On Wednesday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m., the Fairmont Century Plaza will debut the Havana Nights pop-up experience. The property’s popular winter chalets will be transformed into an outdoor Cuban-inspired cocktail lounge reminiscent of 1950s Havana. 

Through a partnership with SelvaRey Rum, the cocktail lounge will serve a curated menu of Mojitos, Cuba Libres, and more, featuring the premium rum brand co-owned by Bruno Mars and the sustainable rum distillery. The dining menu from Executive Chef Ramon Bojorquez will offer a twist on Cuban classics like plantains, croquettes, and Cubano sandwiches. Also expect DJ nights, Cuban band performances, mixology evenings, game nights, cigar rolling, and more. 

From Sunday, April 21, to Saturday, April 28, all Telefèric Barcelona locations will celebrate St. Jordi with a special menu offering chorizo bao featuring a steamed bao bun filled with chorizo, cheese and honey. St Jordi, known as La Diada de Sant Jordi in Catalan, celebrates the legend of Saint George slaying a dragon to save a princess. It’s a day full of love and connection, similar to Valentine’s Day in America. In Spain, it’s tradition to exchange roses and books with loved ones and colleagues, honoring medieval times and literary legends like Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso.  


Chorizo bao (Courtesy Telefèric Barcelona)

As the official hotel partner for BeachLife Music Festival, which takes place just steps from the hotel, Portofino will host BeachLife Brunch, a ticketed event open to the public on Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Pacific Ballroom, with a buffet that includes bottomless mimosas, and live acoustic tunes by Mark Castrillion. Tickets are available HERE and begin at $45/adult. The Portofino Hotel & Marina will host BeachLife Festival after-parties on Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m., for festival-goers age 21 and older. There will be a  DJ in the newly renovated lobby featuring the  Portofino Pours Taps Wall all night long. BeachLife ticket holders can RSVP for free now until next week, available on Airtable. After next week, After-party tickets are available for $50 each.

This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center will host the return of its celebrated Rising Chef Series — a dinner series created in partnership with the House of Suntory convening emerging Asian American chefs in a celebration of food and culture.

 Starting on Monday, April 30, through May, the JACCC Culinary Center will open its doors to three immersive dinner experiences, featuring a five-course prix-fixe menu and three signature House of Suntory cocktail pairings inspired by each Rising chef’s culture and experiences. The pop-up will run from Tuesday to Wednesday through three weeks in May, with two 90-minute seatings each night. Tickets for the 21 and older experience are available here. This year’s lineup includes H Woo Lee, Debi Min and Peter Duong.


Buellton Brew Fest (Patrick Muniz)

The 2024 Buellton Brew Fest returns on Saturday, May 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at River View Park. This year’s event will bring the Star Wars spirit and guests are encouraged to bring their best Star Wars costumes. The lucky costume winners will be announced on stage.

 The Brew Festival will feature more than 50 breweries, wineries and spirits including Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Agua Santa Mexican Lager, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, and more. There also will be live entertainment by Central Coast residents Molly Ringwald Project and True Zion. The Molly Ringwald Project will have everyone reeling from nostalgia with its ‘80s tribute songs. True Zion will bring fresh-roots reggae to the festival. Put your gaming skills to the test with the mega-sized beer pong and the cornhole. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets — there will be a wide variety of food trucks on-site to satisfy your taste buds. 

Lunetta Restaurant will celebrate its seventh anniversary with a special $72 per person dinner menu that includes caramelized beet salad and wood-grilled Spanish octopus for 

Starters, followed by a choice of dramatic bouillabaisse overflowing with local halibut, ahi tuna, little neck clams, black mussels, bay scallops, Pacific shrimp, squid couscous, and lobster fume or herb-roasted lamb loin. Accompaniments include roasted yellowfin potato samosa, curried vegetable moussaka, and thyme-scented lamb jus. Mixed berry cheesecake is for dessert. This Taste of Lunetta runs through Friday, April 19.

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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