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A Long Beach Chef Is Tackling Cultural Complexities in LA’s Cambodian Cuisine

Plus the end of a taco tournament, and talks about seafood sustainability

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Food from Little La Lune Cambodian restaurant in Long Beach
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.

Cambodian cuisine’s time has come

OC Weekly put out a great new piece last week on Maurice Yim, a forward-thinking Long Beach chef who is trying hard to tackle Cambodian cuisine at a modern level. That means, rather than hiding Cambodian dishes deep inside menus at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, it’s letting the flavors and ingredients from the Southeast Asian country shine for themselves.

Mostly Yim has been showcasing his talents through a Mealsharing pre-paid dinner pop-up on a rooftop in Long Beach. Operating under the name of his catering company, Le Awe, Yim has been able to explore and expand on his knowledge of Khmer cooking while pushing boundaries with traditional Cambodian ingredients like a fish paste known as prahok. For now he’s continuing the pop-up tradition, but hopes to push the conversation into new places along the way — much like what’s been done more recently with Filipino food in and around Los Angeles.

Woodley Proper rolls

There’s officially movement at Woodley Proper up in Encino, as chef Phillip Frankland Lee and partner/pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee open their spot Woodley Proper along with bartender Devon Espinosa. The spot marries cocktails with small bites like toasts and towers of charcuterie. Open daily from noon to 2 a.m.

Podcast personalities

Union/Knead & Co. co-owner Marie Petulla took to the Just Forking Around podcast to talk about her history as an LA restaurateur, and even tease some upcoming projects.

Madness at the taco finals

This is the final week to vote in the annual Taco Madness tournament, as put on by L.A. Taco. The art and eating publication has whittled down a strong annual list to just two contenders: Burritos La Palma and newcomer Sonoratown. Make your voice heard between now and Thursday.

Egg day at Smorgasburg

Here’s a fun new thought for Easter: Why not put an egg on everything? That’s exactly what Smorgasburg has planned for Easter Sunday, when folks who show up will get to take to their favorite vendors and watch as eggs are fried, soft-boiled, you name it — all in service of ratcheting up flavor while staying true to the spirit of the day.

Tackling sustainability

Chefs Collaborative is tackling the issue of sourcing and sustainability at UCLA on May 2, in a conversation with folks from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Jonathan Gold will be there along with Mary Sue Milliken, Nyesha Arrington, Ray Garcia, Samuel Monsour, Neal Fraser, and many more.

The end of a notorious spot

Bleach-white La Brea coffee option Graffiti has closed. The oddball shop got into some seriously hot water recently over an LA Magazine story that lambasted the place for their ongoing inane rules and quirky service. Now Yelp lists the shop as closed, and they’ve been otherwise scrubbed from the internet.

Graffiti Coffee on La Brea