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FOOD
December 30, 2010 | By Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times
Well, that was interesting. A couple of days before Christmas, one of the owners of the new Beverly Hills restaurant Red Medicine created a firestorm by confronting Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila while she was waiting for a table, snapping her picture, kicking her and her party out of the restaurant and then posting the picture on the Internet for all to see. By the next morning, more than 15 years of working to remain anonymous were...
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FOOD
December 22, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
Once I lived in a place where winter temperatures regularly dipped below freezing, and my best friend was my goose down comforter. My downstairs neighbor was a Renaissance English scholar, and every year he did the whole Dickens Christmas feast complete with goose. I had my own Christmas celebration, but he'd give me the goose fat and any of the leftovers, which I used in my New Year's Day cassoulet, prepared from Julia Child's lengthy recipe. It wasn't until I moved to sunny Southern California that I made a roast goose myself for the first time.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 23, 2010 | By Christopher Reynolds and Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila ducked into Red Medicine, a new Beverly Hills restaurant, for some modern Vietnamese food the other night, but got nothing to eat. Instead, she was outed and ousted, her party turned away, her picture snapped and critic's anonymity shredded by the restaurateur himself. "I always knew at some point a blogger or somebody would take a secret photo. But I never expected that a restaurateur would stick a camera in my face," Virbila said Wednesday.
FOOD
December 15, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
You can use your iPhone or iPad to watch movies, listen to music, text and surf the Internet. But special, surprisingly inexpensive apps make them nifty environments for learning or upgrading cooking skills. I've bought or borrowed quite a few culinary apps - some terrific, some boring, some duds. The best are full-on apps, with hours of video included. Others are more like enhanced books, but even those include tricks such as dumping all the ingredients for a recipe into a shopping basket with the click of a button.
NEWS
May 9, 2002
Critic's Notebook by S. Irene Virbila will return next week.
MAGAZINE
July 30, 1995
In your June 18 restaurant column ("Beef, Pure and Simple,"), S. Irene Virbila referred to a porterhouse steak as half filet, half sirloin." I don't know what world Virbila comes from, but on this world, a Porterhouse steak is half filet, half New York. Joseph Zeff North Hollywood
MAGAZINE
July 30, 2000
S. Irene Virbila's review of Los Feliz Restaurant ("Sophisticated Lady," June 11) betrays her snobbish and condescending views of L.A. neighborhoods and restaurants. Apparently, Virbila believes that fine dining exists only on the Westside. "I never expected to find such a sophisticated dining establishment," she writes. Why? Because Los Feliz isn't as tony as Beverly Hills? Bob Stock Los Angeles
MAGAZINE
March 21, 1999
I am a faithful reader of the magazine's restaurant articles, and I enjoyed S. Irene Virbila's review of Tanino Drago's new place ("Following Celestino's Footsteps in Westwood," Feb. 21). Virbila described the location as a "graceful Italian Renaissance-style building" with "soaring, ornately painted ceilings" and "travertine walls trimmed in dark wood wainscoting." Perhaps a simpler tip--that Tanino is located on the site of the old Alice's Restaurant--would have been even more useful.
MAGAZINE
June 16, 2002
Blah, blah, blah Lucques ("Still Ahead of the Rest," by S. Irene Virbila, Restaurants, May 19). Blah, blah, blah Campanile. Does Virbila really think that L.A. diners are oblivious to her transparent and redundant promotion of her pet places? It reminds me of a high school yearbook, where only the rich and popular friends of the editor wind up on the pages. Elizabeth Harris Encino
MAGAZINE
January 26, 1997
Restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila may have succumbed to a common media disease--the one that makes you believe that if you're writing about it, it must be important ("Fish With a Catch," Dec. 8). Don't misunderstand. I enjoy restaurants. And I appreciate restaurant reviews, especially Virbila's. But to proclaim, as she did in her review of Ginza Sushiko in Beverly Hills, that any meal is "absolutely" worth $250 per person--that's ludicrous. To say that an overpriced meal in this month's faddish spot is worth what for many people is a week's pay shows a distinct lack of perspective.
NEWS
December 4, 2012 | By Russ Parsons
It's an axiom of food writing that the only restaurant critics chefs like are the ones who've just retired. Apparently, that's not quite true. In fact, The Times has two exceptions on its staff. Jonathan Gold and S. Irene Virbila are both in the Top 10 of the nation's restaurant critics, according to a poll of chefs and restaurateurs conducted by the Daily Meal website . In fact, Gold is No. 1 over all, earning the site's only three-star ranking. Virbila is No. 10, with 2½ stars.
FOOD
January 19, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
When I spent some months in Venice, Italy, years ago, my friend Paolo would show up at dinner parties with prosciutto. I'm not talking about a paper packet of sliced ham but a whole prosciutto di San Daniele, the famous ham from Friuli, cured with the foot on. The host would hand him a glass of Prosecco, he'd pull his well-traveled prosciutto out of the bag and proceed to carve off slices as his contribution to the cicchetti (antipasti) spread. Brilliant. And after, it would go home with him to be trotted out for the next dinner party.
FOOD
January 5, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
The best meals of the year aren't necessarily about foie gras and truffles, or indulgent tasting menus, or even the technically best cooking of 2011. They're those dinners that surprised and delighted, that wove food and wine and friendship together in a meal that stands crisp and clear in memory. Some of them are unrepeatable, like the subtle Indian feast a friend cooked or the dinner for more than 100 outside at one long table in front of a historic chateau in France. Or the wild crayfish that a Rioja producer pulled out of a pond next to his winery and cooked up for lunch.
FOOD
December 30, 2010 | By Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times
Well, that was interesting. A couple of days before Christmas, one of the owners of the new Beverly Hills restaurant Red Medicine created a firestorm by confronting Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila while she was waiting for a table, snapping her picture, kicking her and her party out of the restaurant and then posting the picture on the Internet for all to see. By the next morning, more than 15 years of working to remain anonymous were...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 23, 2010 | By Christopher Reynolds and Rene Lynch, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila ducked into Red Medicine, a new Beverly Hills restaurant, for some modern Vietnamese food the other night, but got nothing to eat. Instead, she was outed and ousted, her party turned away, her picture snapped and critic's anonymity shredded by the restaurateur himself. "I always knew at some point a blogger or somebody would take a secret photo. But I never expected that a restaurateur would stick a camera in my face," Virbila said Wednesday.
FOOD
December 1, 2010 | S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
When I first got my iPhone, I was thrilled to discover Convertbot, which made it fun and easy to convert ingredient quantities or temperatures from my British cookbooks. That app, it turned out, was just a taste of the onslaught of food and wine apps to come - so many, you'd have to be a full-time app tester to try them all out. (Unfortunately, I have another job.) But I do try a lot. Here are apps for the iPhone that I've found most useful. Several are also available on the Android platform.
MAGAZINE
April 23, 1995
Who cares where S. Irene Virbila eats in Paris ("We'll Always Have Paris," March 12)? I want The Times to tell me about the restaurants of Southern California. We have more than enough of them for even the jaded palate of the pretentious Virbila. We need to know about the new restaurants in Glendale and Torrance, what's open Downtown on the weekends and where to have a good lunch in Huntington Beach. John McCoy Los Angeles Virbila's trip to Paris and her voracious appetite for animal parts--including kidneys, brains, duck gizzards, beef cheeks, boiled tongue, blood sausage, pork fat and tripe--was truly sickening and should make vegetarians of us all. Bill Dyer Venice
FOOD
January 14, 2004
The letter from A. Robert Young ("Letters," Jan. 7) overlooks what is most significant about S. Irene Virbila's Wine of the Week column: its consistent value as a reliable guide to finding interesting and gratifying wines that would often go unnoticed by wine aficionados. Over the life of this column, I have tried at least 80% of the releases that Virbila has recommended. The reviews have been uniformly intelligent, accurate and helpful in discovering terrific products. When the reviews have sought to match quality to price, they have always been on target.
FOOD
January 6, 2010 | By S. Irene Virbila, Restaurant Critic
To say that I eat out a lot would be something of an understatement. The question I'm always asked, of course, is what is my favorite restaurant? That's understandable, but it's also basically unanswerable. Because the answer depends on whether I'm in the mood for something simple or something sublime, pasta or sushi, a quick bite or a piece of restaurant theater. And though I rank restaurants according to a star system, that doesn't necessarily predict where I'll want to eat on any given night.
FOOD
December 2, 2009 | By S. Irene Virbila
When it comes to my kitchen, I'm not strictly practical. If I were, I'd have stainless steel cupboards instead of painted wood glazed with beeswax, or a concrete floor instead of wood. And I certainly wouldn't have a copper sink that threatens to turn furry and green every other day. The way things look matters to me. And that instinct for the beautiful follows me into the kitchen too. Before I begin to cook, I lay out all my ingredients in bowls and baskets. I'll pull out the shallots and garlic I keep in glazed ocher bowls that I carried back from Provence, or the bouquet of red peppers and Sicilian dried oregano that are stored in a basket a friend brought me from South Africa.
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