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LA’s Vegan Ice Cream Craze Has Officially Reached Orange County

Plus, Night + Market Song returns from a fire, and a Downtown conversation with star SF chef Reem Assil

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A three-dimensional model of an ice cream scoop shop in pink and blue.
A colorful rendering of an incoming ice cream shop.
Dear Bella Creamery

Hollywood plant-based ice cream favorite Dear Bella Creamery is expanding, adding a second location at the Lab in Orange County’s Costa Mesa soon. Expect bubblegum tones at the shop and fun flavors at the ready from owners Alice Cherng and Belinda Wei, who have been crafting unique pints and doing restaurant collaborations out of their primary LA shop since 2017. That puts them well ahead of the more recent plant-based ice cream trend, with vegan and vegan-friendly options now available at shops and in stores across the city. The duo has grown their business considerably in that time, even adding nationwide shipping as of this month, and now they’ll get to dip their toes into Orange County as part of a planned expansion push across Southern California in the coming months. The second location opens at 2930 Bristol Street in Costa Mesa in June; a rendering of the Kellie Patry (Kensho, Equator Coffees) designed space is above.

In other Orange County news, Newport Beach’s Sushi Ii is offering side-by-side tastings of some ultra-luxe sake from Dassai. The $75 event is in addition to the usual omakase presented at the restaurant, and the tastings will run multiple times per month.

Welcome back

After eight long months, Night + Market Song has reopened in Silver Lake. The restaurant suffered a substantial fire last year, returning to limited service just yesterday. Expect the place to ramp back up slowly over the next week or so.

Chef news to know

Chef Michael Mina’s Mother Tongue restaurant is coming along. The project, housed inside a fitness facility on La Brea, has hired Fernando Darin as executive chef. Fans will know Darin’s work from his long tenure with the Patina group (including as executive chef of Patina in Downtown).

Meanwhile on Wednesday, May 4, James Beard Foundation Award-nominated chef Reem Assil will be in LA for a morning conversation with Ferron Salniker at Downtown’s NeueHouse location inside the famed Bradbury Building. The event is in part to celebrate Assil’s new cookbook, but also to chat about how hospitality can help to create strong community bonds — and there will be food from Kismet, too. Want in? Simply RSVP. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Party along the LA River

Frogtown’s Spoke Bicycle Cafe is re-launching its Spoke Nights, which means evening service and lots of craft beer along the Los Angeles River. Jimmy Smith (formerly of Glendale Tap) will be expanding the tap list and bringing in pop-up food vendors to go along with Spoke’s own food. Expect music and comedy and trivia nights all summer, as well.

Eat well for Ukraine

Coast Range, a popular weekend getaway restaurant up in Solvang, CA, is hosting a local fundraiser to support World Central Kitchen’s ongoing efforts in Ukraine. The Wednesday, May 4 event will include courses from Lincoln Carson, Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread, and more. The high-end five-course meal runs for $250 (with the option to donate more), and all proceeds are going to WCK.

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