Richard Foss

Angel City open, Redondo Cafe turns Hawaiian, mystery meals at Chez, and more dining news

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A La Carte column for 26 July 2018

Co-owner Richard Demian of Angel City Gril shows off a felafel taco and a chicken shawarma bacon taco. Photo by Richard Foss

An Angel gets its wings… Yes, it’s rather summery for an allusion to a popular Christmas movie, but I have been saving that joke about the Angel City Grill for quite a long time. The little cafe on the Aviation curve in North Redondo has been under construction for almost a year. I mentioned that it was underway in a column last September, and they just opened. (You may not have noticed they are open because they have reflective coatings on the windows so they always look closed during the day.) Angel City serves an eccentric mix of Middle Eastern food with tacos and burritos. Fillings include chicken shawarma with house-smoked bacon. The parking lot is tiny and often full with customers for their neighbor Pursuit Coffee, so you may need to park on the street, but a combination like that is worth a little walk (1505 Aviation, RB)…

Redondo Goes Hawaiian, and points further east… The Redondo Beach Cafe has been a landmark for decades. Old-timers will remember when the building was the original Wooden Shoe coffee shop. They served American and Canadian diner favorites under those names for almost half a century. That tradition took a sharp turn a few weeks ago when they hung the “Hawaiian Shaka Burger” banner under the existing sign. The coffee shop classics are gone, replaced by an extensive menu of burgers and sandwiches and a few upscale items like a New York steak, pork ribs, and truffle fries. Surprisingly, there is no poke on the menu, an unusual omision when that Hawaiian item is a raging fad. It will be interesting to see if they find enough local Hawaiian fusion burger fans to fill this large space (1511 S. PCH, RB)…. And around the corner in Riviera Village, Little Sister is open and already packed with eager diners. They’re serving the same intriguing mix of authentic Southeast Asian flavors with modern presentations that is such a hit at the original in Manhattan Beach, with the added attraction of a full cocktail menu instead of just wine and beer.  A warning to prospective diners: bring a pocketful of quarters, because many meters in this area date from the stone age and don’t accept credit cards (247 Avenida del Norte, RB)…

And A Coming Attraction… While work continues on the newest branch of The Rockefeller on Catalina in Riviera Village, a new operation is breaking ground a few doors down. Mattie’s Crawdaddies will specialize in Cajun and Creole seafood, with much of their business expected to be take-out. It’s a conversion of a former retail space, which is always a challenge given the regulatory maze, but an opening is planned in late fall…

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Update: Talent Search At Love & Salt… The management at Love & Salt didn’t have to go very far when it came to finding a replacement for founding chef Michael Fiorelli. They needed someone with deep experience with Mediterranean flavors, a spirit of innovation, and some knowledge of the area, so they chose Christopher Feldmeier, who is already Exec at their other restaurant Gabi James. His work there has been meeting with spectacular success, albeit with a Spanish/French palate rather than French/Italian, but he can certainly fill Fiorelli’s shoes. If only all important decisions were this easy…

When Is “Mystery Meat” A Good Thing?… When the rest of the meal is a mystery too, according to Chef Robert Bell of Chez Melange. He’ll be making a multi-course mystery dinner on August 6 for the bargain price of $39 per person, with complimentary corkage if you have a special bottle that you think goes with everything. These events are a lot of fun for adventurous omnivores who enjoy the sense of anticipation as a master chef creates surprises. Next up at the Chez is a wine dinner with Gina Gallo of Gallo Winery, who will preside on August 20.. An oyster dinner with author and culinary historian Carolyn Tillie is in the works too, which fits the theme at Sea Change. The team at Chez Melange keeps things exciting at these events, which blur the lines between performance, culinary education, and pure gustatory delight. If you have never attended one, do yourself a favor and experience an evening which will inform your mind while it teases your taste buds. Call (310) 540-1222 or check ChezMelange.com for more information or to reserve…

And one for the Brew Lovers…The Bite at the Beach food and beer festival will feature tastings from over 40 gastropubs and breweries, and even a chance to taste homebrews from the local brewing club members. The date is August Eleventh, the venue is the MBS film campus on Rosecrans, and tickets are still available. More information is at the Chamber of Commerce’s website at this link. I’m going to have to miss it this year, so raise a glass for me, please…

Baking Day? Baked Bear!… Just in time for a heat wave, the new ice cream shop on Pier Plaza is open. They specialize in made-to-order ice cream sandwiches in all sorts of combinations of cookies and ice cream, and since it’s over 80 as I type this, that’s sounding really good (49 Pier Avenue, HB)…

And My Begging Bowl Is Out… It’s much easier to write these things if you people out there help me with information about what is new and interesting. Any restaurant openings I should know about, any events or wine dinners, any places that serve a superb cocktail? I’m at richard@richardfoss.comER

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