Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Pop-up Dining

Royal/T in Culver City closes this month

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Royal/T, the Japanese maid cafe, eatery and art space in Culver City, is closing at the end of July.

Opened in 2007, Royal/T brought Los Angeles weekly Tokyo Nouveau Champagne brunches, waitresses dressed in playful maid uniforms and the cafe's signature milk tea, among many culinary- and art-related workshops, exhibitions and events.

The shop bids farewell with final events held at its space beginning this weekend. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon, Royal/T hosts a tea workshop with Paper Architect. Learn tips and tricks for planning an ultimate tea party from Nancy Caldwell while munching on an assortment of sandwiches, scones, desserts and freshly brewed tea. Purchase tickets online at www.royaltworkshop.eventbrite.com.

A closing brunch will mark the final cafe service at Royal/T on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with live music featured throughout the afternoon. The cafe's last scheduled shindig is a pop-up dinner in collaboration with Cordero Negro from 6 to 9 p.m. July 26 and 27. The evening's 12-course tapas tasting menu is $45 per person and will include dishes like chorizo sausage with succotash and saffron corn veloute, herbed goat cheese, stuffed pequillo peppers with basil infused olive oil, and Spanish flan. Make reservations online at www.corderonegro.com/popup.

What's next? Royal/T's owner Susan Hancock plans to take the brand on the road with various events and pop-ups.

8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, royal-t.org.


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Photo: Royal/T storefront. Credit: Royal/T

The Vagrancy Project launches at Allston Yacht Club

Vagrant1A pop-up restaurant called the Vagrancy Project has taken up long-term residence at Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park every Monday and Tuesday night through Labor Day. The chef is Miles Thompson, a former executive sous chef at Son of a Gun. Joining him is mixologist Nathan Oliver, who mixed at Ink before decamping to Harvard & Stone.

Monday night was the first night so I swung by to check it out. Two seatings are offered each night, one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. The menu changes daily and is presented as a five-course prix-fixe with optional drink pairings. There is also a bar menu with a separate list of large and small plates.

Last night's menu consisted of oysters; smoked trout with cherry, cress and lettuce; octopus with hibiscus, cucumber and honey; loup de mer with boba, miso and shitake; and cheesecake with walnut, maple and sour cream.

On offer at the bar: Chorizo with grapefruit and Robiola on toast (kind of like a bizarro Welsh rarebit and my favorite of the bunch); cuttlefish salad with flageolet, peppers and purslane; rillettes de porc with romaine, Caesar and pretzel; and quail with rhubarb, kuromitsu and lime.

Oliver's creative cocktail list included several home-bottled offerings including a classic Frisco-Rittenhouse 100, Benedictine that he encouraged patrons to pour and garnish themselves--a fun DIY approach to bartending. There was also a delicious cocktail of rum, coconut, lime Angostura bitters and almond that tasted toasted and summery.

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A Spot of Tea pops up at Spice Station

QueenFriday through May 6, Spice Station in Silver Lake is hosting A Spot of Tea pop-up tea shop in celebration of all things British (it's Brit Week and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee). A Spot of Tea -- "a cozy vintage tea room with an authentic Britsh vibe" -- was created by the Anglo American trio music stylist Gemma Dempsey, creative director Jenny Charlesworth and producer Stacy Ruppel.

Spice Station teas will be served with finger sandwiches, cakes and other Brit treats. Freshly baked goods will come from Silver Lake’s Forage, Santa Monica’s Tudor House and Kings Head, and Culver City’s Platine.

On certain days, afternoon tea will be accompanied by live musical performances or tea time story recitals. U.K.-themed gifts for sale include Marfa Brands soap made with licorice tea and British violinist Maya Magub's ceramics. Seating is limited: To reserve a spot, email ASpotofTea@mail.com with your day and time request and the number in your party.

Spice Station, 3819 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. For A Spot of Tea, contact (310) 612-6990 or www.popupteaspot.com. A Spot of Tea is open Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.


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Photo credit: A Spot of Tea.

Marcel Vigneron + Haru Kishi = The Coop, an Easter pop-up

"The Coop"Chef friends Marcel Vigneron and Haru Kishi like eggs so much they've decided to host a pop-up centered around them, called "The Coop." 

"We're always cooking eggs, at home, at other people's houses, in the middle of the night," says Kishi, who recently stepped down as chef of Chaya Brasserie Beverly Hills. After all, he says, the merit of a chef can be judged by the way he cooks eggs. (He also notes that the omuraisu scene in "Tampopo" inspired him to become a chef; see the jump.) 

"We kind of became notorious for our egg dishes," adds Vigneron, known for his appearance on the second season of "Top Chef."

Vigneron and Kishi are preparing a five-course brunch, starting Friday morning and running through Easter Sunday at Gonpachi on La Cienega. On the menu: egg with truffle, salmon mi-cuit with deconstructed egg, deep-fried "nesting egg" with bacon, "black tiger" chawan mushi, and strawberries and sabayon with brioche bread pudding. 

"We got delicious Albion strawberries," says Vigneron enthusiastically, just back from Wednesday's Santa Monica farmers market. 

Vigneron says Devon Espinosa of the brand-new bar Pour Vous will be creating cocktails for the event. 

The Coop, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday to Sunday. $38 per person. For reservations, email ReserveTheCoop@gmail.com. Located at Gonpachi restaurant, 134 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.


Ceviche Project pops up at L&E Oyster Bar

Downstairs at the new Blossom in Silver Lake

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-- Betty Hallock

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Ceviche Project pops up at L&E Oyster Bar

Ceviche projectThe pop-up series Ceviche Project, featuring, well, ceviche (and other seafood dishes), is showing up at L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake on Easter Sunday, offering a five-course tasting menu with wine pairings. 

"The majority of dishes are composed of fresh seafood marinated in citrus, accompanied by vegetables, fruits, seeds, spices and chiles....," says an announcement.  

The brunch is at 1 p.m. Tickets, which are $60, must be purchased in advance. For tickets and more information, go to the Ceviche Project website. 

Meanwhile, look for S. Irene Virbila's review of L&E Oyster Bar in this week's Saturday section or online. 

L&E Oyster Bar, 1637 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, www.leoysterbar.com.


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Pop-ups in Venice: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Alma and Kali Dining

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Lately, pop-up dining central might be the neighborhood of Venice. Maybe it's the by-the-beach location or its bobo residents. Whatever the reason, here are a few to check out:

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing took over the old Capri space on Abbot Kinney Boulevard late last year. The pop-up kitchen is managed by chefs Brian Dunsmoor of Axe and Kris Tominaga of Joe’s Restaurant. The restaurant was due to end its stint this month but is now in negotiations to extend the operation in the same space for an additional six months while a permanent space is secured; good news for all those who have yet to try the restaurant's reasonably priced, market-driven dishes. The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, wolfinsheepsclothingrestaurant.com.

Chef Kevin Meehan of Cafe Pinot started hosting dinner parties in Culver City earlier this month through his new project, Kali Dining. The pop-up dining experience features a frequently changing menu and location. Meehan prepares and serves a four-course prix-fixe meal for guests in a casual, intimate environment. The dinner series, which costs $65 per person and currently runs Wednesday to Sunday, is on in Venice through early March. And did we mention that he hunts his own hogs too? Kalidining.com.

Another pop-up restaurant new to the scene in Venice is Alma. With only a couple of weeks under its belt, the eatery serves weekly changing three- and five-course prix-fixe dinners ($35 and $55,  respectively) Wednesday through Saturday. Housed inside cafe Flake on Rose Avenue, Alma is the brainchild of Dinelle Lucchesi, a former director of an underground social club in San Francisco, and Ari Taymor of San Francisco's Bar Tartine and Flour + Water. Taymor's creations will highlight American cuisine with dishes such as garlic and oyster stew; smoked lentils, carrot, milk skin and nettle; and popcorn with chocolate and soy caramel. 513 Rose Ave., Venice, almafoodandwine.tumblr.com.

Kali 600


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Top photo: Kevin Meehan of Kali Dining; bottom photo: braised wild hog with smoked potato puree, peas and prosciutto. Credit: Mike Sanfratello. 

One-night Test Kitchen at Short Order on Feb. 25

ShortorderThe pop-up series Test Kitchen is back for one night at Short Order, the new upscale burger joint at the Original Farmers Market on 3rd Street. On Saturday, Feb. 25, five chefs, all Test Kitchen alumni, are coming up with five new burgers and four mixologists will create new cocktails. 

Kris Morningstar's Flavor Burger No. 6: beef, house-made mortadella bites, Moroccan beets with spiced pistachio crunch and yogurt and mint. Walter Manzke's Vietnamese Pork Burger: pork, pickled radish, spicy sauce (served with Taleggio beignets and vegetable crudites). Adam Horton's Korean BBQ Burger: galbi and kimchi aioli (served with quinoa croquettes and som tam slaw). Ori Menashe's Italian Burger: aged beef, porcini mustard, Parmesan aioli, wild arugula, crispy pancetta, oven-dried tomato (with crispy polenta fries). Christian Page's "Filet o' Fish": sand dab, tartar sauce, American cheese (with Scotch egg and spuds "poutine"). 

Guest mixologists joining Short Order's Julian Cox behind the bar are: Son of a Gun's Daniel Warrilow, Ray's & Stark Bar's Paul Sanguinetti  and Raphael's Chris Parke. 

Burgers are $14 to $18, and special sides are $5 to $12. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are suggested. For reservations email testkitchen@shortorderla.com, including requested reservation time, contact name and number, and number in the party.  
6333 W. 3rd St., No. 110, Los Angeles, (323) 761-7970, www.shortorder-la.com. 


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Photo: Short Order burger and spuds. Credit: Christina House/For The Times

Last chance for Common Grains soba popup, this time in Torrance

6501980183_a694253148If you missed the soba popup at BreadBar Century City recently, it wasn’t your last chance to taste handmade soba from Sonoko Sakai and Mutsuko Soma of Common Grains, a Japanese cultural organization. As of tomorrow, the two female soba masters will be making noodles from freshly milled buckwheat flour during the grand opening of Soba-Ya, a new soba-themed Torrance restaurant. The pop-up operates from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, through Tuesday, Feb. 21. Last call is 8:30 p.m.

On Sundays the soba makers rest (more or less). That’s when Sakai will be offering a dashi workshop. Her article on “Dashi, essence of Japan”  appeared Jan. 26 in the Times' Food section. Workshops are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $65 per person, including tastings.

Seating is limited. For reservations, call Soba-Ya at 310-782-7356

Soba-Ya, 1757 W. Carson St., Suite R & S, Torrance; 310-782-7356. Popup menu items, $11 to $16.


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Photos: Mutsuko Soma plating soba. Credit: Common Grains.


'Moveable Feasts' dinner series by Los Angeles Nomadic Division


From Mungo Thomson's publication People. LAND will host its first of the 'Moveable Feasts' series with a dinner at Lucques in honor of the L.A.-based artist.


The nonprofit public art initiative known as Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) was founded in 2009 to curate site- and situation-specific contemporary art projects in L.A. and farther afield.

The organization has featured "Nomadic Nights," an ongoing series of events, in various locations throughout L.A. that reflect the diverse ways in which contemporary artists engage and present visual culture through their work, performances and ideas.

New to the organization this year is "Moveable Feasts," a dinner series that incorporates elements similar to "Nomadic Nights" by making art accessible to the public but is different in that the engagement of people and culture will be more intimate through the added component of food.

"Moveable Feasts" will take place at restaurants throughout the city once a month. Each event will be held in honor of a different artist, will take place in a different neighborhood of L.A. and will feature a specially selected three-course menu. As of now, four dinners are planned for January through April at locations in West Hollywood, Venice and downtown.

On Sunday, LAND will host its first of the "Moveable Feasts" series with a dinner at Lucques on Melrose Avenue in honor of L.A.-based artist Mungo Thomson. Thomson, whose work includes various media  exploring backgrounds and space, was part of LAND's exhibition "The Secret Knows" in Austin, Texas, "The Secret (Still) Knows" in L.A. and "Nothing Beside Remains" in Marfa, Texas.

Tickets to the event are $150 per person and include a three-course dinner with wine as well as a signed copy of Thomson's People, a magazine created by Thomson that addresses reception and empty space.


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Image Credit: Mungo Thomson, People, 2011. A LAND Exhibition: Nothing Beside Remains.

3 Events: Rosh Hashanah at Farmshop, Cecconi's and Bouchon

Matzo Farmshop: Wednesday and Thursday, Farmshop is offering special menus to celebrate the Jewish New Year.  For $46 per person, Farmshop will be serving a three-course meal that includes a vegetable platter of chickpea hummus with lavash, roasted Windrose Farm carrots with charmoula and sweet-and-sour leeks with raisins, prime beef brisket and honey cake. The menu may vary depending on what is available in the market. Reservations can be made online or by calling. 225 26th St., Suite 25, Santa Monica, 310-566-2400, www.farmshopla.com.

Cecconi's: Cecconi's has designed an eight-course tasting menu featuring dishes inspired by the Italian Jewish community.  Thursday, diners will be able to savor dishes such as squash blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and salt cod with tomato sauce for $65 per person.  Call to reserve. 8764 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 310-432-2000, www.cecconiswesthollywood.com. 

Bouchon: Thomas Keller's Bouchon bistro is serving a special Rosh Hashanah dinner Thursday and Friday. The menu will feature challah (Jewish egg bread), matzo ball soup and braised beef brisket, accompanying roasted sweet potatoes, glazed pearl onions and red wine poached prunes, and an apple tart. This Bouchon special is $48 per person and $20 per child.  Available 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations can be made online. 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-271-9910, www.bouchonbistro.com.


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Photo Credit: Patrick Downs/Los Angeles Times


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