Palm Springs … meals vacation spot? The very best consuming at sports activities bars. And remembering a journalist with a “stressed palate.” I’m Laurie Ochoa, basic supervisor of L.A. Occasions Meals, with this week’s Tasting Notes.

A profession price celebrating

A man and two women smile for a photo

Barbara Hansen, proper, with chef Jet Tila, heart, and his mom Mary Tila. Chef Tila says Hansen was his mentor.

(Gerry Furth-Sides)

The meals world misplaced an essential pioneering voice on this paper’s protection of the various cuisines which have discovered a house in Southern California with the current dying of journalist and creator Barbara Hansen. She died on the age of 90 on Jan. 28, a day after being taken off life assist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Middle following a fall she suffered late final month.

Hansen, who left her job at The Occasions in 2006 however wrote articles for the paper by means of 2017, was a much-loved journalist and energetic social media correspondent who impressed a spread of personalities, together with superstar chef Jet Tila, writer-event curator Invoice Esparza and novelist Kim Fay, who modeled a key character in her 2022 bestseller “Love & Saffron” after Hansen.

“Earlier than the debut of the late Jonathan Gold and his Counter Intelligence column, Angelenos found the worldwide cuisines of L.A. by the use of Barbara,” Fay stated final yr at Culver Metropolis’s Village Properly Books & Espresso throughout an interview with Hansen to advertise “Love & Saffron.” “She created the Border Line meals column on the Los Angeles Occasions starting in 1974 … chronicling L.A.’s Mexican meals scene, together with the newspaper’s first recipe to be printed in Spanish. However even earlier than Border Line, Barbara was a champion for town’s worldwide flavors. Within the single yr of 1969 she wrote about Israeli consul dinners, kosher caterers, L.A. soul meals and the cuisines of Egypt, Haiti, the Philippines, Colombia, Portugal, Nicaragua, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Honduras, all with recipes.”

Barbara Hansen, right, with author Kim Fay in December 2022 at Village Well Books & Coffee in Culver City.

Barbara Hansen, proper, discussing the novel “Love & Saffron” with the e book’s creator Kim Fay in December 2022 at Village Properly Books & Espresso in Culver Metropolis. Fay modeled a key character after Hansen.

(Gerry Furth-Sides)

Along with persevering with her freelance writing for L.A. Weekly, Saveur, Bon Appétit and different publications after leaving The Occasions, Hansen maintained two web sites, Desk Dialog and EatMx, centered on Mexican delicacies. She was additionally a giant Instagram fan and had the sort of devoted following which may have made her the preferred 90-year-old meals influencer.

“I believe Instagram is enjoyable,” she advised Fay. “It’s vigorous and it’s an instant contact with folks.”

“She beloved and lined meals proper as much as the tip,” stated her pal and fellow author and historian Gerry Furth-Sides, who edits the web site Native Meals Eater. The day earlier than Hansen’s fall, the 2 had been collectively for a pulao rice demonstration on the downtown L.A. location of Sri Sambangi‘s south Indian restaurant Banana Leaf — “a restaurant she impressed,” Furth-Sides stated, after Hansen took day-long cooking classes at Sambangi’s dwelling and inspired him to open a spot of his personal.

On the way in which to the rice lesson final month at Banana Leaf, Furth-Sides stated, she and Hansen stopped at Jons Contemporary Market, “the place the supervisor, Jay, caught up together with her as a result of he discovered the apricot leather-based she beloved, and he or she was so pleased.”

Furth-Sides added that Hansen was planning to jot down a information to the Indian eating places of Venice Boulevard (an replace of a narrative she wrote for L.A. Weekly in 2018) for Westways journal and had been planning to steer a culinary tour of the realm this summer season for Melting Pot Meals Excursions.

It doesn’t shock me that Hansen, a James Beard Award winner for her 2003 Occasions story “Mezcal: good drink, unhealthy rap,” by no means actually retired from meals writing. I had the privilege of working together with her after I was deputy meals editor after which meals editor of this paper within the late Nineties, and witnessed her tireless enthusiasm for exploring eating places — particularly in the event that they hadn’t obtained numerous press consideration — and studying from cooks from everywhere in the world.

“Isn’t it simply marvelous?” she’d usually say if you happen to advised her you’d adopted up on certainly one of her suggestions.

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After information of Hansen’s dying began circulating, Tila wrote on Fb that when he first encountered her, “I used to be 24, confused about my life, profession and course. I used to be instructing cooking courses out of my mother’s again yard … working odd jobs and undecided if cooking was my path. Barbara Hansen quietly paid the 35 bucks [and] attended the category. She wrote the quilt story within the L.A. Occasions that gave me the spark and inspiration that began my journey. She … wrote a letter of advice that helped me enter culinary college. Then helped me with my L.A. Occasions Meals part internship … and guided [me] by means of writing my first revealed articles. Taught me methods to write meals opinions. Jogged my memory to eat, style and be conscious concerning the historical past of the meals and love the individuals who made it.”

Her appreciation for the individuals who made the meals she beloved might have been the important thing to Hansen’s energy as a reporter — if she appreciated one thing she ate she at all times needed to satisfy the cooks and study from them.

L.A. Occasions Immediately producer Nicolette Medina shared a narrative about her father assembly Hansen when he was putting in a ground within the Occasions Check Kitchen on the paper’s outdated downtown headquarters. The 2 bought to speaking, and when Hansen heard concerning the fast one-pan chile verde he realized from his mother, she bought the recipe, examined it after which requested him to usher in a clear shirt the subsequent day for a photograph shoot. On Nov. 29, 1979, the story, his recipe and picture had been revealed within the Meals part. As Medina writes in her appreciation of Hansen, the story “was one of many largest highlights of his life. He was a easy man from East L.A. who supported his household by pouring cement and loving them by cooking tasty dinners each evening. If the L.A. Occasions stated his cooking was good … it was good … and he by no means let anybody neglect it!”

Hansen’s cookbooks, together with “Cooking California Model,” “Good Bread,” “Mexican Cookery,” “Barbara Hansen’s Style of Southeast Asia” and “Southeast Asian Cooking,” confirmed her intense curiosity concerning the world and her ardour for journey. I do not forget that earlier than Jonathan Gold and I traveled to Singapore a few years again, she was extraordinarily beneficiant with meals suggestions, and almost each meals particular person we encountered there had appeared to have met and admired her.

“Barbara was an intrepid solo traveler who traveled 12 instances to India alone,” Furth-Sides stated. “She has notebooks on her native and worldwide journeys going again to 1964.”

Barbara Hansen, intent on getting the best shot of Chicken 65 at the Culver City branch of Banana Leaf restaurant.

Barbara Hansen, intent on getting the most effective shot of Rooster 65 on the Culver Metropolis department of Banana Leaf restaurant.

(Gerry Furth-Sides)

When former L.A. Occasions Meals editor and present Substack columnist Ruth Reichl and I had been speaking about Hansen this week, she stated admiringly that “Barbara at all times had a stressed palate.”

There are plans, Furth-Sides stated, to put Hansen’s notebooks right into a everlasting assortment, together with the various meals books she acquired from everywhere in the world.

You probably have an opportunity to undergo her older pre-internet work on a web site like, you’ll discover a captivating take a look at the development in attitudes about what was as soon as referred to as “ethnic” meals — a time period Hansen was one of many first to reject “as a result of it appears like one thing aside, one thing that doesn’t match into the mainstream. However that’s not the case,” she advised an viewers gathered in 2010 by the Culinary Historians of Southern California.

Above all, Hansen felt that meals writing wasn’t an unique membership. When Fay expressed amazement that Hansen appeared to be busier than ever at 90, Hansen stated, “I believe meals is an never-ending curiosity and anyone anyplace can pursue that in their very own style as a result of it’s throughout us. And particularly in L.A. … the place we are actually, the meals alternatives are incredible. And I don’t imply simply the high-end, celebrity-chef-pursuing strategy to meals, I imply the markets and folks and tiny locations. And simply nice meals.”

Palm Springs … meals vacation spot?

plate of burger and fries

The Twin Palms Burger from Kings Freeway Burger.

(King’s Freeway)

As meals critic Invoice Addison writes in his information to the ten greatest eating places in Palm Springs, most individuals head to the desert getaway “to bake within the solar, to observe the colours of the San Jacinto Mountains change with the seasons and the daylight, to do as little as attainable.” Palm Springs could also be world well-known for its Midcentury structure — as our options writers talk about in tomorrow’s Weekend part information to 64 methods to get pleasure from L.A.’s beloved getaway” — however it’s not referred to as a meals vacation spot. Addison’s information might change your thoughts. Some highlights: the chorizo-layered chilaquiles and “custard tacky scrambled eggs” at Cheeky’s (well-known for its “bacon flight”), the schnitzel at Johannes, Vietnamese shaking beef at Rooster and the Pig, and the over-the-top caviar deviled eggs and “righteous bone-in pork chop” on the buzzy Bar Cecil.

In the meantime, Jenn Harris hit the penny slots together with her grandmother on the casinos in and round Palm Springs and got here up with a information to the greatest desert on line casino consuming — “as a result of Grandma doesn’t like playing on an empty abdomen.”

And since I occurred to be in Palm Springs twice final month — for the Palm Springs Worldwide Movie Pageant the place I noticed “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s subsequent investigative documentary, “The Seize,” on how backhanded land offers will have an effect on our meals and water provide (extra on that in coming weeks) and for cookbook creator Joan Nathan‘s fabulous eightieth celebration (I can’t cease interested by the schnecken she made for brunch from her “Jewish Vacation Cookbook on the Abernathy Home the morning after the social gathering) — right here’s yet one more advice (because of a tip from author Margy Rochlin). Tacon’Todo is a terrific discover, a permitted restaurant reachable in a suburban housing growth in Cathedral Metropolis (68235 Estio Street). You park outdoors the home on Saturdays and Sundays (10 a.m. to three p.m.) or Tuesday evenings (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and undergo the driveway gate to search out tables set up within the facet yard. I had the birria en caldo and a vampiro. There’s additionally birria ramen, mulitas, and on Sundays, menudo.

Extra to learn:

— Will L.A. eating places lose the nice outside? Jenn Harris studies on the contentious dialogue over a proposed ordinance that threatens the out of doors eating areas that emerged throughout COVID and helped so many eating places survive the pandemic.

— The greatest lobster roll in Los Angeles? Jenn Harris says it’s at Saltie Woman on the Sundown Strip.

— Should you’re planning to observe the Tremendous Bowl in a sports activities bar, take a look at our information to among the locations with the most effective meals chosen by Danielle Dorsey, Stephanie Breijo and Lucas Kwan Peterson. And if you happen to’re watching at dwelling or a pal’s home, don’t miss Julie Giuffrida’s assortment of 11 creamy Tremendous Bowl dips.

— Simply in time for Valentine’s Day, Jenn Harris and Danielle Dorsey put collectively a information to the most effective date-night eating places.