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A New York City Vegan Hotspot Brings the Plant-Based Party to Melrose

Plus, more food events to consider, and a restaurant offers home cooking advice

A tilted shot of a long bar with purple stools set for evening service.
Avant Garden in New York City.
Avant Garden

New York City’s Avant Garden is opening on Melrose in Los Angeles soon, with early peeks happening as soon as the end of this month. This is the Overthrow Hospitality Group’s first foray into LA, having spent years building up a stable of known restaurants across New York City like Amor y Amargo, Etéra, and Proletariat.

As with the East Coast version of Avant Garden, this new spot at 7469 Melrose Avenue — right next door to Melrose Umbrella Co. — will offer a wide array of vegan and plant-based fare, ranging from housemade pastas and lots of roasted vegetables to paella and cocktails. Owner Ravi DeRossi (a James Beard-nominated restaurateur) is a co-founder of Death & Co. bars in New York, Denver, and LA, and the owner of Cadence, one of the best new restaurants in America, per Esquire. LA native chef Sarah Stearns (Mírame) is on to oversee the menu.

Places to be, events to know

There’s a new weekly burlesque show to know about in Hollywood at Bar Lis. The ongoing Femme Follies event officially launches on Wednesday, May 25, and is presented by well-known burlesque performer Miss Tosh of Beauty of Burlesque. Expect rotating acts and performances weekly from the rooftop bar.

Up north, Taste of Santa Barbara is happening now through May 22. The county-wide festival offers a variety of signature events, from a fireside chat with Julia Child’s family to regional farm tours to special pricing for bespoke menus at restaurants across the region.

Taste of the Nation returns to Culver City on June 5. The outdoor food festival, long considered to be one of the best in Los Angeles, benefits No Kid Hungry and will feature chefs from Brooke Williamson and Mei Lin to bites from Angelini Osteria, Gasoline Cafe, Gogo’s Tacos, Jitlada, Maple Block Meat Co., and beyond.

On Sunday AAPI LA Market heads to Smorgasburg for a one-day pop-up that includes goods as well as food. RiceBox is doing shu mai dumplings, Brothers Sushi is doing chu toro tuna bowls, and Dai Pie Dong is doing British-Cantonese handpies, among other things — and there will even be special live performances by artists and musicians.

Cook with Botanica at home

Silver Lake stalwart Botanica has turned five years young, and to mark the occasion owners Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer have decided to begin offering a series of how-to videos online called Botanica at Home. The intent, they say in the video below, is to showcase the style, flavors, and techniques of the market and restaurant as a way to connect locals to the neighborhood hit, and to get out-of-towners to think more about Botanica’s food perspective if they can’t make it out to Silver Lake themselves. Take a look.