Chef Raphael Lunetta, in collaboration with Executive Chef Emillio Cuyuch, will host an indulgent paella experience starting Wednesday, Aug. 9, through Saturday, Aug. 12, as part of the Taste Of Lunetta summer tasting menu series.

Presented in the traditional copper pan, it’s laden with bay scallops, steamed clams, roasted mussels, tender squid, sautéed wild shrimp, rock shrimp, roasted Jidori chicken, chistorra, in lobster broth with saffron-infused bomba rice.

The Spanish tasting experience starts off with an amuse-bouche for two, featuring marinated olives alongside pan con tomate y jamon, followed by zucchini blossoms with basil-infused ricotta, complemented by aged sherry and mandarin tomato concasse. For the main course, there’s the choice of paella or a grilled lavender rack of lamb with roasted eggplant, confit tomatoes, sugar snap peas, olives, and crispy fingerling potatoes alongside a harissa lamb reduction. Orange flan is for dessert. The tasting experience is offered at $78 per person, reservations are highly recommended, as these dinners usually sell out.


Ramen Burger (Courtesy JACCC)

For the 10-year anniversary of the original Ramen Burger, Keizo Shimamoto, the new Director of Culinary Events at The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, will bring back his famed novelty creation to the JACCC plaza during the 80th Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Little Tokyo on Saturday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug. 20. Shimamoto’s $10 viral sensation features fresh ramen noodles boiled and pan seared and pressed into buns that sandwich a juicy beef patty with a variety of toppings like arugula and scallions and a house-made shoyu sauce.  All of the proceeds will benefit will benefit the Nisei Week Foundation.


Barbie cocktail (Courtesy Balboa Bay Resort)

Gordon Ramsay’s Next Level Chef Season 1 Winner Pyet Despain will host an indigenous fusion popup at the Red Room natural wine bar in Koreatown from Thursday, Aug. 10, to Saturday, Aug. 12. Pyet’s Plate pays tribute to the chef’s Native American and Mexican heritage, with ingredients like braised bison, smoked tepary bean, and tomatillos. There will be a selection of wines from the indigenous winemaking team at Camins 2 Dreams, special dance performances by Jamaal-Isaac Jones, a member of the Navajo Nation tribe (Friday and Saturday only), as well as a popup mural on display by Native American artist Lauren “Siyowin” Peters. No reservations are required, walk-ins only.

Heading south? Newport Beach’s Balboa Bay Resort will host a Flecha Azul Happy Hour Hosted By Mark Wahlberg on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, but space is limited, so arrive early to join the party. The Tequila Bar is located through the restaurant along the waterfront boardwalk. Also available at the Tequila Bar, is a limited-edition Barbie and Ken-Dall cocktail, made with 818 Tequila and glittering pink cotton candy.

The new beachside Mediterranean restaurant and courtyard lounge, Mon Ami in Santa Monica, will launch a new brunch weekend menu on Saturday, Aug. 12, with extended weekend daytime hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Expect classic breakfast plates like the PCH Steak and Eggs, Mon Ami French Toast, Sicilian Scramble, and light options like honey Greek parfait and a spicy vegan scramble. House-made Spanish salchicha and Moroccan-inspired shakshuka also are on the menu, as well as a Capri spritz, a gazpacho-based Bloody Mary and a tiramisu latte cocktail.  

August 15 marks the beginning of the summer holidays in Italy known as Ferragosto, where many Italians have one last hurrah at home before heading off on their vacations. Eataly Los Angeles will celebrate on Thursday, Aug. 17 with endless traditional Ferragosto bites, classic summer spritz, Italian wines, and live entertainment.

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


Braised bison (Pyet Despain)















































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