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Michael Cimarusti Talks Cultural Appropriation and Moody Instagram Food

Plus a Shake Shack Dodgers deal, and 109-year anniversary party

Michael Cimarusti
Chef Michael Cimarusti, right
Michael Cimarusti
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Outspoken Michael

Chef Michael Cimarusti is opening a new project in Downtown, called Best Girl. It takes over for LA Chapter, and marks Cimarusti’s next foray into casual, not exclusively seafood fare. As such, the chef sat down with Robb Report for a discussion on cooking, the classics, cultural appropriation, and certain restaurants (“some right here in this city”) that go too far with their abstraction of food.

The whole interview is interesting as a peek into the mind of a casual man with a fine dining focus, but there’s a hearty chunk in the middle where Cimarusti discusses the immigrant nature of Los Angeles, and the melding of cuisines that come as a result. “If I’m guilty of loving a taco and wanting to recreate those flavors,” he says when referring to the celebration of multiculturalism on the plate in LA, “Then lock me up.” From there, the conversation heads to Andy Ricker, avante garde food, and all points beyond. Go give it a read.

Shake Shack expands again

It’s another one for Shake Shack, the East Coast burger chain that has been coming for Los Angeles in a big way the past few years. Their latest location is in El Segundo, which makes it just a short drive to and from LAX. It’s not closer than the airport’s famous In-N-Out (or the breakfast-serving Shake Shack inside Terminal 3), but still. Oh, and if the Dodgers win tonight, the first 50 guests in line tomorrow at any Shake Shack will get a free chili cheese dog. 2171 Rosecrans Avenue, El Segundo.

Ricardo wins

Chef Ricardo Diaz has made a killing out in Whittier, playing a modern Mexican tune to throngs of adoring fans across several restaurants. Now he’s being recognized nationally for his cooking, and it’s about time.

Pizza for Downtown

Midwest chain Pizzafire is coming to Downtown, landing a new ground-floor location at 450 W. Olympic Blvd. The healthy-ish fast food operation mostly exists in Ohio, but is now expanding well west for beer, wine, and personal pies.

Civil Coffee is a hit

Highland Park AM option Civil Coffee is turning two years old in November, and to celebrate the birthday the Morales brothers are doing a big party on November 18. That means free coffee, plus tacos, giveaways and more, while all month long Civil will begin rolling out its expanded food menu under chef Matt Poley from Heirloom LA.

Cole’s continues to shine

Downtown landmark Cole’s is turning 109 years young, and to celebrate the place is turning to some big-name local chefs to help lead the party. That means Neal Fraser and Christian Page, who will be running a $70 multi-course dinner with drinks for the event, which goes down on November 10.