Spring is a great time for food lovers. So much is in season and those seeking healthier dining options seem to have more options. 

For those looking to incorporate more plants into their diet, there are some exciting goings-on in the local dining scene.

First up, We Be Grubbin' is expanding beyond the farmers markets into the pop-up dinner scene. The first Come Grub With Us will be held Wednesday, offering diners a plant-based soul food buffet.

Under the idea of "good food brings people together and creates connections through shared experience," Kim and Shante Jackson will offer a selection of main and side dishes prepared fresh at The Kitchen downtown.

The menu includes, but is not limited to: Southern-fried chick'n (their own recipe for a fried faux popcorn chicken), smothered seitan steaks, bourbon-glazed yams, mac and cheese and shitake jambalaya, which ups the umami flavor with the generous use of mushrooms. 

Food will be available buffet-style and attendees can sit at the communal tables set up at the 20th Street business, which hosts other pop-up dining events as well as cooking classes and private parties.

Cost is $20 for the dinner. A take-out option will be available as well. 

Dinner will be served from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at The Kitchen, 1317 20th St. 

The Jacksons plan to offer more dinners in the future, with different menus. Follow We Be Grubbin' on Instagram (instagram.com/webegrubbin661) and Facebook (facebook.com/webegrubbin661) to stay up to date.

For more information on The Kitchen, visit thekitchenbakersfield.com or call 827-7811.

Vida Vegan

Speaking of plant-based living, Vida Vegan is hoping to open its doors next week. Like We Be Grubbin', the business has built a following at farmers markets, specifically the Market on the Hill on Saturdays at Kaiser Permanente on Mall View Road and the Haggin Oaks market on Sundays at the Kaiser at The Marketplace.

The restaurant will open in the remodeled space at 4530 Stine Road, formerly home to Sarducci’s Italian Deli in southwest Bakersfield.

Vida Vegan is a collaboration between Mao and Gwen Granada and Alejandro Ocampo, owner of Camino Real Kitchen & Tequila and Bakersfield Pizza Co. & Bar.

May will be a busy month for the business, which will be the only local food vendor at the upcoming Lightning in a Bottle Festival running from May 8 to 13.

For more details on the opening, follow Vida Vegan Co. on Instagram (instagram.com/vidaveganco) or Facebook (facebook.com/vidaveganco).

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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