There will be multiple opportunities to get smoky this weekend. In addition to the weekly Smorgasburg Sunday market, the food festival continues with the first-ever Smorgasburg BBQ Invitational and Memorial Day Weekend Carnival, Saturday, May 25, through Monday, May 27, at Santa Anita Park.   They will also have corgi races, carnival rides and horse racing.

The lineup of barbecue vendors looking to win their way into Smorgasburg include:

Beatdown BBQ: Adobo-inspired East LA BBQ

BBQ burritos, smoked birria, Texas Hot Tub, BBQ plates, meats, and sides.  

Domestic BBQ: Cali Crafted BBQ using flavors reminiscent of its Hispanic heritage and local upbringing

BBQ Platter of brisket, chicken and pulled pork, chipotle BBQ brisket flautas, pulled pork and brisket sandwiches 

Island Smoke & Grill: Guam BBQ


Smorgasburg BBQ Invitational at Santa Anita

Smoked BBQ chicken, ribs and dry beef, red rice and pickled papaya  

Mecha BBQ: Mexican-inspired BBQ 

Mole smoked tacos, nachos, pulled pork, trim-tip or brisket: Oaxaca mac and cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and in-house barbecue sauce.  

Nia & Jags Barbecue: Central Texas-style BBQ with a Cuban/New Mexico influence 

Brisket, turkey, pulled pork, baked mac, lime cilantro coleslaw, loaded black beans over white rice, banana pudding, freshly squeezed lemonade, cherry Kool-Aid with whipped cream.  

Saulitos BBQ: Texas-inspired with a touch of L.A. culture

Brisket, trim-tip, Al pastor pulled pork, ribs, Dino bones, half-pound brisket burger, loaded pulled pork nachos, LA Street dog, smoked barbecue chicken quesa tacos, and more.  

Zef BBQ: Traditional Texas-style BBQ meets not-so-traditional flavors. 

Pork belly burnt ends, SPAM musubi, brisket curry bowl and Sichuan pork noodles

Ticket packages start at $30 and include admission, barbecue scrip, parking, a horse racing program, and a tip sheet. Unlimited ride wristbands for the carnival can be added to any package. For more info and to purchase your tickets, go to Santa Anita Park’s website.


Kansas City Style BBQ (Courtesy De La Nonna)

Hosted by Nightlife Empire, Beverly Hills Hospitality, and B0$$ COHEN, 1212 Santa Monica will host a nightclub event from 10 p.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, May 25, featuring guest DJs and other performances. Dance to top 40 music and hip-hop, across two levels with a view from Skybox VIP Balcony. There will be a huge stage with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and plenty of late-night food at the indoor/outdoor event. Tickets start at $10 and go up to $50, with VIP bottle service available. Tickets and more information are linked here.

On every last Sunday of the month, De La Nonna’s sous chef, Justin Pachmayr, and his partner, Elena Martinez (Mayo Boys), cook up Kansas City-style BBQ all hours of the day in the Arts District. On Sunday, May 26, the duo will be smoking all kinds of barbecue including ribs, pulled pork, and classic sides like cornbread, and baked beans. 

Night Market at The Bungalow Santa Monica returns to The Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Thursday, June 6, and will run every Thursday until Aug. 29. On opening night, Jason Momoa will guest bartend with his own Meili Vodka and will perform with his band ÖOF TATATÁ. Also, expect an appearance from Aaron Paul and his Dos Hombres Mezcal. Food vendors and spirits brands for the summer include Tacos 1986, The Boiling Crab, Good Times Ice cream, The Lonely Oyster, House of Empanadas, Rancho West Beer, Lalo Tequila and Hendricks Gin.

Flavors of Origin presented by Higher Ground For Humanity will return for its annual celebration of food, culture and community on Sunday, June 2, at Mar Vista Farmers Market. From expert panel discussions to live performances, cooking demonstrations, and a diverse variety of culinary samplings, the festival promotes healthy eating habits while celebrating the cultures that make up the Los Angeles community, fostering unity through oral history and family traditions. Explore new foods, beverages and recipes, and cultivate a healthy relationship with food while raising awareness of nutritious vendors and products. Local farmers and small businesses will be on hand to share insights and tips for making micro-behavioral changes that lead to better health outcomes.

World-renowned, multiple Michelin-starred chef Mads Refslund is coming to  Shirley Brasserie in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will host a one-night-only guest chef dinner on Thursday, May 30. The co-founder of Copenhagen’s famous NOMA, pioneer of the new Nordic cuisine movement and winner of Best New Restaurant last year for the opening of ILIS in NYC, will present a five-course dinner, curated specially for this one-time-only event. Courses include diver scallops with peas and hazelnuts, grilled white asparagus, BBQ black cod with strawberries, aged duck with spring lettuce and salted plums, and wheatgrass granita with caramelized goat milk.

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


1212 Santa Monica (Ryan Tanaka)

































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