Richard Foss

A La Carte for 09 March 2016 [Dining news]

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Danny of Crepe Lab makes a savory crepe to order. Photo by Richard Foss

Danny of Crepe Lab makes a savory crepe to order. Photo by Richard Foss

by Richard Foss

A Geographically Appropriate Newcomer… It’s more than a little odd that Seattle has become so well known for coffee, given that the climate there has been inhospitable for the noble bean since dinosaurs walked the earth. Plenty of coffee grows in Colombia, and that’s the origin of Fika, the new coffee roaster that will be opening in Redondo in early May. The beanmasters at Fika will be roasting onsite and serving artisan breads and pastries along with coffee drinks. Watch for the doors to open at the former furniture shop at the corner of Carnelian and PCH…

A Once Great Name Disappears… For a brief time over a decade ago, Splash Bistro in Redondo had the most wildly experimental kitchen in the South Bay. After their brilliant but erratic chef departed it became a sedate but competent Italian restaurant, then underwent a series of makeovers but never caught on with locals again. The windows are papered over now, and the hotel’s food service is at the Harbor Bar in the lobby. The word is that Splash will reopen sometime in April and at least initially will serve only breakfast and brunch, but details are uncertain at the moment…

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…And So Does A Funny Name… If you didn’t have a funny story to tell about something that happened at Fat Face Fenner’s, you probably didn’t spend much time carousing in Hermosa. The original restaurant on Hermosa Avenue was a wild party place in the 80’s and 90’s, and though the reconstituted place on the Pier Plaza never hit the same highs, it had its moments. It closed for good last month, and work has started on its much more upscale replacement. Watch for Tower 53 to open sometime around the end of the year…

Events, Whole Hog Department… There is a considerable difference in texture and flavor between the different cuts of meat from the same animal, and the best way to experience that may be to come to Superba Food & Bread on March 10. They’re having a four-course whole hog dinner with beer pairings by El Segundo Brewing for the modest price of $50 inclusive. These events are great fun and give you a chance to learn while tasting – call 310-906-4598 right now to see if there is any space left… (830 S. Sepulveda, ES)

Pizza In A Parking Lot In A Dining Column?… Restaurant reviewers aren’t immune to the charms of pizza and beer, and I quite enjoyed a recent evening at King Harbor Brewing’s tasting room in North Redondo. You can try it for yourself on March 11 when they’ll be firing up the mobile oven for a show by local folk-soul musician Nick Shattuck. Doors open at 4, music begins at 7, cost is as much as you decide to spend on beer and pizza, and maybe a CD or two… (2907 West 182nd Street, RB)

First Looks… I stopped in at Crepe Lab, the tiny new restaurant on Highland Avenue that shares a building with the El Porto Market and Deli. The friendly fellow behind the counter made a whole wheat crepe to my liking, which meant it had pastrami, cheese, and vegetables, and it was a delightful light meal. This is a nice little hideaway in a low-visibility location… you might want to drop in if you enjoy crepes made to order and good strong coffee… (4101 Highland Avenue, MB)

And While You’re on Highland… A reader named Ken suggested that I try the baguettes at Cake Bakeshop in North Manhattan Beach, and I have to thank him for it – I somehow expected that a place called Cake would make only cakes. They do those very well, as I found after I purchased a vanilla-berry cake for a dinner party, but they also have excellent hand-formed baguettes. Thanks, Ken, and the rest of you readers who have sent suggestions – I’m working my way through the list and visiting them all… (3319 Highland, MB)

And More Events… On March 22 Hostaria Piave will be hosting a dinner with winemaker Claudio Alongi of Nino Negri winery in the Lombardy region of Italy. This area in the far north of the country near the Swiss border has a relatively cool climate that allows them to make relatively small amounts of excellent and complex wine. The dinner will feature culinary specialties of the region along with tastings and explanations from the winemaker, all for $90 inclusive. Phone 310-374-1000 for reservations and details… (231 S. Pacific Coast Highway, RB)

Watch This Space… Remodeling has been speeding along at the former Bobby’s South Bay Italian space, and the new restaurant may open as soon as this weekend. The new place will be called Baran’s 2239, and chef-owner Tyler Gugliotta has a long history in the area – he headed the kitchen at The Shore, 12+ Highland, and Oliver’s, and consulted at several others. The preliminary menu includes favorites like fried chicken alongside unusual items like pork jowls with gooseberries and charred scallions, and there is an unusually large and varied selection of vegetarian selections. Baran’s 2239 will be the first adventurous contemporary restaurant on PCH in Hermosa, and it will be interesting to see whether others follow as downtown restaurant spaces become increasingly pricey. The opening could be as soon as this weekend, so watch for the lights to go in at the space at 5th and PCH next door to Beirut Mix…  (502 Pacific Coast Highway, RB) 

Five Brewmasters, Five Courses, One Dinner… Those who respect the art of pairing beer with food will want to be at Chez Mélange on March 28, when five local brewmasters pair their beers with a dinner by Robert Bell. The breweries are Smog City, Monkish, Absolution, Strand, and King Harbor, and the price is a mere $55. Call 310-540-1222 for details… (1611 S. Catalina Avenue, RB)                

Brunch Like A Pro… We have nothing against old favorites like pancakes and sausage links, but if you’re going to get friends and family out of bed for a weekend meal, shouldn’t it be a great one? Chef David LeFevre of MB Post and Fishing With Dynamite thinks brunch should be as dynamic and interesting as dinners, and will be teaching a class at the Arthur J on March 20th. He’ll teach the logistics of brunch as well as the cooking techniques – you’ll learn what you can start the night before and how to prepare a great meal.. The price is $80 for the in-kitchen demo, tasting, and recipes – call 310-545-5405 for reservations…

Any new restaurants, any events, any other great places for beer and pizza? I’m at


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