Over the course of culinary history, there are ideas that are recreated again and again. Every culture has some version of meat roasted over a fire, whether they call it barbecue, kebab, shashlik, yakitori, or something else. Similarly, once people come up with the idea of dough, it’s a natural thing to wrap it around…

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Naming a steakhouse “The Rex” may seem presumptuous, because that title asserts kingship. Another steakhouse might assert that they are the queen of such establishments, or perhaps a prince, but that makes all other steakhouses subjects or vassals. It does make sense because good beef was historically the food of the aristocracy in most of…

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Everyone who drives down Hermosa Avenue after dark noticed the day they switched on the power at Agave Azul. In place of the simple white sign and dimly lit patio you saw when this was The Standing Room, the building blazed neon blue with purple highlights. If the intent was to let people know there…

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There’s a question that, however softly or politely it’s asked, should always be considered carefully. You might hear it when you decide to bet a friend that you can ride your bicycle down Pier Avenue blindfolded, shave the cat without getting scratched, or drink a whole bottle of tequila. “Are you sure you want to…

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Once upon a time there was a little hole in the wall that made very good pizza. They qualified as a dine-in restaurant on the basis of a few tables in a dark corner in the back, but on any given day most of their business was take-out. Most of those pizzas were eaten piping…

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There are certain amenities that send a restaurant investor’s pulse racing. A view of the ocean is the most obvious, but having the closest burger joint to a high school or the closest pizzeria to a hotel are also obvious winners. Surfers, students, and tourists have varying budgets, but they all get hungry, and being…

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When Avenue Italy opened on Avenue I in Redondo, I thought it might be the beginning of a new era in city planning. We might have Argentine and Albanian restaurants on Avenue A, Bulgarian and Brazilian on Avenue B, Cambodian and Czech on Avenue C, and so on. There are no Avenues J through Z,…

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The dining decks in downtown Hermosa are generally nicely decorated, albeit without much personality because they’re designed to maximize seating. One stands out: the patio at Rok Sushi, which is shaped like a boat complete with a wheel out of a pirate movie. They lose a few seats as a result, but the design is…

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If you ask 10 people at random whether they should adopt a healthier diet, it’s a good bet that at least half will say yes. The problem is what “healthy” means to different people – is it low carb, Mediterranean diet, Ayurvedic, macrobiotic, paleo, vegan, or something else? It depends partly on whether you’re trying…

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I’m occasionally literal-minded, so my first thought when I heard about a South Bay establishment called Nomad Eatery was that it was a food truck. That would be the most nomadic style of dining possible in an urban landscape, though it’s not one of my favorites because they usually lack comfortable seating and a place…

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About 40 years ago, Thai science fiction writer Somtow Sucharitkil wrote several satirical stories about a future in which most of humanity’s creative energy is expended on a giant shopping mall in space. The Mallworld stories were a comic look at commercialism, at a future in which every experience humanity could offer is available within…

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One of the hit films of the 1960s was La Dolce Vita, a bleak comedy about shallow, thrill-seeking hipsters in Rome. The title, which means “The Sweet Life,” is ironic in that the sophisticates have wealth but not the capacity to enjoy it, nor to appreciate simple pleasures and natural beauty. The essence of the…

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The South Bay is full of older homes that have been added onto so many times that they acquire quirks – a switch somewhere that is on a different circuit than everything around it, pipes that come out of the wall and go right back in, a patch of wall where a door used to…

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