Ayara Thai celebrates its 18-year anniversary this week with a two-generation Thai breaker cookoff today, Aug. 25 and Friday, Aug. 26. The outdoor immersive dining experience in Westchester with the Asapahu family⁠ is sponsored by Thaan Charcoal and Ghost Tequila, and will pit mom and dad chefs Anne and Andy (old school) against daughters Vanda and Cathy (new school).

The competition will involve two dishes by team parents and team kids, one dish by team Ayara and one dessert. The meal will be served family style with Thai Hom Mali rice. There are two outdoor seatings each night: 5 p.m. and  8 p.m.; $260 for a table for four. Tax and gratuity included. Reserve here. 

The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo and Coffee Fest Los Angeles open on Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, for the first time since 2019. Both events will be held Sunday, Aug. 28 – Tuesday, Aug. 30, and one badge will grant attendees access to both events. Highlights of the events include a Wine, Whiskey and Winning Keynote Presentation featuring Scottie Pippen; an award presentation and demo by Chef Jet Tila; as well as the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship Open; Battle of the Modern Bartender Bourbon Competition; and the Rapid Fire Sandwich Edition Challenge. A full list of events can be found on the website.

Coffee Fest LA

Massis Kabob

Massis Kabob, known for authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, will host a block party to celebrate the grand opening of its first standalone restaurant in Glendale, California, at noon on Saturday, Sept. 3. This flagship location will honor the realization of late founder Hacop “Jack” Baghdassarian’s dream to bring Armenian and Persian-influenced cuisine to the forefront of California culture.

The street extravaganza is open to the public and will pay homage to the multicultural diversity of Glendale and Los Angeles, and offer live music performances from Armenian singer Harout Pamboukjian, a mariachi band, live DJ, giveaways, as well as treats including churro sundaes, an ice cream truck, and traditional Armenian coffee made using hot sand. The full Massis Kabob food menu also will be available.   

Café Gratitude Larchmont will host a Vegan Ice Cream Showdown on Labor Day that will feature live music, Oliopop root beer floats, raffle prizes, vegan bites, a photo booth, and samples from local vegan ice cream vendors including Yoga-urt, Sunscoop, Dream Pops, and JD’sVegan Ice Cream. Cafe Gratitude also is creating special boozy ice cream spritzes made just for the showdown. 

Event-goers will have the opportunity to taste, judge and vote for their favorite ice cream sample of the day, with one vendor being crowned the ultimate winner. Cafe Gratitude’s Vegan Ice Cream Showdown is on Monday, Sept. 5 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at their Larchmont location. The $20 ticketed event is available on Eventbrite.

What’s Popping Up is a weekly column in the L.A. Weekly that explores all that’s new in food and drink.
































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