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Pop-ups and permanence

Now that the baseball season is over (no comment about that one), there’s more time to, well, cook and visit restaurants. This is called taking a positive spin on things, and we have some suggestions for how to accomplish that. You might hit some of the restaurants that have recently found permanent homes after previous incarnations as pop-ups or trucks. We have two stories about how some folks have made — or are making — that transition, and why. We also have a piece about a Russian restaurant in Portland, Ore. — a good pointer for your next trip north, because there are actually lots of terrific things to eat in Portland other than the chicken and rice at Nong’s Khao Man Gai.

If you’re home cooking, we have a cookbook review that will interest both lovers of eggplant and of the British monarchy (thank you, Meghan Markle). We also have a recipe from Bestia, which is fun if you can’t get a table, but also a good access point to the new cookbook from the chefs who run that restaurant. With the holiday season fast approaching, our gift guide is now up online, which has gifts for the food-minded.

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FROM EPHEMERAL TO ESTABLISHED

Chef Wes Avila, in white, at his new Guerrilla Tacos restaurant in the Arts District. He had run the business for years out of a food truck but switched to a bricks-and-mortar space in July.
Chef Wes Avila, in white, at his new Guerrilla Tacos restaurant in the Arts District. He had run the business for years out of a food truck but switched to a bricks-and-mortar space in July. (Kathy M.Y. Pyon / Los Angeles Times)

Many of this town’s favorite restaurants are transitory, either food trucks or pop-ups or backyard dinner parties. As food writer Andrea Chang reports, not a few of them have recently found permanent homes. Guerrilla Tacos, Porridge + Puffs, Burgers Never Say Die and Banh Oui are a few of the restaurants that have become bricks-and-mortar establishments.

A COMMUNITY COOKBOOK

Eggplant masala from "Together: Our Community Cookbook."
Eggplant masala from "Together: Our Community Cookbook." (Jenny Zarins / Clarkson Potter)

Among the fall lineup of cookbooks is one that might seem like a vanity project but is actually its opposite: the cookbook from the Duchess of Sussex, also known as Meghan Markle. “Together: Our Community Cookbook” is a collection of recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen, which arose as a way to feed families displaced by the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in West London. Markle volunteered there, then helped get the book published to finance the kitchen; she also wrote the foreword. It’s a fine cookbook, and we get the recipe for a lovely eggplant masala.

HERRING UNDER A FUR COAT

Herring Under a Fur Coat, a traditional Russian layered salad, at Kachka.
Herring Under a Fur Coat, a traditional Russian layered salad, at Kachka. (Carly Diaz / Kachka)

For our latest Eaten Path column, Andrea heads to Portland, Ore. and checks out the food at the Russian restaurant Kachka, run by Bonnie Morales, the daughter of Belarusian immigrants, who cooks food from the former Soviet Union. There are lots of zakuski, or drinking food, to pair with the shots of vodka, plus dumplings and a dish that many of us first learned of from the late Jonathan Gold: herring under a fur coat, a traditional layered salad dish that’s as much fun to eat as it is to pronounce.

UNDERGROUND BBQ GETS A HOME

Burt Bakman holds a beef rib at Slab, his first restaurant. He is known for his Texas-style smoking at his pop-up Trudy's Underground Barbecue.
Burt Bakman holds a beef rib at Slab, his first restaurant. He is known for his Texas-style smoking at his pop-up Trudy's Underground Barbecue. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Another L.A. backyard party that’s becoming permanent is Trudy’s Underground Barbecue, which started as real estate agent Burt Bakman’s hobby but is soon becoming Slab, a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in West Hollywood. As food writer Hillary Eaton tells us, Bakman got obsessed with Texas-style barbecue while on a trip to Austin for a real estate conference — a conference he never actually made it to, as he spent the time eating instead. Good choice.

BESTIA’S FARRO SALAD

The farro salad with cauliflower at Bestia.
The farro salad with cauliflower at Bestia. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

In her latest Culinary SOS column, Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter gets the recipe for farro salad with cauliflower from Bestia, the hugely popular Arts District Italian restaurant from chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis.

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And don’t forget the thousands of recipes in our California Cookbook recipe database.

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Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at food@latimes.com.

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