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Heroic Italian Chef Challenges Evan Funke to a Pasta Duel

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Plus CDC data links dining out with increased COVID-19 risk, and Palette Food and Juice is closing in Atwater

Mezze rigatoni alla carbonara at Fingers Crossed on a white bowl.
Mezze rigatoni alla carbonara at Fingers Crossed
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Heroic Italian chef Jeffrey Merrihue had some choice words on Instagram after dining at Evan Funke’s new Fingers Crossed in Hollywood. Merrihue summarized his experience by criticizing Funke’s strict approach to Roman cooking while pointing out aspects of the menu that wouldn’t be served in Rome (like tiramisu or Malta pudding). Merrihue then challenges Funke to a duel, calling carbonara at Fingers Crossed “parched,” all while maintaining that the “food was great.” Still, it didn’t stop Merrihue with the backhanded compliment of calling Funke “a great chef, trailblazer, and wonderful part of LA gastronomy but a lovable blowhard.”

Funke seemed to take the criticism in stride, commenting directly on the post with “I wish you unbridled success @heroicitalian peace and pasta,” then remarking “Looks great!” on a subsequent Merrihue post comparing their two carbonara plates. Merrihue concludes his Instagram posts with praise for Evan’s squash blossoms at Fingers Crossed. Is this pasta drama the petty feud we need right now?

In other news:

— Palette Food and Juice, a beloved eatery in Atwater Village, is closing permanently. They share that their PPP ran out in July and that sales during the pandemic were about 25 percent of pre-COVID. It’s a heartbreaking story.

— CDC research is showing that those who dine out have higher risks of being exposed to COVID-19 than those who partake in other activities, such as shopping or going to a salon, reports NBC LA. Research shows that those who tested positive were twice as likely to report having eaten at a restaurant or been to a bar in the past two weeks.

— The LA Times has an in-depth story on the drawings in the Animator’s Room at Moore’s Delicatessen, which closed last month in Burbank after nearly ten years of business.

— Get an inside look at Brandon Go’s Hayato in this vertical Instagram video posted by Row DTLA.

— KCRW has a story on how undocumented workers often have no safety net during uncertain times like this, especially during a pandemic. Labor organizer Manuel Villanueva works with nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Center to provide lifelines for dozens of unemployed workers, but he is mentally and physically exhausted from the work.

—Charlie D’Amelio, the most followed person on TikTok in the world and self-proclaimed coffee lover, has a partnership with Dunkin’ with special cold brew with whole milk and “three pumps of caramel swirl.” Five lucky fans who post the drink on Instagram using the #CharliXDunkinContest hashtag could get the chance to virtually hang out with the talented teen dancer and learn how to make viral videos of their own.

Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’ partnership
Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’ partnership

Heroic Italian

516 Santa Monica Boulevard, , CA 90401 (310) 691-8278 Visit Website

Fingers Crossed

1607 North Cahuenga Boulevard, , CA 90028 (323) 593-7771 Visit Website