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Taco Bell’s Palm Springs Pop-Up Hotel Defies Expectations and Sells Out in Two Minutes

Plus, Erin McKenna’s Westside Bakery, Formosa Cafe’s rooftop lounge, and more morning intel

Taco Bell pop-up hotel Taco Bell/The Bell
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Taco Bell pop-up hotel madness

In late-May, Taco Bell made a surprise announcement destined for the V Palm Springs hotel. A low-desert corporate-themed pop-up hotel with DJs, yoga, cocktail hours, movie screenings, branded mani-pedis, pool parties, and of course, items from the Taco Bell menu. Folks lined up for online reservations yesterday at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis, which sold out within two minutes, according to the Desert Sun. It’ll be fascinating to see how visitors will hold up during the pop-up’s run from August 8 through 12, which can be unbearably hot in the Coachella Valley.

Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi’s newest venture in Newport Beach

In mid-2018, Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi closed Spring, the couple’s Downtown’s French fine dining restaurant, only to make a cross-county trek to South Coast Plaza for their next venture. Knife Pleat opened yesterday, and while menu isn’t front and center at the moment, the restaurant’s Instagram posted images of modern French dishes that Esnault is known for. There’s a minimal crudo with hiramasa, plankton, asparagus, ginger, puffed quinoa, and pickled mustard seed, and a lamb rack with eggplant, zucchini, tomato, couscous, mint, lemon, and harissa. Knife Pleat is open for dinner until tomorrow, but on July 2 will reopen Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. In September, they’ll emphasize a daily lunch service and shift to dinner from Monday through Saturday.

Chef Tony Esnault and restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi.
Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi
Bernardo Doral

Formosa’s rooftop lounge opens tonight

It’s been a little over a week since the revamped Formosa Cafe reintroduced itself to Los Angeles. The historic restaurant and bar opens its rooftop lounge tonight, which could become the city’s new hot spot for cocktails.

Formosa Cafe
Wonho Frank Lee

Gluten-free on the Westside

Toddrickallen reports that owner/baker Erin McKenna opened a new spot in the former Blue Plate this week, which is the second SoCal location for Erin McKenna’s Bakery, formerly Babycakes. McKenna’s gluten-free, vegan reach is vast, with locations in New York and Disney World.

Hermosa Beach’s Suzy’s makes way for Middle Eastern fare

One of Hermosa’s beloved dive bars closes this Sunday. The Beach Reporter says it’s been a long time coming, as Suzy’s Bar & Grill’s owner was denied a permit back in 2016. Suzy’s replacement comes from the owners of Barsha Wines and Spirits, who plan to quickly flip it into an unnamed Mediterranean-inspired restaurant later this summer.