RockSugar Kitchen Offers a Dramatic Setting Paired with an Approachable Menu of Authentic Southeast Asian Cuisine

RockSugar Kitchen Offers a Dramatic Setting Paired with an Approachable Menu of Authentic Southeast Asian Cuisine

The restaurant industry is saturated with Asian-fusion concepts. 

Although the majority of restaurants serving Asian fare would fall into this category, most aren't what you would call "authentic." 

There's nothing wrong with that. Each chef has his or her own twist on a dish, so you could say an entire menu is made up of a fusion of influences. 

But today's educated and adventurous consumer is often looking for authentic fare from somewhere they may not have ever been.

With that in mind, the creator of The Cheesecake Factory, opened RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen, a restaurant serving authentic dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Similar to The Cheesecake Factory, the restaurant's setting is dramatic and over-the-top, yet the extensive menu is approachable and comforting. 

We decided to sit down with Chef Mohan Ismail, the culinary mastermind behind the Emerging Brand RockSugar to learn where he gets his menu inspiration from and why he thinks the restaurant has become wildly popular. 

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How This LA Grab-and-Go Concept Plans to Bring Healthy Food to Every Table

How This LA Grab-and-Go Concept Plans to Bring Healthy Food to Every Table

Not every brand is for everyone. Even though menu items catering to those with dietary restrictions like gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan have become more common, it still isn’t easy to find a menu that meets everyone’s dietary needs.

Often the restaurants that do offer these options can be pricy, especially for families. Not to mention, healthy grab-and-go concepts are hard to come by. Juices are often $9 a pop and salads can be $12+ at most fast casual restaurants.

Enter Everytable, the Cali-based brand with four stores near the LA area providing healthy, yet affordable prepackaged meals to the local market. Each Everytable store is priced according to their specific neighborhoods and the local demographic. 

We sat down with Everytable’s co-founders Sam Polk and David Foster to learn why they started this unique concept, how it is standing out, and how they can offer a price-point that significantly below other restaurant brands. 

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LA Concept Uses Instagram as Its Delivery Platform

LA Concept Uses Instagram as Its Delivery Platform

Today brand's have multiple outlets where they can tell their restaurant's story and connect with guests outside of the store. Instagram has become wildly popular, especially with millennials, as a platform to share and view the best food porn the internet has to offer. 

Chef Malachi Jenkins the founder of the LA concept, Trap Kitchen knows how powerful of a marketing tool Instagram can be. He is solely using Instagram to promote his catering business. 

Jenkins posts the concept's daily menu items, prices and the phone number to order on the social network. After seeing the delicious post, guests can either order for delivery or pick-up.  

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LA Chefs Discuss the Organic Movement

Over the last decade, more and more chefs are taking a leading role in determining where their food is sourced from and how that food is treated. Recently, capitalizing on consumer sentiment, many restaurants have announced plans to work only with organic and non-GMO ingredients. 

How do local chefs feel about the future of the organic movement? And do they think it is possible for restaurants to work solely with organic and non-GMO ingredients? 

Read on to find out…

Dreux Ellis, Executive Chef, Gratitude in Newport Beach, Café Gratitude in Los Angeles and San Diego

"My commitment to organic food as a chef is an extension of my commitment as a human being to the earth and its well-being. For the last 30 years, I have watched the organic food movement sustain local farmers, soil regeneration and community initiatives. While the regulation of "organic" has been imperfect and burdensome for many farmers and there is room for improvement, it has also provided food security to the consumer and raised the awareness of the general public to the health benefits and environmental impact of choosing an organic diet. I have chosen to eat exclusively organic for many years now and am proud that professionally, Café Gratitude has stood by our commitment to a 100% organic menu. It is a win-win for everyone."

Chandra Gilbert, Executive Chef, Gracias Madre in West Hollywood

"Regardless of diet, organic food is a wise choice. When we buy organic food, we vote with our dollars for sustainability and planetary health, as you are avoiding GMO's, hormones, antibiotics, chemicals and pesticides. It helps reduce our use of water, and reduces air and soil pollution, while also preserving agricultural diversity. Spending dollars in the organic sector is a stand for farm workers' rights to a clean and safe work environment. And.....organic food tastes better. Why would anyone, if given the choice, choose differently? The answer is usually money. Every year tax dollars subsidize commercial agribusiness. This price tag marginalizes the poor with costly health problems and medical bills. It's time to band together and demand organic food for all people, animals and the environment." Read More

Cook-It-Yourself Dining Now Trending In LA

By Allison Levine, Foodable Contributor

From Korean BBQ and shabu shabu to hot pots and fondue, it is as popular as ever to go to a restaurant where the servers bring you the ingredients to cook your own food. It seems we have come full circle. Now we are paying others so that we can “cook our own meal.” 

Cook-it-yourself restaurants are not passive experiences; they’re interactive and communal. For many, the social aspect is the appeal. Groups of friends sit around a hot pot or a grill in the middle of the table as they drink, eat and chat. Diners select pieces of prepared raw food on platters around the table and then wait for them to cook. This enables the diner to cook the meats exactly as they want it. 

As for the restaurant, “cook-it-yourself” has some benefits as well. The biggest benefit is in overhead costs. While the restaurant can focus on quality of the products served, they can minimize the number of people needed in the kitchen and on the floor. Service will vary from restaurant to restaurant and from style to style. While there is generally a more hands-off approach in these “cook-it-yourself” restaurants, there are servers are on the floor to help you. For example, in Korean barbecue, servers will regularly check on the table to adjust the temperature of the grill and assist with cooking the meat. At hot pot and shabu shabu restaurants, servers will continue to fill up the pots with more broth which tends to cook down over time.

Learn more about the LA concepts embracing this trend here