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.
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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.