This pop-up dinner menu is full of bugs. Yes, those kinds of bugs.


A new pop-up restaurant in Santa Monica is hoping you’ll be open to the idea of bugs in your food. Western Exterminator Company (yes you read that correctly) has teamed up with Mondo Taco, the Santa Monica taco restaurant that specializes in global tacos, to create a one-day bug-centric dining experience called Pestaurant, Saturday.

On the menu: rice cricket treats made with a candy cricket garnish and cricket flour; tacos made with sautéed June beetles, BBQ sauce and crispy onions; sautéed Jerk-seasoned grasshpppers with pineapple relish over rice; and a Thai mealworm salad made with chile, lime and basil marinated mealworms served chilled.

All of the bugs are from Thailand Unique, a company that sells edible insects and insect flours, as well as HOTLIX, a candy store in Pismo Beach known for its insect candy.


The dinner is designed to demonstrate how bugs can be a low-impact, sustainable protein alternative.

If you’re getting a little squeamish, think about this: Some of the best chefs in the world, including Alex Atala (D.O.M in São Paulo) and Enrique Olvera (Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York City) feature bugs on their menus. And at Guelaguetza in Los Angeles, sun-dried crunchy crickets with garlic and lime.

All of the dishes at the Pesteraunt are free of charge. And for each dish sampled, Western Exterminator will donate $1 to the Westside Food Bank. And if you decide you need a couple more crickets after the rice cricket treat, there will be a cricket eating contest, in which Western Exterminator will donate an additional $10 for each participant.

The Pesterant will be serving its bug-centric dishes in the middle of the Third Street Promenade at Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

2200 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 310-8922,

Crickets? Pass the hot sauce.. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @Jenn_Harris_


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