame wars from a Crossfit message board: One guest suggested “Make more vegan friendly” while another “Less vegan friendly. More steak!” Not a challenge at all.

The most popular dishes will likely be incorporated as the permanent Front Yard menu later this year, possibly with a price hike. If you’re interested in tasting the cooking, I’d go now.

Read more: Now Open: Warren’s Blackboard at the Beverly Garland

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