It's juuuust about the start of October when all of those dangly rubber spiders and flies and beetles and worms begin to show up in the Halloween "buy 10 for a buck" bins, ready to add atmosphere, and the occasional "ew," to your holiday decor.
But what you're likely not doing, come October, is chowing down on various real-world creepy-crawlies in a slew of savory, crunch-tastic, dig-in dishes. That'll change on Saturday, Oct. 8 should you head for the Third Street Promenade, and should you swing by Mondo Taco, and should you order one of the special dishes at the Western Exterminator Pop-Up Pestaurant.
That's right: Western Exterminator, the longtime local bug-searcher-outers, is staging a most interesting pop-up restaurant, which is typically the pursuit of local restaurateurs. And if you can guess, by the pop-up's unusual host, that there will be critters in those dishes, you are right on tasty target.
The Mondo Taco chefs will prepare treats like Thai Mai Mealworm Salad, Deep South BBQ Beetle Tacos, Rice Cricket Treats, as well as a chocolate-y dessert and a Jamaican-spicy grasshopper dish (complete with salsa and jerk flavors).
The midday "you try it, no you"-a-thon has got a sweet surprise at heart: It's a fundraiser. "For each bug dish sampled Western Exterminator will donate $1 to Westside Food Bank..." and the ultimate goal? A minimum of $3,000.
That's a lot of beetles and grasshoppers, hoo boy.
Insect cuisine is, of course, found around the globe, and throughout history, too. It's an in-the-kitchen pursuit not only practiced at the occasional pop-up — and at the Natural History Museum's popular Bug Fair in the spring — but in places that want to add some protein and unique kick to a dish.
And, of course, a social bonus is insect cuisine also gives many a diner something to chat about with their pals. Here's something else chat-worthy: Western Exterminator, well known to Angelenos both for its Little Man symbol and bright yellow trucks, will mark its first century in a half decade.
You're right: Western Exterminator also figures prominently in the 2013 film "Big Ass Spider."
It's been around long enough to call upon a lot of Southern California homes for a host of reasons, in short. But who would have thought Little Man's bug-big outfit would one day host a culinary adventure in Santa Monica?
Think it now: It's happening on Oct. 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 in the afternoon. This is one event that is sure to build — here it comes — buzz.