Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Datebook

Get your cupcake on this Saturday

Cupcakes 
Cupcake lovers are heading off to camp: Cupcake Camp LA.

Part fund-raiser, part bake-off and mostly just a really good excuse to eat cupcakes, Cupcake Camp LA comes to the Music Box Theater in Hollywood Saturday to showcase the work of commercial and amateur bakers.

You'll get to vote for your favorite cupcake. In addition to good 'ol fashion cupcakes, there will also be holiday-themed and wedding cupcakes unveiled during the day's two tasting sessions. One will be held from noon to 2 p.m., the other from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 apiece and include five tasting coupons. Tickets for younger than five are $5 apiece and include three tasting coupons, and there will be a special area for kids to try their hand at decorating cupcakes.

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Shucking and jiving with the 'Oyster Gourmet'

The-Oyster-Gourmet-and-his- Chef Christophe Happillon, known as the "Oyster Gourmet," is getting around town these days. He's currently booked to shuck and serve a variety of oysters -- complete with in-depth descriptions of the regions they are from, their flavor and other specific characteristics -- at Church & State on Tuesday nights and at Joe's in Venice on Friday nights.

The maître ecailler (shellfish specialist) brings along his own handy oyster bar complete with crushed ice and all kinds of tasty oyster toppings such as handmade cocktail sauce and a shallot and vinegar mignonette. Varieties he serves include Carlsbad Luna, Totten Virginica, Kumamoto and Fanny Bay.

At Church & State, sommelier Jeremiah Henderson likes to pair Happillon's oysters with an icy Muscadet. Happillion sells his delectable offerings for $19 per half-dozen and $38 for a dozen. So gobble them up before dinner. Or after dinner, or during dinner...

Happillon is at Church & State on Tuesdays from 6 to 10 p.m. 1850 Industrial St., L.A. (213) 405-1434; www.churchandstatebistro.com. He is at Joe's on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 399-5811; www.joesrestaurant.com.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Christophe Happillon at Church & State. Credit: Church & State.

A belly full of booze and braiiiins at the Newport Beach Zombie Pub Crawl

Zombieminn
On Saturday afternoon in Newport Beach, if you're so inclined, you'll have the perfect excuse to get dead drunk. Go ahead, stagger from bar to bar, moaning and drooling on yourself. Tear at your clothes and scream "braiiiins" if you feel like it. No one will stop you.

That's because it will be Zombie Pub Crawl day, the one day of the year that you can act like a hopeless drunk without actually being one.

Organized by the website localhipster.com (which devotes itself to the noble pursuit of curating and highlighting happy-hour specials in Orange County), the inaugural Zombie Pub Crawl represents some definite Halloween event-planning synergy. Zombies are very much en vogue this season, and alcohol never goes out of style.

Better yet, though, the parallels between a zombie and a besotted human are uncanny: a lack of motor function; an insatiable appetite; a tendency to groan indecipherably; a sallow, jaundiced appearance; disheveled clothing marked by stains of an unknown provenance; bad breath; and a generally uncouth countenance are just the beginning.

To read the rest of Jessica Gelt's story, click here.

Photo: Headed to the bar. Participants in a Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis. Credit: Amy B. Nelson Mingo.

Three Food Events You Should Know About: Your Oktoberfest weekend begins with beer

Oktoberfest
ONGOING

Oktoberfest goes global October is for Oktoberfest, but at the Culver Hotel that doesn't mean all German food all the time. Instead the iconic, wedge-shaped hotel will serve an "Around the World" Oktoberfest menu (throughout the month) that pairs beers with their matching cultural comfort food. You get five courses in all, beginning with Germany (sausage, bacon and potato salad and Hefeweizen); then moving on to Japan (sesame-crusted ahi tuna and Sapporo); Southern California (organic butternut squash ravioli and Angel City Ale); Colorado (braised Colorado lamb and Hoptoberfest); and finally Mexico (churros with vanilla ice cream/Dos Equis). Best of all? The price. Dinner is $28; make that $38 with beer pairings. Sign me up! Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd., Culver City. (310) 558-9400. www.culverhotel.com.

SUNDAY

Tasting Abbot Kinney Join what's being dubbed an urban adventure with the very first Taste of Abbot Kinney. Walk the famed street on an eating and drinking tour of its many popular establishments. If you buy a ticket, you can get a taste from almost every restaurant on the street including the Tasting Kitchen, Joe's (which is also hosting a bartending competition), Marla's Kitchen, Three Square and Equator Cafe. Certain places will also offer wine or Champagne. Ticket holders will also receive discounts at many of the street's retail shops (Salt, Surfing Cowboys, Patio Culture and more). Proceeds benefit Inside Out Community Arts, a nonprofit that brings arts education to underserved L.A. school children. Check-in is at 920 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 397-8820. www.tasteofabbottkinney.com.

A tea tour If you're a tea fan, you might want to consider joining Kuvlov (founder of the Valentine's Tea Festival) for an in-depth tour of the Fowler Museum's exhibition "Steeped in History: The Art of Tea." The exhibition (and tour) focuses on the history and culture of tea in the East. The tour will be followed by a lunch created by chef Kristy Choo of Jin Patisserie. Last of all you'll wind down with tea purveyors 1001 Plateaus and a tasting of rare (and aged) Chinese teas. Fowler Museum, north campus, UCLA; enter campus lot 4 at Sunset Boulevard at Westwood Plaza. L.A. (310) 825-4361. www.fowler.ucla.edu.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Seven food events you should know about: Your weekend is all about the festivals

Lobster

FRIDAY

Grecian yearn Open wide and say “Opa!” It’s time for the annual Los Angeles Greek Festival. Enjoy a wide variety of authentic Greek dishes and pastries, including spanakopita, Greek barbecue, pork souvlaki and baklava. Also on the menu: an appearance by celebrity hosts Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson; traditional Greek costumes; dancing; live music; Greek beer and wine; specialty shops; and more. Saint Sophia Cathedral, 1324 S. Normandie Ave., 5 to 11 p.m. Fri.; 1 to 11 p.m. Sat.; noon to 10 p.m. Sun. Adults, $5; children under 12, free. Friday night is free for all. (323) 737-2424. www.lagreekfest.com.

Crustacean elation Been longing for lobster all summer but haven't been able to make the trek to your favorite beachside dining spot? You're in luck because the Original Lobster Festival has arrived, featuring live Maine lobsters steamed in what is being called the "world's largest cooker." Nibble on all the sweet, buttery meat your hungry heart desires at the giant food court while listening to live music and watching other festival goers shake their bibs on the dance floor. Rainbow Lagoon, 400-403 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach. 5 to 11 p.m. Fri.; noon to 11 p.m. Sat.; noon to 10 p.m. Sun. Adults, $13 in advance, $15 at the door; children under 12, free. www.originallobsterfestival.com.

SATURDAY

A Delta deal It's Mississippi picnic time in L.A. For 33 years this event -- sponsored by the Mississippi Culture & Heritage Society of California -- has drawn devotees of the American South with its picture-perfect promise of a lazy picnic. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and smack your lips over deep-fried Yazoo City catfish and BBQ ribs from Romie's in Tupelo. To whet your whistle there will be free sweet iced tea from McAlister’s Deli in Oxford and free (while supplies last) Lazy Magnolia beer from the eponymous Mississippi brewing company. Montecillo de Leo Polito at Elysian Park, 2010 Stadium Way, L.A. Noon to 6 p.m. $20. (323) 967-3316. www.mississippipicnicla.com.

Splendor in the valley Join L.A. Weekly food writer and critic Jonathan Gold for a discussion called "the Rise of Regional Cuisines in the San Gabriel Valley." Sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Southern California, the event will give attendees a glimpse into San Gabriel Valley's fascinating journey toward becoming home to the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Gold will talk about the many regions represented in the area's restaurants, along with their various specialties. Mark Taper Auditorium, downtown library, 630 W. 5th St., L.A. 10:30 a.m. Free. (323) 663-5407, http://culinaryhistoriansofsoutherncalifornia.org

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Four Food Events You Should Know About: Your weekend is made of food

Baklava SATURDAY

It's Greek to me Get your Zorba on at the 60th annual Long Beach Greek Festival. Enjoy a wide variety of authentic Greek dishes and pastries, including spanakopita, Greek barbecue, pork souvlaki and baklava. Also on the menu: traditional Greek costumes, dancing, music by the Olympians, game booths, carnival rides, specialty shops, a children's play area and more. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 5761 E. Colorado St., Long Beach. Noon to 9 p.m., daily, through Monday. Adults, $3; children under 12, free. (562) 494-8929. www.lbgreekfest.org.

The frying game The L.A. County Fair is back and ready to give you and yours a fatty dose of food love. Come for the rides, people-watching and entertainment; stay for row after row of food booths featuring the snacks and treats that you probably associate most closely with your childhood including hot dogs, nachos, pizza, ice cream, sausages, barbecue, and of course, all things deep fried and golden. (Check out the story Elina Shatkin wrote about Chicken Charlie's booth and his Frankenstein-like fried creations.) 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona. Opening weekend lasts from Saturday through Monday. 10 a.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday. $17; or $1 if you arrive between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (909) 623-3111. www.lacountyfair.com.

SUNDAY

Why the sour face? If you're a devoted lover of pickled cabbage, consider attending the Machine Project's Kraut Fest '09. Sign up to learn how to make sauerkraut, kimchi or both. You bring the ingredients and you'll be provided with a "kraut kit," which includes a bucket, a plate and a hand silk-screened poster. Machine Project, 1200 D N. Alvarado St., L.A. 11 a.m., making sauerkraut; noon, making kimchi. $10 per demonstration, $15 for both. (213) 483-8761. www.machineproject.com.

MONDAY

Potluck for change Attend an "eat-in" in support of encouraging the introduction of healthful, locally sourced food into school lunchrooms. Those in attendance will share the food they bring, sign petitions and call their legislators. This event is being sponsored by Slow Food L.A. and organized by Jennie Cook catering. There are five additional eat-ins happening around town, so check the Slow Food website for times and locations. The Cesar Chavez Arboretum in Elysian Park, 835 Academy Road, L.A. 11:30 a.m. Free. (310) 850-1884. www.slowfoodla.com.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Baklava. Credit: Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times

Six Food Events You Should Know About: A wine-tastic weekend

Hitching-Post SATURDAY

Cook, drink, repeat Participate in an Asian-fusion cooking class taught by chef Edgar Agbayani at Roy's Newport Beach. Learn what it takes to make ahi tuna tartare, macadamia-crusted mahi mahi and Roy's melting hot chocolate souffle. Eat what you cook and enjoy it with a mini Hawaiian martini and a glass of Roy's Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay. Roy's Newport Beach, Fashion Island, 453 Newport Center Drive. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. $40. (949) 640-7697.

A taste of home Head to the 33rd annual Home Remodeling & Decorating Show in Pasadena and participate in the Taste of Home Cooking School hosted by Taste of Home magazine. Participants will learn to cook a variety of "fall comfort classics" including Flank Steak Santa Fe, Mom's Manicotti and Smoked Salmon and Chive Cheesecake. Every attendee gets a gift bag filled with all sorts of stuff that you may or may not use, such as coupons and product samples. Pasadena Convention Center, 300 Green St. 3 to 6 p.m. $15.95 admission includes entry into the Home Show. (818) 557-2950. www.thehomeshow.com.

You're so wine-y The Malibu Wine Classic is back for its seventh year featuring tastes from more than 60 wineries from the Central Coast. The afternoon “grand tasting” includes all of the wineries as well as food from more than two dozen popular restaurants including the Water Grill, Saddle Peak Lodge, STK and Joe’s Pizza of Bleecker Street. The tasting benefits Childhelp, a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Malibu Civic Center, 23555 Civic Center Way, Malibu. 1 to 4:30 p.m. $79 in advance, $100 at the door. www.malibuwineclassic.com.

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Two Food Events You Should Know About: Foodie art and artful wine

Prum UPCOMING

Prum's the word Get a jump-start on what is likely to be a sold-out event as Joh Jos Prum wine from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of southwest Germany teams up with Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood to present a special tasting menu created by chef Andy Cook and paired with Prum's specialty Rieslings. Prum winemaker Katharina Prum will lead a vintner's discussion and pour alongside London sommelier Aaron Elliot. Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood. Wed., Sept. 9. 7 p.m. $125. (310) 358-7788.

TODAY

Under one umbrella Indulge in an artsy presentation of food and drink hosted by the catering company Epicurean Umbrella and featuring two of its chefs along with one from fellow caterer Salt of the Earth. Also joining the fray is Liquid Alchemy, a molecular mixology group from San Francisco that will create three wild cocktails: a molecular cotton candy martini, a micro-basil gimlet and a Kir Royale gel cocktail. Drinks and tasting plates -- including brioche-crusted scallops with fresh corn pudding and a mini pulled short-rib sandwich -- will be treated like art installations (tasty ones that you can swallow). There will also be a gourmet potato chip bar with specialty dipping sauces, a miniature dessert bar and a retro candy station. The Mark, 9320 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. 7 to 10 p.m. $52. www.epicureanumbrella.com.

Coming later today, your Food Events weekend edition. Stay tuned.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

Three Food Events You Should Know About: Who says the weekend has to end?

Farmers-Market MONDAY

Ancient vines Enjoy a four-course wine dinner at Osteria Mozza featuring the wines of Azienda Agricola Marchesi Fumanelli. The winery, which is in the Valpolicella region of the Veneto in Northern Italy, was built in an area that was once home to an ancient Roman villa. It has been producing wine since the 18th century. Owner Andrea Fumanelli will be on hand to pour and discuss several rare wines from his Squarano estate. 6602 Melrose Ave., L.A., 7:30 p.m. $85. (323) 866-5300. www.mozza-la.com.

TUESDAY

La Fenetre wine dinner Winemaker Joshua Klapper is the star of an intimate wine dinner at Fraiche restaurant. Chef Jason Travi will cook a seven-course meal while Klapper pours and discusses not-yet-released vintages from his Santa Barbara winery, which produces only 500 cases of wine per year. 9411 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 7 p.m. $75. (310) 839-6800. www.fraicherestaurantla.com.

UPCOMING

A tasty tour Melting Pot Food Tours presents a 3 1/2 -hour walking tour called Farmers Market & W. 3rd Street Food Tasting Tour. The journey begins at the original Farmers Market on Fairfax, where participants will learn the fascinating history of certain vendors and sample a variety of their wares. It will then continue down West 3rd Street to the Beverly Center, stopping for tastes and stories at a variety of restaurants, cafes and gourmet groceries. Note: These tours are ongoing, not one-time events. The next tour takes place at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 26. $49. Advance reservations recommended. (424) 247-9666. www.meltingpottours.com.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Bob Tusquella, owner of Tusquellas Fish & Oyster Bar, Bob Tusquellas Sea Foods and Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts at the Farmers Market at Fairfax and 3rd Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Six food events you should know about: Your weekend just got foodier

Larkins ONGOING

Peachy keen: Craft has announced the arrival of its second annual peach harvest and tasting menu. The peaches come from Masumoto Family Farm in Fresno, where pastry chef Shannon Swindle and several other Craft employees traveled to help with the harvest. The resulting seven-course tasting menu includes wild John Dory, chanterelle mushrooms and pickled peaches; and braised veal breast, flageolet beans, mustard greens and peach jam. 10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles. The menu will be served until the peaches run out. $100 with a $65 optional wine pairing. (310) 279-4180. www.craftrestaurant.com.

FRIDAY

Hot August nights: The Wine Assn. of the Duke of Bourbon presents a "wine concert" featuring vintages from four California wineries: Diamond Creek Vineyards from Calistoga, Rombauer Vineyards from St. Helena, Napa Valley's Orin Swift and Silver Oak Cellars from the Napa and Alexander valleys. Bread and cheese will be served, but eat dinner in advance. You'll need a full stomach to get through this packed evening. Warner Center Marriott, 21850 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills. 7:15 p.m. $48. (818) 341-1234. dukeofbourbon.com.

SATURDAY

Tasting Eagle Rock: Sample food from some of Eagle Rock's most popular restaurants, including Brownstone Pizzeria, Larkin's, Senor Fish and the new CaCao Mexicatessen. Proceeds from the event, which is being hosted by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and the Chamber of Commerce, will benefit the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness. GLAD, 2222 Laverna Ave., Eagle Rock. Noon to 4 p.m. $25 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger. (323) 478-8000. www.gladinc.org.

A wholesale party: Purchase a variety of fine gourmet imports at the same wholesale prices that many of the city's notable restaurants pay. French specialty food store and cafe Nicole's Gourmet Foods and its import and distribution company, Gourmet Imports, will host a one-day event during which customers can visit the warehouse and choose from a variety of discounted artisan cheeses, charcuterie, specialty olive oils, vinegar, mustard, pasta, salts and more. Barbecue will be available if all that shopping makes you hungry. As an added bonus, Alex Brown of Hot Knives is the cheese impresario for Gourmet Imports. Gourmet Imports, 961 S. Meridian Ave., Alhambra. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (626) 570-6900. www.nicolesgourmetfoods.com.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.