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Pop-up Restaurants

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pop-up Restaurants

Jin Patisserie Pops Up for Mother's Day

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Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 4:11 PM
macarons at Jin Patisserie - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • macarons at Jin Patisserie
For everyone who is still mourning the closing, now more than a year ago, of Jin Patisserie in Venice, you might want to mark your calendars for Sunday, May 11. That's Mother's Day, and even if you don't have a mother handy (or aren't one yourself), you might want to make Sunday tea reservations, because for that one day only, Kristy Choo's much-loved pastry shop will be taking over Si Laa Thai restaurant on Robertson Boulevard.

Choo will be serving a high tea and, we're told, doing chocolate sculptures. Will there be macarons? I'd say it's a pretty safe bet.

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The "peas and carrots" at Ktchn in Pasadena - B. RODELL
  • B. Rodell
  • The "peas and carrots" at Ktchn in Pasadena
Beer, sausages and sunshine. Is there anything in life that goes together better? It's these three components that make up the bulk of the business plan at Picnik, the new restaurant in Pasadena from chef Eduardo Ruiz (also of Corazon y Miel). The restaurant is in partnership with Jack and Karen Huang, the owners of Bar Celona and Sorriso, also in Pasadena. 

The property, which sits at the western end of Old Town Pasadena's retail strip, is actually a number of restaurant spaces surrounding a large outdoor patio space. In order to get the most out of this arrangement, Ruiz and crew have come up with an interesting model: to ask other vendors to set up shop in the space Picnik doesn't need.

So around the courtyard, other options are slowly cropping up. Some will be pop-ups, some more permanent. So far there's a Bulgarini Gelato stand (operating on weekends for now), and Zona Rosa Coffee, which began serving over this past weekend. There are also plans for cocktail pop-ups in the small upstairs bar space, beginning in a couple of weeks. The first will bring the bar team from Corazon y Miel on Monday nights for Punch at Picnik, which will feature exotic punch offerings by the glass and bowl. Punch will officially debut in two weeks.

But perhaps most exciting is Ktchn, a breakfast operation from Felix G. Barron, who has been popping up in the Gorbals space on weekends for a couple of years now.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

A dish at Noma - CYCLONEBILL/FLICKR
Copenhagen's Noma, which has often been called the best restaurant in the world, serves local food, but not like a West Hollywood cafe serving $17 salads. Noma's teams of foragers scour the ample Danish countryside for scores of obscure herbs, greens, and berries to go with those horse mussels and musk ox slivers. The result is some magical, artistic, place-specific fare we wish we had the money to enjoy. The idea of Noma existing somewhere besides Scandinavia wouldn't make sense. The restaurant is inseparable from its setting.

Until 2015. For two months in the beginning of next year, Noma chef Rene Redzepi will be moving his restaurant to Tokyo's Kikunoi, one of three famous kaiseki establishments owned by Japanese celebrity chef Yoshihiro Murata.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Mama Musubi's salmon and kelp rice balls - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Mama Musubi's salmon and kelp rice balls
Why some so-called street food grabs a city's attention and not others is a mystery for the anthropologists - or maybe the folks at Lucky Peach. There are, thank God, tacos and fruit carts on repeating corners in L.A. But it remains bafflingly difficult to find good omusubi, also called onigiri, the phenomenally delicious filled rice balls that operate like portable snacks in Tokyo. You can find sad refrigerated iterations in the cases at Mitsuwa and other Japanese groceries, but other than the Onigiri Truck and Sunny Blue, a very cool and very tiny shop in Santa Monica, there isn't much else.

Or so we thought until a recent pilgrimage to the Altadena farmers market, where Phillip and Carol Kwan have for the last year been setting up their Mama Musubi rice ball operation. The brother-and-sister team launched Mama Musubi at the first 626 Night Market in 2012, operate as a catering company, and attend the Altadena Wednesday market. Tonight, March 7, and for the next week, the Kwans will be popping up at Aburyiya Toranoko in Little Tokyo - their first pop-up event. 

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcake Cart Pops Up in Santa Monica

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Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 7:39 AM
Valentine's Day cupcakes - SPRINKLES CUPCAKES
  • Sprinkles cupcakes
  • Valentine's Day cupcakes
Sprinkles cupcakes just got a whole lot closer for beach-dwellers, with the temporary addition of a Sprinkles cupcake cart, to be parked in the lobby of the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica for four days over this weekend, from Friday, Feb. 14 to Monday, Feb. 17. The cupcakes will all be adorned with sugar decorations in the shapes of XOX and hearts - because, of course, today's Valentine's Day.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Oysters at Barbershop Ristorante - CLAY LARSEN
  • Clay Larsen
  • Oysters at Barbershop Ristorante
Goodbye, Westside. Chef Walter el Nagar's consistently fleeting Italian pop-ups, titled Barbershop Ristorante, have been moving progressively east, with earlier stints in Venice and upstairs at the A.O.C. space on West Third Street. Now the chef, known for his work at beach-town haunts such as Il Grano, Piccolo and La Botte, is putting down roots in the heart of Hollywood.

For the fifth installment of Barbershop, el Nagar will be serving his modernist cuisine inside the Farmer's Kitchen on Selma. The extended stint will run Wednesday through Saturday nights, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., through Feb. 15. Barbershop will forgo its usual timed seatings in favor of a more relaxed reservation policy, inviting guests to belly up to the well-lit bar space to interact with the open kitchen in real time.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Pork Belly's - FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
  • Pork Belly's

Last time we poked around inside Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop in Venice, the namesake slabs of swine were winning over customers in the Abbot Kinney location, even if some people couldn't handle all that fat. But owner Jon Swire has always been looking beyond his diminutive Venice space, with an eye toward pushing the concept into other corners of Los Angeles.

Step one came in the form of a food truck, offering limited lunchtime service in Santa Monica and Hollywood, with the occasional private catering gig. Now, Pork Belly's is hitting the next inevitable stage: a pop-up.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lavender hot chocolate at Demitasse in Little Tokyo - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Lavender hot chocolate at Demitasse in Little Tokyo

Demitasse Desserts and Drinks Pop-up

The self-described coffee geeks at Demitasse are hosting a pop-up event for dessert lovers. For $35, guests can sample a four-course menu of dessert plates, each paired with a tea or coffee. Barista Sean Panzer's pairings will include oolong tea with lemon foam and microbasil pulled sugar, and espresso with chocolate-hazelnut biscotti. RSVP for a spot at one of two seatings, at 6 or 8 p.m.

WHAT: Desserts and Drinks Pop-Up

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 17, 6 and 8 p.m.

WHERE: Cafe Demitasse, 1149 Third St., Santa Monica; 310-260-6308.

COST: $35. Reservations required.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pop-up Restaurants

Dinner Lab Underground Supper Club Comes to Los Angeles

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Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM
COURTESY DINNER LAB
  • Courtesy Dinner Lab

Despite what you may have heard, underground pop-up dinners in Los Angeles aren't extinct; they've just gone further down the rabbit hole. Hence the forthcoming expansion of Dinner Lab, a nationwide private pop-up dinner service that looks to marry the experience of fine dining, seriously out-of-the-box dinner destinations and lots and lots of data (more on that in a minute).

The Dinner Lab crew, helmed by Brian Bordainick and a few of his closest friends, grew out of a mutual frustration at the late night dining scene in New Orleans. Despite some of the friendliest drinking laws in the country, New Orleans' late night food options have been nearly non-existent for years, which led Bordainick and his pals to begin a series of twilight pop-up dinners throughout the city. Without the proper permitting, know-how or capital to operate within a fully operational restaurant, the group would throw dinner parties in warehouses, on rooftops -- basically anywhere that seemed cool and had running water.

After retooling their business model to, you know, try and actually make some money, the Dinner Lab team was officially formed, with the idea of creating a private yearly membership of willing diners who would plunk down the annual fee plus the cost of a coursed-out and drink-paired meal in some of the area's most obscure and eclectic settings.

Dinner Labs now exist in New York City, Austin, Nashville and New Orleans, pushing the same communal dining agenda in a variety of unique locations. And this week -- in fact, today, on Wed., Sept. 25 -- it's finally coming to Los Angeles.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Barbecue

Ugly Drum Small Batch BBQ Pops Up at The Spice Table

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Ugly Drum Combo Plate - BRYANT NG
  • Bryant Ng
  • Ugly Drum Combo Plate

If you've never heard of Erik Black's small batch BBQ outfit, Ugly Drum, check out its Facebook page. There, you'll see close-ups of big peppery slabs of ribs or Ugly Drum partner Joe Marcos standing sentry over pieces of slow cooking chicken; in one photo, long ropes of hot links are shot as lovingly as a '40s movie star.

Want to know how Black's and Marcos' long-cooked meats get their finely articulated smoky flavor? Check out the orange-topped Ugly Drums: two gleaming 55-gallon steel barrels outfitted with 22-inch Weber replacement grills that Black assembled after watching "like, fifty You Tube videos of people showing off their drums and saying, 'This is how I built mine...'"

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