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Spot Check! Taquitos With Smoked Eel, Sichuan Chile Hot Chicken, and L.A. Food For Lahaina

If you want to help raise funds for Lahaina, you can do so over aguas frescas and a collection of great L.A. chefs and food businesses this Sunday.

11:28 AM PDT on August 18, 2023

Torta de asada at Taqui Taqui in Mid-City, photo: Taqui Taqui

Spot Check! We're bringing you the latest and most exciting openings, pop-ups, and food events around all of Los Angeles to check out, as well as a few important fundraisers for Lahaina. In the midst of the incomprehensible tragedy facing Maui and Hawaii right now, we also encourage you to check out this guide to local restaurants who are staging benefits and giving proceeds to help on L.A. Times and please donate if you are able.

Healthy, family-run aguas frescas brand Aguas Locas is holding a fundraiser for its Lahaina ohana at Mi Vida in Highland Park this Sunday, 2-6PM. Attendees will find food from East Los Musubi and hot sauce brand El Chilito, as well as refreshing drinks, lively music, and shopping while helping to lend a hand.

5159 York Blvd. Highland Park, CA 90042. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 182 - “York/Avenue 52.”

A benefit brunch for victims of the Lahaina fire is planned for this Sunday at City Club L.A. in Downtown, run by chef Victor Munoz, whose "mole madre" L.A. TACO featured in 2022. $50 entry includes food and drink by a variety of LA chefs, pop-ups, gourmet food purveyors, and national spirits brands, plus live music, "raffles, prizes, and surprises." 100% of proceeds goes to Maui Strong & World Central Kitchen.

Sun. Aug. 20, 11am-3pm, 555 S. Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro A, B, D, E or J (910/950) Lines - "7th Street/Metro Center Station" or Bus Lines 16, 18, 20, 53, 55 or 62 - “5th/Flower.”

The Carnitas fried chicken sandwich at Taqui Taqui, photo: Taqui Taqui

Taqui Taqui is open in Mid-City from the Le Cordon Bleu-educated chef Norlin Rubio, and his brother, the force behind L.A.s 29-year-old Rubio's Bakery. The business masters in tortas and other sandwiches on freshly baked bread, including a "carnitas fried chicken" torta, an al pastor cemita/burger-looking thing, and one with chicken mole. Options also include tacos, bowls, burritos, and tortas with carne asada, al pastor, shrimp, carnitas, birria de res, battered fish, and chicken adobada.

4972 W. Pico Blvd. Ste 102 Los Angeles, CA 90019. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 212 - “La Brea/Pico” or Bus Line 33 - "Venice/La Brea."

Pecking House's Sichuan chile hot chicken

Pecking House, the New York-imported Sichuan chile fried hot chicken pop-up from chef Eric Huang, has extended its pop-up at TukTuk's "Turntable" space on Sawtelle Boulevard through October 22. Looks great.

1644 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 4 - “Santa Monica/Corinth.”

Tacos gobernador at Ce Fishe

Ce Fishe is now popping up every Saturday and Sunday at Pico Rivera's A Mi Hacienda with its gleaming sashimi tostadas and phenomenal tacos al gobernador, beginning at noon both days.

A spread of tonkatsu at Katsu Bar

Katsu Bar is now open Wilshire Boulevard, near the eastern edge of Santa Monica. Pork tonkatsu is the big draw of its small menu, found in dishes such as a rosemary katsu sando, curry katsu plates and curry katsu udon, as well as impeccably proportioned egg sandos and Nashville hot chicken sandwiches.

3032 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. C Santa Monica, CA 90403. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 720 - “Wilshire/Bundy.”

Chilaquiles at The Neighborhood Cafe

The Neighborhood Cafe is now open in Huntington Park, offering approachable dishes from Mexico and the U.S., including steak sopes, chicken and waffles, burgers, chilaquiles, "lowrider" tacos, breakfast burritos, chili dogs, and turkey melts, among the many choices.

6531 Seville Ave. Huntington Park, CA 90255. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 110 - “Gage/Seville” or Bus Lines 60 and 251 - "Pacific/Gage."

Chef Roberto Alcocer of Baja's Malva and Oceanside's Valle, which was recently awarded a Michelin star, will be a guest chef at Wes Avila's Ka'Teen on Wednesday, August 23, the first of a planned series of regular guest chef nights. A $95 six-course menu will include mini potato taquitos with wild mushroom soup, smoked eel, and caviar; and a lobster and heirloom tomato salad, among others. Reservations here.

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