It’s not often that you sit down to eat a poisonous creature. The pufferfish—a.k.a. fugu or 河豚 in Japanese—is one of the deadliest fish out there, thanks to a naturally occurring neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin that it carries. With its toxic bits removed, however, fugu is a delicacy in Japan. Rumors abound that some aficionados keep a little poison intact because it makes the eater’s lips tingle when they consume it. Humans, man. I was at CHAYA in Downtown Los Angeles to eat completely poison-free fugu omakase dinner by executive chef Joji Inoue, a Tokyo native. CHAYA recently joined four restaurants in New York as the first West Coast member of the fledgling Fugu Society of the United States. “In order[…]

Bacon: the cornerstone of the Standard American Diet and the decade’s trendiest ingredient for just about every dish from bánh mì to beignets. What usually stands as a greasy breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) indulgence has lately emerged in San Francisco‘s fine dining scene. The only catch about this bacon? It doesn’t come from a pig. SPQR executive chef Matthew Accarrino has created a bacon made with white sturgeon worthy of the restaurant’s one Michelin star. The SPQR team prepping for service. All photos by the author. At 2 PM, the SPQR team is busy at work prepping for evening service. The dark lacquered tables have yet to be set. Curious pedestrians on Fillmore Street peek into the restaurant’s open[…]