CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: Chaya Tuna Tartare Vs. CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza | KCET
CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: Chaya Tuna Tartare Vs. CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza
Los Angeles is full of people who care passionately about food, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to serve us. We don't all agree on what constitutes "good," but we do know we like our burgers, our froyo, our Korean BBQ, our pizza. (That's right, our pizza. We like it.)
The thing is, we don't have one iconic dish. Nothing that we can point to and say, "This. This is Los Angeles on a plate." So now we're going to find out. KCET Food came up with 16 contenders. You vote on your favorites. Here's the sixth match up:
Tuna tartare at Chaya Brasserie: It got some Californians used to raw fish.
The History: Sushi has of course been around for quite some time. But it was in 1984 when, according to lore, Chaya Brasserie chef Shigefumi Tachibe mixed together some raw tuna, mayo, spices, and avocado to make this dish that became a star of "California cuisine." It's hard to imagine now, but there was once a time when this dish would have been unthinkable to many Americans.
The Scene: This is an upscale Beverly Hills restaurant. Stereotype accordingly.
The Food: This is a self-styled French-Japanese restaurant, with a mix of small bites of seafood and big plates of things like pasta and steak. And that tuna tartare is still great.
BBQ chicken pizza at CPK: The dish that launched a million written food fights.
The History: CPK is so ubiquitous on the west coast now that it seems hard to believe that in 1985 a couple of dudes wanted to put weird stuff on pizza dough, and managed to get some wealthy friends to bankroll it. The BBQ chicken was on the the original offerings, and you can bet east coasters got all furious about it. Now it's on the menu at most pizza joints, of course.
The Scene: The first location, in Beverly Hills, was actually a pretty trendy destination for flashy folks when it first opened. The outposts now are all firmly "family friendly."
The Food: Pizzas, pastas, and salads, all a little sweet, but not too terrible if you're being honest. And that BBQ chicken version ... come on, admit it. It's pretty good.
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Today, a cadre of local activists and artists in Watts are using storytelling and human relationships to promote change, justice, equality and communal values.
In such a controversial campaign as Proposition 187, art and politics inenvitably mix. During the 1990s a number of politicians (established and aspiring) helped shape the campaign, as artists on the ground informed the public and inspired them to act.
From performing with an ensemble to working at the Smithsonian to mentoring Watts youth (including a young Nipsey Hussle), WTAC's advocate has done it all and keeps fighting for her adopted neighborhood.
“We get it all the time — people come up to us and say, ‘We didn't know that Black people live in Santa Monica,” Carolyne Edwards said. “And there was a huge population there.”
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