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Chew On This: Grilled Cheese Month at The Counter, Palate Closed Permanently, & More Spring Cocktails

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Chew On This took a little hiatus last week because we were chewing on some amazing eats in New York City (hello Mile End Deli, Flatbush Farms, Dough, and...yeah, Shake Shack). But we're back with your weekly round-up of L.A. food, chef, and dining news.

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You can get "The Western" at The Counter until April 8 (Photo courtesy The Counter)
Grilled Cheese Month at The Counter
April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and The Counter is celebrating by having a new grilled cheese sandwich on the menu each week. Here's what they'll have at all 12 L.A.-area Counter locations:
- April 2-8: The Western - Tillamook Cheddar, American, Black Forest Ham, Fried Onion Strings, Sweet BBQ Sauce
- April 9-15: The Kicker - Jalapeno Jack, Tillamook Cheddar, Fresh Jalapenos, Tomatoes, Chipotle Aioli
- April 16-22: The Grilled Greek - Feta, Provolone, Cucumber, Olives, Spinach, Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
- April 23-29: Red, White & Blue - Blue Cheese, Swiss, Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers, Basil Pesto

Yes, Josiah Citrin is Slinging Burgers in Hawaii
Josiah Citrin, the chef/owner of longstanding fave Melisse in Santa Monica has indeed been moonlighting on the shores of Maui. He confirmed this week via a PR release that he and partner Scott Picard are behind Sure Thing Burger, where the burger's the thing: the "concept focuses on Citrin’s expression of the perfectly executed burger, using hormone and antibiotic-free grass-fed beef and locally sourced ingredients. The menu includes four burger varieties - beef, pork, veggie and turkey - each crafted with Citrin’s sauce combination and custom bun recipe." Looks like Maui is just the start; they plan to set up Sure Thing around the U.S.

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Glendale's Palate Food + Wine Shuttered Permanently
It was one of the only reasons to make dinner plans in Glendale: Octavio Becerra's divine Palate Food + Wine has closed down. There had been rumors there was only going to be brief shutter, but as posted on their site by Becerra, that's not the case: "The spirit and essence of the dream that was palate was no longer sustainable. Our sudden realization of this, combined with the organization of proper notifications within a very short period of time have left some feeling - well, like us, shocked." We're bummed, too.

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Wild Orchid created by Brady Weise (Photo by: acuna-hansen)
Spring Cocktails Have Sprung at 1886
The best cocktail bar in Pasadena has their Spring drinks menu up and running. "This time, we set out to create a list that had drinks you definitely want to order over and over again - drinks that are light and refreshing, but also really makes our guests to think of spring," says 1886 at The Raymond's Head Barman, Garrett McKechnie. Drink local via the MacArthur Park Swizzle (XO and Agricole Rum with fresh lime juice and a secret Tiki mix, topped with Allspice Dram and nutmeg) as created by Marcos Tello. They also have the Pimms #5, (herbal liquors,Rye, topped with refreshing Bitter Lemon Fever Tree Tonic). Their cocktail menu is expansive and always a delight to drink through, so whether you prefer Shaken or Stirred, there's likely one for you.Cherry Blossom Festival at CHAYA Downtown
CHAYA Downtown is going to usher in Cherry Blossom season with a 2-week long festival on their outdoor patio, from Monday, April 16 through Friday, April 27, 2012. Special menu items will be a part of the celebration, like an assortment of dumplings, sushi rolls, and picnic fare, served under the cherry blossom trees at the restaurant. The cherry blossom-inspired dishes from the kitchen and the sushi bar ($5-8) include items like Asparagus-Wrapped Angus New York Strip with Balsamic Ponzu, Steamed BBQ Pork Bun, and Tai Sakura Sushi with Cherry Blossom Leaves. Served on the patio, Monday-Friday from 4 p.m. to close.

Vic Casanova's New Gig: Solo at Gusto
Celebrated chef Vic Casanova is leaving Culina at the Four Seasons, and in a "dream come true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (he tells Eater LA) happening, is taking on a project of his own. He's opening Gusto, which is going in at the shuttred Allora Cucina Italiana on Third Street. More from EaterLA:

The cozy 35-seater restaurant will offer dinner only, focused on Vic's rustic Italian plates which he describes as "soulful" and "delicious food with no boundaries." Just like his food at Culina, Gusto too will follow the farm to table mantra. Although Vic is still finalizing the menu he estimates about 25 savory plates, about half of which will serve as signature dishes and the other half of which will evolve seasonally. Think antipasti, fresh pasta, pizza, secondi, contorni, and dolci all at a neighborhood-friendly price point.
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A Few Extra Nibbles:

  • Congrats to KCRW's "Good Food" and the other local winners of the IACP awards [Eater National]
  • Pitfire Pizza opens in West Hollywood [Gourmet Pigs]
  • Saladworks Is the Love Child of Chipotle and Quiznos [Stick a Fork In It]
  • Groupon Settles Lawsuit Over Expiration Dates + How to Use Expired Groupons [Squid Ink]
  • Cadbury Egg Doughnuts [Kitchen Daily]

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