Wagashi workshop: Tokyo confectionery master Chikara Mizukami will lead two workshops next month on wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets. Mizukami will prepare handmade "namagashi" pastries inspired by nature, ancient literature and Japanese poems, and discuss how wagashi has evolved into an art form. Participants will taste the distinctive flavors and textures, served with tea, and learn about ingredients and techniques. Mizukami's first visit to the U.S. was made possible with a grant from the Japanese American National Museum. Classes will be held in Venice and downtown Los Angeles. Call for reservations. Nov. 17 and 18 at Tortoise General Store, 1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 314-8448, www.tortoisegeneralstore.com. Nov. 19 at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 625-0414, www.janm.org.
Margaritas and los Muertos: Tequila bar El Carmen is celebrating Dia de los Muertos on Wednesday with drink specials, a deejay and traditional painted faces. Classic margaritas will be $5 and Tecate will cost $4, served by employees who will be sporting Dia de los Muertos painted faces. Guests are encouraged to arrive in painted faces or Dia de los Muertos costumes too. DJ Garron Gash will be spinning. Wednesday marks the second day of the two-day celebration of Dia de los Muertos, the day on which deceased adults are honored. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. 8138 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 852-1552, www.elcarmenrestaurant.com.
Cupcakes + Art: Urban Food Crawl, which hosts weekly vegan food tours in downtown L.A., is holding a vegan cupcake competition, dubbed Cupcakes + Art. Ten L.A. bakers will bake vegan mini cupcakes, to be judged at the gallery Hold Up Art in Little Tokyo, with a cupcake-themed art show. Proceeds from art sales go to the winning baker's charity of choice. Competitors are: Bake You Happy, Crushcakes & Cafe, Jamaica's Cakes, Sweet Alexis, Courtesan Cupcakes, Amanda's Bakery & Cafe, Babycakes, No Udder Desserts, Claracakes and Rawbites. Attendees will eat and vote on the cupcakes. Tickets are $35; buy them online. Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. 358 E. 2nd St., Los Angeles.
L.A.-made fall-themed sweets
Go ahead, bring your iPad into the kitchen
Downtown bars do scary this weekend for Halloween
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Wagashi Japanese sweets. Credit: tortoisegeneralstore.com