With restaurants across the city reopening at a rapid pace, it seems like we can finally call it: the great pop-up boom of 2020 is over. But if you’re anything like us, over the last year, you’ve lost track of which pop-ups are new, which ones are old, and which ones are just hallucinations you created in your mind. That’s why we made this - 6 New LA Pop-Ups You Should Know About This Summer.
Run by branding/packaging guru, Katrina Luong, Banh Mi Thao serves as a love letter to Vietnamese food and culture. As you’d expect, their Instagram is full of sleek graphics like bright-red menus and pick-up dates combined with colorful photos of their titular bánh mì. Instead of traditional fillings like thịt nguội (various cold cuts layered with strips of fat) or grilled pork, Luong opts for other fillings, incorporating pork floss, Chinese sausage, pan-fried turmeric tilapia, spicy tzatziki into her one-of-a-kind sandwiches. Banh Mi Thao has popped up in Highland Park in the past - check their Instagram for the latest details.
Inspired by the plate lunch culture of Hawai’i, Mixed Plate is a new pop-up serving regional island specialties. It’s run by Ken Chan, a Honolulu-born chef who previously worked at Echo Park sando shop, Konbi (where he also pops up sometimes), offering set menus with dishes like Mochiko chicken, garlic shrimp musubi, and li hing mui pickled mango, a dried plum powder-covered treat that’s a staple at every potluck table in Hawai’i. Check their Instagram for all the latest updates.
Amiga Amore is an Italian/Mexican pop-up that’s been doing various stints around town for awhile, but as of April 2021, the husband-wife operation has begun planting permanent roots on York Blvd. in Highland Park. Right now, the experience happens entirely in a hidden back parking lot (you get directions once you RSVP), complete with string lights, papel picados, and a front row seat of all the cooking. There are plans to open permanently in the adjacent building by the fall, but in the meantime, make reservations now for some of the most delicious fusion dishes being served in LA at the moment. Think elote agnolotti, carnitas calzones, and mezcal cannolis. Service currently only runs Friday nights and Sunday afternoons for brunch.
Half dance party, half prix-fixe dining, Night Off is a celebration of LA’s food scene. Created by friends Richard Contreras, Emily Koh, and Catalina Flores, (all of whom either currently work or have worked in the hospitality industry), Night Off began as a fun, inclusive space for restaurant workers and creators of color that turned into one of the best dinner parties in the city. They feature a rotating cast of chefs, cooks, and pastry chefs, including Happy Mediums Deli, Gemma Matsuyama Yamada of Ototo and Tsubaki, and wines from Pinkies Up. Check their Instagram for the latest details.
Specializing in Poland’s national dish (and the world’s best drinking food), Good Pierogi sells the frozen dumplings by the bagful. Their Instagram reads like a Family Circus comic strip on LSD, with bright-lettering, swirling graphics, and custom illustrations. The mastermind behind it all is Krem, a Polish-Russian chef who grew up eating their grandma’s version in Warshaw, Poland. Each order comes in a biodegradable, freezer-safe package, and is made with farmers’ market produce – making for an ideal weeknight dinner or a huge solo feast. Orders can be placed through their website.
The newest addition to LA’s Baked Goods Pantheon is Pavé Bakery in Highland Park. Operating out of a condo complex, this French bakery is cranking out everything from rye kouign amann to brioche beignets to soft cinnamon rolls with sweet potato bread. Check their Instagram for the next pick-up date.