From vegan cheeseburgers in Koreatown to ramen in Chinatown, here’s what’s happening in our food and drink world:
Not Animal style
If you went to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this year in Indio, you may have noticed people talking about a vegan burger that tasted like one from In-N-Out. Although you won’t mistake one for the other, the plant-based options from Monty’s Burger share plenty of similarities with the SoCal favorite. You choose a single or double burger on a potato bun, and it comes layered with lettuce, tomato, pickles, melty cheese and grilled onions. Only the Monty’s version is made with the Impossible Burger meatless patty and vegan cheese. The concept was started by Goldenvoice festival producers Nic Adler and Bill Fold, who put on Coachella and the Eat Drink Vegan event, along with Erin and Derric Swinfard of Monster Media and Dirk and Amy Alton of Best Beverage Catering. After feeding festival-goers with the burgers at Coachella and its country cousin Stagecoach, the group opened an actual restaurant earlier this month on Western Avenue near West 5th Street in Koreatown. And now they are expanding to the Riverside Food Lab food hall as well. In addition to the burgers, the restaurant serves a chopped kale Caesar salad, shakes made with Klein’s ice cream (dairy-free), fries and dipping sauces such as house-made ranch, onion aioli and ketchup. 516 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (909) 259-0652, montysgoodburger.com.
Echo Park bungalow
The new all-day restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Larchmont Bungalow Café is now open on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, behind Cosa Buona. Although it shares the same name as the former Larchmont Bungalow Café on Larchmont Boulevard, the Echo Park location is under new ownership. Chef Emanuel Hernandez, formerly of Chinois and the old Larchmont Bungalow Café, is behind the menu. He’s making all-day breakfast (eggs, red- and blue-velvet pancakes and quinoa blueberry pancakes), salads, savory crepes and burgers. 2110 W. Sunset Blvd. Suite N, Los Angeles, (213) 908-5301, www.larchmontbungalowcafe.com.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
The Gables, a new counter-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, is slated to open in Santa Monica on Wednesday in a former jewelry shop on Wilshire Boulevard. Chef Vicki Fan Matsusaka, formerly of Superba, is sourcing as many ingredients as possible from the Santa Monica Farmers Market for the menu. There are pancakes and grain bowls for breakfast, patty melts for lunch and meatballs and steak frites for dinner. The restaurant will also serve beer and wine. And you may recognize the work of Venice-based artist Allison Kunath in the dining room. Kunath painted a large mural for the 2,500-square-foot space. 331 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, www.thegablesla.com.
Yes, it’s ramen weather
If we subscribe to the notion that all weather is ramen weather (we do), now is as good a time as any to sip some hot broth. And tsukemen, the Japanese ramen dish that consists of noodles you dip into a hot soup or broth, sounds like the perfect variation to eat during a heat wave. Okiboru, which specializes in the stuff, has just opened on North Broadway in Chinatown. Chef-owner Hyun Sean Park, who used to work at WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, is not only making his own broth from both chicken and pork but he’s serving his own house-made noodles as well. For vegans, there’s a tsukemen made from puréed vegetables. Toppings for the ramen include chasu pork ribs, soft-boiled egg and pickled radish. 635 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 988-7212, www.okiboru.com.