Ray Garcia pops up at Atrium for a special dinner, the Slutty Vegan tour stops in L.A., zebras run wild at an April Fools’ Giraffter party, and it's time for Tomatomania at Descanso Gardens. Here's what's popping up in L.A. this week!

Tomatomania; Credit: Descanso Gardens

Tomatomania; Credit: Descanso Gardens

Friday-Sunday, March 29-31

The experts at Tomatomania — the one-stop gardening education and plant sale — return to Descanso Gardens this weekend with the solutions to all your vegetable gardening issues and questions. This year, Tomatomania has more classes, more demonstrations, more on-site gardening pros, the biggest selection of classic and unusual tomato and pepper plants, plus a new app providing access to expertise 24/7. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, have two pots on your terrace or a manicured acre, Tomatomania is a must-visit with so much to see, learn and discover. Learn about permaculture and crop rotation, the advantages of planting your tomato patch with flowers to ensure a healthy season, and how to grow in small spaces. Plus there will be cooking demos by Patina chefs and a bloody mary bar on Sunday.

Slutty Vegan burger; Credit: Slutty Vegan

Slutty Vegan burger; Credit: Slutty Vegan

Sunday, March 31

The Slutty Vegan Tour stops in L.A. at Taco Mell from 2 to 10 p.m., serving its fast-casual and completely plant-based favorites such as One Night Stand (plant-based patty, vegan bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and special sauce on a Hawaiian bun), the Super Slut (plant-based patty with guacamole, jalapeños, grilled onions and vegan cheese on a Hawaiian bun) or the Hollywood Hooker Philly (chopped Philly cheese sandwich with grilled peppers, onions and vegan mayonnaise on a wheat roll). With a huge celebrity backing from fans like Tamar Braxton, Tyler Perry, Will Packer, Tiffany Haddish and Taraji P. Henson, Pinky Cole and Slutty Vegan have created fast-casual junk food that is completely plant-based. In less than a few months, the “Slutty” revolution has vegans and meat lovers alike standing in line to experience the juicy goodness of plant-based burgers across the United States.

Monday, April 1

Join a bunch of South African “wild animals” decked out in zebra and giraffe costumes for an April Fool’s Day Giraffter party. BOS Brands will be serving cocktails infused with its newest BOS iced teas at James Beach in Venice. All BOS beverages are made with a superfood red tea called rooibos, which grows only in South Africa. Like other red superfoods, rooibos is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols and has anti-inflammatory properties. Wild animal onesies at the watering hole are optional.

Atrium in Los Feliz welcomes L.A. native chef Ray Garcia to the neighborhood for a special guest chef dinner celebrating California cuisine from 4 to 11 p.m.

Drawing his culinary inspiration from the city's rich culture, Southern California's produce and his classic training, Garcia’s pop-up dinner aside Atrium’s executive chef Hunter Pritchett is well-matched. For one night only, in addition to Atrium's regular menu, Garcia will be serving five dishes including pork rinds with chili lime spice and yuzu kosho mayo; beet salad with house-made ricotta, Cara Cara oranges, mustard frill and citrus-achiote vinaigrette; tostada with short rib, red garnet yams, cumin crema and Vidalia onion; mussels with tamarind, coconut vinegar and seeded Pullman bread; and agave-brined fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and sorghum. Dessert is mille feuille: milk chocolate cremeux, Medjool date, vanilla pastry cream, Page mandarin, salted caramel.

Reservations can be made online at OpenTable or by calling (323) 607-6944.

Through April 11, Inko Nito is featuring a new menu residency in association with its sister concept, Zuma. Guests at the Japanese robatayaki in the Arts District will be treated to a supplementary menu of signature sushi, sashimi and sake from Zuma Restaurant, while retaining the ability to enjoy Inko Nito’s live-fired, contemporary flavors such as pork belly skewers with chili and Japanese whisky glaze; and beef cheek and butter lettuce wraps with Korean miso and pickled daikon.

The Zuma Residency menu will showcase dishes that diners have, as of yet, been unable to enjoy in Los Angeles. Dishes will include Wagyu beef sushi with black truffle and daikon, toro and caviar maki rolls and Santa Barbara sea urchin miso buns.

The menu will be overseen by Zuma Group sushi chef Yoshiaki Muranaka, who will relocate to L.A. throughout the duration of the residency to create daily specials using seasonal products. Inko Nito executive chef Hamish Brown will offer daily “robata” specials that may include lamb chops with Korean chili and sesame cucumber or aea bream with saikyo miso and pickled red onion. Signature Zuma cocktails include a raspberry and passionfruit martini or wasabi ginger mule alongside its white-label sake and Inko Nito’s carbonated on-tap cocktails.

Giant blue fortune cookie, white and dark chocolate mousse at TAO; Credit: TAO Group

Giant blue fortune cookie, white and dark chocolate mousse at TAO; Credit: TAO Group

For the fourth year in a row, restaurant and nightlife company TAO Group and TAO Cares are kicking off a nationwide effort to support and shed light on World Autism Awareness Month in April. Throughout the entire month, new blue-themed dishes will be added to menus at TAO Group properties across the United States, in honor of the official color. Specialty menu items include a giant blue fortune cookie, 24-ounce aged prime T-bone steak fajita with blue corn tortillas and a blueberry pavlova. TAO Group will be contributing 10 percent of the proceeds of each “blue-themed” item to Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization; Eden II Programs, a school program offering a center-based full day program for people with autism/PDD; and additional World Autism Awareness initiatives.

LA Weekly