The Clean Plate Club, Episode #12: Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Tien Nguyen

You have to be pretty charming to convince David Sedaris to let you turn one of his stories into a movie. But that’s precisely the quality that allowed filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez to adapt the short story C.O.G. into a terrific film starring Jonathan Groff. Kyle’s our guest this week along with L.A. Weekly food writer Tien Nguyen, who not only helps compose the annual Best of L.A. issue but also just co-authored a cookbook with celebrated chef Roy Choi. Here’s a picture of everyone at the table with their artichokes.

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No Sweetener For You (Do Coffee Shops Go Too Far?)

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You can divide coffee shops, these days, into two categories: those pushing the sugar (Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, Dunkin’ Donuts) and those scorning the sweet stuff. Most of us start out in the former camp–I began my coffee-drinking habits with Frappuccinos–and migrate to the latter camp, the independent coffee shop where the beans are of the finest quality and the baristas glare at you if they see you shaking Sweet N’ Low into your iced macchiato. That glare, though, isn’t necessarily encouraged by coffee shop owners: at most of the indy coffee shops I frequent in New York and L.A. (Joe, Gorilla, Commissary, Intelligentsia) sweetener is offered up in a myriad of forms: blue, pink, white little packets and a big bottle of simple syrup to address your iced coffee drink needs. Last week, however, I visited a coffee shop that L.A. Weekly just named Best Coffee Shop 2013–Handsome Coffee–and discovered that sweetener isn’t offered in any of its forms. No pink packets, no blue packets, no sticky syrup bottle. If you want sugar in your coffee, you’ve got to go somewhere else.

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