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Downtown Food Party Smogasburg Returns With a Bunch of New Vendors

Plus, more best new restaurants, and Michael Voltaggio gets heat for partnering with Yelp

An orange tray holds a variety of vegan fast food, from burgers to fried sandwiches to french fries and tacos.
Food from Say It Ain’t So
Say It Ain’t So

Smorgasburg is returning this weekend. The wildly popular Downtown weekend food bazaar at the Row DTLA will open up again following a holiday break, and just in time to add a handful of new vendors to the mix. The incoming talent includes B’ivrit, the vegan Israeli street food operation, as well as Chimmelier (Korean fried chicken sandwiches from the Hanchic team), and Say It Ain’t So, chef Chris Olsefsky’s vegan fast food stand that serves burgers, fried faux chicken, and more. The colorful Philly water ice spot Happy Ice will also be on hand weekly, in addition to Cali Dumpling, which offers xiao long bao in addition to options like pan-fried pizza dumplings.

What’s more, the January 9 return of Smorgasburg will also see a one-off event sponsored by Fox’s new reality cooking show Next Level Chef that will stand alone on the open plaza, providing food from Sushi Bar, Gracias Madre, and Howlin’ Ray’s. Those three will work from a separate branded area to serve highlighted dishes, and attendees can enter a raffle to win prizes as well.

A year of winners across Los Angeles

Los Angeles Magazine has rounded up some of its favorite new restaurants of 2021, including Agnes in Pasadena, Caboco in the Arts District, Cobi’s in Santa Monica, and new Hollywood star Horses. Check out the full list here.

A worrying trend in Little India

Many of the Indian-owned and operated businesses around Artesia, long known as LA’s own Little India, are struggling these days, says the Los Angeles Times. The pandemic has hit restaurants, clothing shops, and more particularly hard, with people ordering online and generally staying closer to home instead of driving to Artesia to shop and eat.

A toast to LA’s new toast

Popular toast pop-up Bravo Toast has gone legit at 632 1/2 N. Doheny Drive in West Hollywood. The small shop offers a variety of toasts and drinks, and comes from Jack Della Femina (son of Michael Della Femina of Croft Alley) and partner Nathan Katz.

Yelp? Yikes

Don’t look now, but chef Michael Voltaggio’s newest partnership venture is with... Yelp? That’s right, the long-loathed restaurant platform (at least from many operators’ perspectives) is trying to shape itself into a more business-friendly and approachable place, meaning new tools for operators and at least one celebrity endorsement from a former Top Chef star. Needless to say, the comments on Voltaggio’s post, including many from a number of restaurant owners, are particularly brutal. “Fuck that,” says Hugh Acheson, adding: “Glad you getting paid though.”

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