MISE 店, a culinary and home store dedicated to Japanese cooking, opens on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and will be open from Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., during all special events at the JACCC, and also by appointment. The sleek storefront in the museum lobby arrives on the heels of the JACCC’s new culinary program, which has hosted fine dining concepts Niki Nakayama’s n/soto and currently houses Hansei by Chris Ono.

Opening weekend will feature a full weekend of tastings, workshops, and activities led by Japanese artisans from the city of Tsubame Sanjo in the Niigata prefecture, legendary for metal works, to share their craft exclusively at MISE. Highlights include: 

  • Knife Sharpening with Tsukasa Hinoura, one of Japan’s most recognized knife makers, will lead a workshop to sharpen and finish Santoku-style Hinoura knives, which have a years-long waitlist. The workshop includes a knife forged by Master Tsukasa Hinoura. 
  • Gardening with Rieko Asano, this third-generation maker of specialty Japanese gardening tools, will show participants how to use specific tools for various garden needs, including planting, hoeing, clipping and trimming. Fun fact: Rieko redesigned her family’s line of custom-made tools to be better suited for women (the tools were originally designed by the founders for local farmers, who were traditionally male). Rieko adapted these tools to be used by all home gardening enthusiasts. 
  • Onigiri Rice Ball Making Class. Using rice from Niigata and all-natural dashi stock from Tsubamesanjo, discover new ways to make flavorful onigiri. A hands-on demonstration and onigiri samples on clever and delicious ways to make Japan’s favorite dish.
  • Sake Tastings. Niigata is famous for its sake due to its unique climate and geography,  known globally to produce some of the most famous and elegant sake. Join sake sommeliers from the Sake School of America to sample some of Niigata’s famous brew.

Halloween menu (Courtesy Tuk Tuk Thai)

On Sunday, Oct. 29, Italian neighborhood cafe and marketplace Sogno Toscano in Santa Monica will celebrate its 100-day opening with a gift basket from its marketplace for the first 100 guests, which includes Orecchiette Pugliesi, 1923 EVOO Olive Oil tin, Italian Cherry Tomato Sauce and a secret gift upon purchase of an item from the cafe. 

Tuk Tuk Thai on Sawtelle is serving seasonal Halloween specials, available now through Tuesday, Oct.  31, from chef Amanda Maneesilasan like Gop Gratiem (frog legs with loaded garlic and black pepper) Grapow Kai Yiew Maa (thousand-year-old egg, ground chicken with chili, garlic, and crispy basil) Crispy Pla Tod (salt and pepper fried crispy smelt fish with garlic, chili, and scallion) and Buad F*ck Tong (pumpkin poached in coconut milk and coconut sugar.)

On Halloween, the popular Echo Park sake izakaya OTOTO will transform into the Midnight Diner, inspired by the Japanese Netflix series. All staff will be dressed as Master in his signature blue samue, and Master Charles will be cooking up favorites from the series like Tonjiru (pork and vegetable miso soup), Ham Katsu (breaded and fried ham), Curry Ramen, Tebasaki Karaage (deep fried chicken wings) Tamago Sando, Yakisoba Dog, Asari Sakamushi (sake steamed clams) and more on the all-Midnight Diner menu on Oct. 31 only. No reservations, just first-come, first-served.


OTOTO transforms into the Midnight Diner on Halloween


Chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne are hosting Make it Japanese author Rie McClenny at Caldo Verde,  at the Downtown LA Proper Hotel on Tuesday, Oct.  24 for an evening featuring recipes from McClenny’s cookbook.  The star of BuzzFeed Tasty’s Make it Fancy video series will prepare miso bagna cauda and mini Okonomiyaki, followed by soba noodle salad, red snapper nitsuke, ribeye steak with shoyu garlic sauce and more. To purchase a seat ($85) and make a reservation, visit OpenTable.

TenderFest returns to Beverly Hills for its third year on Sunday, Oct. 22, and will showcase a variety of tenders experiences from Le Coupe, Raising Cane’s, Harold & Belle’s, Delilah, Pioneer Chicken, Community Goods, Love Baked Wings, Trippie’s Strips & Dips, and Caviar Kaspia (VIP Only.) 

This year’s entrants in the “conTENDER” competition include Burt Bakman, of SLAB and Sant’olina; Trill Tenders; Joan McNamara of Joan’s on Third; and Maynard Llera of Kuya Lord, one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants of 2023. The chefs will battle it out for a cash prize going to the charity of their choice and bragging rights of “Best Tenders in Los Angeles.” The panel of judges includes music producer Benny Blanco;  journalist Andy Wang; rapper Trippe Redd; and model, actress and founder of Beis and Onda, Shay Mitchell. 

As part of the Los Angeles Sentinel’s 90th Anniversary, celebrity chair Tiffany Haddish will kick off the festivities at this year’s Taste of Soul Family Festival on Saturday, Oct. 21, on Crenshaw Boulevard. There will be performances by The Whispers and no less than 100 food vendors, including plant-based Hugh’s Hot Bowls.

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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