Former Leyla Chef Back in Business in Los Angeles


Vatche Meguerdichian, the opening Leyla chef who left the downtown restaurant after he was denied a shift drink, is again selling schawerma and shish tawook in Los Angeles.

Meguerdichian’s new Sherman Oaks venture is considerably more casual than his previous southern California restaurant, which drew praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. Entrée prices at the counter-service joint top out at $12. Continue reading

Blue Bicycle Welcomes John Besh

beshFor food lovers worried they won’t get their fill of John Besh when he signs books at Blue Bicycle next week — and just in time for Christmas — the New Orleans chef recently launched the Besh Box.

The subscription plan features a monthly shipment of kitchen tools, ingredients and recipes; the first edition includes pecans, vanilla beans, a pastry cutter, a dough scraper, dishtowel and Christmas ornament, among other Yuletide treats. Buyers can sign up for one, three, six or a full twelve installments for $660, which includes a copy of Besh’s latest cookbook.

“I thought it would be an insight, something really interesting to share who we are and what we do, with the world,” Besh told the Times-Picayune’s Judy Walker. Continue reading

Puree Cafe Isn’t Luring Customers With Organic Food; Adds Dinner

blk-burger-prof-300x200In a bid to improve its bottom line, which has been held down by the high costs of organic food, Mt. Pleasant’s Puree Café is launching a full-fledged dinner menu later this month.

“We’re not in danger of going out of business, but it’s got to get profitable at some point,” Jenan McClain says of the vegetarian restaurant she and her husband launched last year.

According to McClain, the restaurant’s commitment to using only organic ingredients hasn’t resonated with local eaters, who tend to group Puree with the spate of other new Mt. Pleasant restaurants emphasizing freshness, such as Southerly and Scratch Taco.

“A lot of people in the South don’t even know what a GMO is, so it’s been a real educational process,” McClain says. Continue reading