To accurately list all of the typical places one might find popcorn being served, one only needs to consider the audio aspect.
In short: What are the sounds around you? If there's a calliope in the distance, or circus music, there's popcorn in the vicinity. If there's an on-screen explosion followed by outer space laser noises, there's popcorn in the lobby. And if you can hear tigers roaring or seals barking, popcorn can be found at the snack bar.
But what of polite, dinner-time murmurs?
That's trickier, oh lovers of all that is buttered and salty. Popcorn, despite being a rather ubiquitous and economical and found-all-over foodstuff, is not a staple of the sit-down dining scene. But leave it to some of Southern California's more merry restaurants to incorporate the snackable stuff both in entrees and as a tony pre-meal treat.
National Popcorn Day is on Monday, Jan. 19, but you don't need to wait for that hot-to-the-touch holiday to pop, pop, pop by...
Barton G.: The West Hollywood theatery -- "theatery" is where theater meets an eatery, of course -- serves dishes rife with humor and cheek. So the popcorn shrimp arrives in an old-timey popcorn maker, and, for sure, there's popcorn in the mix, too. Sriracha aioli, Old Bay spice, and other piquant elements round out the very visual (and flavorful) presentation.
Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar: You've had popcorn with olive oil and sea salt, we're just betting -- maybe even Malibu sea salt, which this stuff is naturally mixed with -- but what of nori sheets that have been ground into the mix? Popcorn and nori sheets will be a fresh flavor combo for most, if not pretty much all, who try it.
The Gadarene Swine: The oil has a garlic note with this restaurant popcorn. For sure, there's salt, too, and the herb that ties the tastieness all together? It's thyme, which is typically redolent of chicken and heartier dishes. Picture this all in popcorn, and make for Studio City.
The Whisper Lounge: If you're at The Grove, you can head for the movie theatre and chomp upon your corn there, or you can make for the Original Farmers Market for some classic popcorn. But for jalapeno Parmesan popcorn, head for this swanky little spot off The Grove's main thoroughfare. Best have a cocktail, too, to handle the heat it'll surely bring.