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LA’s Best Chefs Converge for the Gangsta Gardener Ron Finley, and More

Plus new soft serve ice cream in Koreatown, and a coffee shop update along La Brea

Saddlerock Ranch, Malibu
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Food and causes come together

There’s a massive new culinary event happening on July 8 at Saddlerock Ranch. The pricey affair (tickets land at $500 a pop for the charity event) is to help out the so-called Gangsta Gardener, Ron Finley. Long a South LA food advocate, Finley has been going back and forth with banks for months over his longstanding property and garden, but ultimately he (as of now) lacks the funds to stay in his home. That’s where chefs like Journeymen’s David Wilcox, Evan Funke, the Kismet duo, Jessica Koslow, and many more come in. Everyone will be on site to welcome guests in and chat about Ron Finley’s work, which runs from 5 p.m. until late out in Malibu.

Mama Lion roars

Food & Wine decided to try out Mama Lion in Koreatown, ultimately coming away mighty impressed by the place’s upscale-downscale approach. That means caviar, of course, but also tater tots. Ultimately, chef/partner Michael Hung says, he wants to plate rustic food that isn’t sloppy, just fun.

Soft serve, again

A new Koreatown ice cream player has awoken. This time it’s Bumsan Organic Milk Bar, part of a large chain across Korea and China. The company uses organic milk from Korea, and just recently set up shop at 534 S. Western Avenue in Koreatown.

Diablo Tacos jumps up a notch

Silver Lake’s long-running Diablo Tacos has finally gotten a full bar, after years of only offering beer and wine. That means a ton of new margarita possibilities and a full cocktail lineup from Evan Charest (Patina Group) to go along with new executive chef Sergio Martinez.

BrunchCon, again

The second annual BrunchCon is coming back to The Reef, just south of Downtown, in August. There, restaurants from The District by Hannah An to Hugos to Mas Malo will be pushing plates like breakfast tacos and brunch pizzas while Instagrammers take photos against walls. Tickets are $60 a head, $85 for VIP.

Plus LuckyRice Downtown

Not far away, LuckyRice will be throwing its own food event on Friday, July 28. Tickets are $88 general admission or $150 VIP, and include names like Blue Ribbon Sushi, Bone Kettle, Parks BBQ, Genghis Cohen, and many more, plus drinks and revelry — all from inside the Vibiana event space in Downtown.

No more Muse on 8th

It’s a flip for Muse on 8th, the longtime corner coffee option along La Brea, just below Wilshire. Now signage is up for Met Her At a Bar, which describes itself below as a “hip neighborhood cafe”.