North Asia, meet South Bay [restaurant review]

I took my wife, who doesn’t enjoy highly spicy food, to a Korean restaurant. It wasn’t with the expectation that she would suddenly change the preferences of a lifetime, or that she lost a bet. We had family in town for the holidays, and one of them craved the famously flavorful cuisine that they had…

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Ten milestones from a strange year in dining

In hindsight, the best that can be said about dining in the year 2021 is that it wasn’t as awful as we were expecting. On December 31 of 2020 the dining scene looked bleak, but we close the books on the 2021 with guarded optimism. Here were 10 of the high and low points:  …

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A view of Vista in Hermosa Beach

I love it when restaurants surprise me with ambitious food in odd locations. Finding a great little eatery on a residential side street, in a mall, or in some other unlikely spot is thrilling, a sign someone is so confident about their cuisine that they believe people will go anywhere to get it. It’s also…

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The taco reinvented in Redondo – twice

People who grew up in Mexico City find the way Americans eat tacos to be peculiar. Tacos there are a bocadillo, a snack, and making a meal of them would be like eating an entire can of the little Vienna sausages usually found impaled on toothpicks on cocktail party trays. I’m sure people have done…

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A work in progress works well at a Manhattan Beach Cafe

I knew an artist who was extremely secretive about works in progress. She would flip her sketchbook over when I came into the room so I couldn’t get even a glimpse, and more than once I was on the receiving end of an annoyed, “Don’t look at that, it’s not fiiiiinished.” I get that some…

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Local Chinese, native flavors at Seashore in Redondo

Depending on which set of statistics you look at, Chinese food is either the most popular restaurant cuisine in the U.S. or in second place. That includes high style fusion places, down home eateries, and take-out counters all lumped into the one category, but one statistic proves the appeal. There are more Chinese restaurants in…

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Eatery offline, food on point in Manhattan Beach

I am old enough to remember the pre-internet age, and still marvel at some of the changes. If you wanted to know when a restaurant was open you had to call and ask, and if you were curious about what they served you had to hope the person on the other end of the phone…

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The universe beneath our feet

Rolling Hills resident Kathy Kellogg Johnson tells the story of the founding of her family’s garden products company as though she were there, even though it happened in 1925. A young man with a new engineering degree from USC didn’t have much money or land. His father had lost his fortune on a contract to…

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Bettolino Kitchen: the restaurant between everything

There are locations that guarantee a restaurant a high profile and public recognition, but that’s a double-edged sword. That coveted ocean view or high traffic walk street comes with a higher rent, and a lot of nearby places also begging for the attention of prospective diners. Add in the parking challenges of high-density neighborhoods and…

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Hermosa’s corner of England

Many British pub names are bewildering to Americans. When I mention that I enjoyed an evening of quaffing ale at the Ferret & Firkin, or a glass of fine wine at the Boot & Flogger, people think I made these places up. Nevertheless, I did drink at both, as well as the Bear & Ragged…

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Esperanza in Manhattan Beach is a delight to the eye and tongue

It’s rare an artist’s rendition of a new restaurant inspires outrage, but that is what happened when this publication displayed an image of Esperanza to accompany one of my dining columns in July 2019. The spectacular, curved concrete façade provoked hate mail that declared that something like this would fit in fine in Beverly Hills,…

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The End in Torrance is a ‘Side Street Wonder’

When I visit old cities, I find it charming that most residential neighborhoods have their local cafe, bakery, pub, and some little shop that sells the necessities of everyday life. It’s a relic of a world before the automobile, when neighbors met and socialized in the course of their everyday lives. That little eatery or…

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