Richard Foss

A Little Piece of Italy [restaurant review]

A Little Piece of Italy [restaurant review]

A tiny cafe on the Hermosa Plaza serves uncompromising versions of the Veneto regional specialties

One of the odder effects of the pandemic has been to level the playing field for modest restaurants. When everybody is serving outdoors on improvised patios, the view of the beach, street-life, or in some cases a brick wall is the same as their neighbors’. People who wouldn’t have given some places a second glance […]

 Richard Foss

Adios Barrio, Denny’s decamps, A Fish rising, above standard at Pacific Standard Prime

Adios Barrio, Denny’s decamps, A Fish rising, above standard at Pacific Standard Prime

A La Carte column for 02 September 2020

Diner Decamps: The Kettle in Manhattan Beach is now the last 24 hour dining spot in the Beach Cities, as the Denny’s at the corner of Artesia and Aviation made it official that they won’t reopen. This was not a culinary star in the South Bay, or even a decent coffee shop compared to others […]

 Richard Foss

Mexican time machine [restaurant review]

Mexican time machine [restaurant review]

Little has changed over the years at The Red Onion, and they like it that way

One hundred and ten years ago, railroad magnate Henry Huntington cashed in on a craze inspired by a melodramatic novel. Helen Hunt Jackson’s “Ramona” was set in Spanish California, and it set off a craze for tamales, enchiladas, and other Mexican dishes. The story inspired Huntington to open Casa Verdugo, which set the standard for […]

 Richard Foss

Quality in the marina [restaurant review]

Quality in the marina [restaurant review]

Quality Seafood is a classic waterfront spot, offering seafood from local fishermen

My grandmother grew up by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and like most people from that area was particular about seafood. Before ordering crab cakes at a restaurant she would pepper the server with questions – was it made with leg meat, claw, or backfin lump, and where was the crab from? Servers usually had […]

 Richard Foss

Korean by the Bay [restaurant review]

Korean by the Bay [restaurant review]

A tiny South Hermosa café offers down-home Korean

All native Angelenos have had a conversation with some New England transplant who has an inexplicable nostalgia for extreme seasons. They wax lyrical about snow, which we regard as something kept properly imprisoned in a box to keep beer cold, and a  phenomenon called autumn during which trees look pretty while trying not to die. […]

 Richard Foss

Steaks on PCH, ceviche on Pier, and an impossible name

Steaks on PCH, ceviche on Pier, and an impossible name

A La Carte column for 13 August 2020

Timing And Etiquette… To the delight of restaurateurs, the beach cities have been loosening regulations that forced very early closing times. Most have fewer seats than they used to, so turning the tables one more time each night is the key to being even marginally profitable. It may also allow more effective personal distancing, because […]

 Richard Foss

Chef Melba has offered quiet excellence in Hermosa Beach for 15 years

Chef Melba has offered quiet excellence in Hermosa Beach for 15 years

Chef Melba’s is a little outside of downtown Hermosa, physically and conceptually

Dining in downtown Hermosa has a certain style — loud, hip, and flashy, both high and low concept presented with larger than life exuberance. It’s great when you need a shot of energy, a reminder of the vividness of beach life, but there are times when the opposite is in order. Get away from the […]

 Richard Foss

Infernal pizza, high level dining, scam sites, and more restaurant news

Infernal pizza, high level dining, scam sites, and more restaurant news

A La Carte column for 30 July 2020

Fragile resurgence:  A superficial glance at the dining scene makes it look like things are almost back to normal. There were lines for Sunday brunch at Pier Plaza eateries, and business looked brisk just about everywhere. The Redondo Boardwalk was lively on a weekend afternoon too, with Naja’s regulars making up for personal distancing and […]

 Richard Foss

Celebrating cafe society [restaurant review]

Celebrating cafe society [restaurant review]

If you're going to visit a sidewalk cafe, why not one by the people who invented them?

When you dream of a summer vacation in a sophisticated city, your mind is likely to turn to Paris, perhaps to a fantasy involving a leisurely meal and a glass of wine at a sidewalk café overlooking the Seine. In a typical July or August your companions will mainly be other tourists, because Parisians are […]

 Richard Foss

Corporate does quality [restaurant review]

Corporate does quality [restaurant review]

Urban Plates is a mall rarity by any metric

Many years ago I worked at a company that did business with a commercial printer. It was here I first saw a tattered sign by the counter that read, “Good, fast, or cheap – pick any two.” When we came in with a request for something outrageous, like a thousand color brochures to be printed […]

 Richard Foss

Chicken Challenge 3 – Bring the heat [restaurant review]

Chicken Challenge 3 – Bring the heat [restaurant review]

Spicy fried chicken has been exploding in popularity. How well do two South Bay establishments stack up?

One of America’s hottest food trends, literally and figuratively, started as an act of revenge when a woman who was angry with her boyfriend put punishing levels of chili peppers in his food. The year was around 1930, the city was Nashville, the food was fried chicken, and he loved it and asked for seconds. […]

 Richard Foss

The middle of everything [restaurant review]

The middle of everything [restaurant review]

An East Hermosa restaurant serves food from the center of the Southern Mediterranean

The ancient Romans called the waters around the Italian peninsula “the ocean at the center of the world” – that’s one literal translation of the word Mediterranean. In an era when travel was fastest by water, control of the center of that sea was a natural advantage for their empire. In times of war, troops […]

 Richard Foss

Dinner and a show, Trinidadian street food, one less Hawaiian, and more restaurant news

Dinner and a show, Trinidadian street food, one less Hawaiian, and more restaurant news

A La Carte column for 16 July 2020

A Little Dinner Music: The live music scene was one of the many casualties of the pandemic, but one restaurant is working on a way to bring back the excitement of new tunes and the joy of a good meal, together. Baran’s 2239 has partnered with One Talented Universe, which has a high-tech performance space […]

 Richard Foss

Manhattan House back in plain sight [restaurant review]

Manhattan House back in plain sight [restaurant review]

Once easily overlooked by fast passing traffic, their new outdoor dining and new menus is catching diners’ interest

There are people who drive by Manhattan House every day and have never stopped in to see what they do. It’s easy to understand why this happens. There is speedy traffic most of the day at by the northwest corner of Sepulveda and Manhattan Beach boulevards, and the gaudy mural that is intended to advertise […]

 Richard Foss

We’re open! We’re closed! We’re confused!

We’re open! We’re closed! We’re confused!

A La Carte column for 02 July 2020

Bending Time And Space: The march of public dining into parking lots, parking spaces, alleys, and courtyards continues, sometimes on a grand scale and sometimes small. A stretch of Richmond Street in El Segundo has become an outdoor plaza, and restaurants everywhere are eyeing every possible space where they might be able to put a […]

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