In the gritty heart of Hollywood, flanked by cheap pizza and a noisy hookah bar, I was lost. I had an address, but the location of the Plum Bistro Pop-Up seemed to not exist. It wasn't until a helpful bartender on a smoke break pointed me through a commercial courtyard, behind a charming Queen Anne cottage constructed in 1902, that I found any indication I was in the right place.
One of the oldest houses in Hollywood, the cottage underwent a stunning restoration by the Houston Brothers, and will open to the public next month as No Vacancy at the Hotel Juniper. Last week,Makini Howell, chef and owner of Plum Bistro in Seattle, took over the kitchen for a four day vegan pop up restaurant with the help of Roberto Martin, author of Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, and Shawain Whyte, Executive Chef of Blossom Café in New York City.
"I met the owner of this place a couple years ago and asked if I could do my pop up here," explained Chef Howell while sipping a glass of Vegan Vine. She is current traveling from city to city, touring for her recently released cookbook, Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle's Plum Bistro.
Chef Howell opened her first café in her hometown of Seattle in 2005, after a series of frustrating vegan dining experiences while living in New York. As a lifelong vegan, she felt many restaurants "miss the satisfaction factor because you're getting sides or something. I wasn't getting what I wanted." Plum Bistro's dishes rely on whole foods and familiar ingredients, elegantly composed into substantial, refined vegal meals.