Richard Foss

Happy veggies, Roman pizza, food and drink, events galore

A La Carte column for 25 April 2019

Going with the grain: There’s a new tenant in the former Nuna’s space in Redondo Beach, and in combination with the neighboring businesses it may signal a new attraction that might be called Vegetarian Row. The Grain Cafe is a branch of a Los Angeles mini-chain and specializes in vegetarian and vegan meals at moderate […]

 Richard Foss

A formula that works [restaurant review]

Deluca Pasta offers Italian home cooking without artifice or fancy presentations

A long time ago there was a restaurant in Torrance called “The Chicken, Steak, and Chocolate Cake Place.” If you needed to know what they served, all you had to do was look at the sign. This evidently wasn’t a great strategy because like the other restaurants in that chain it didn’t last long, but […]

 Richard Foss

A Home For Homie [restaurant review]

A Home For Homie [restaurant review]

A challenging downtown Manhattan Beach space becomes a popular breakfast spot

Over the years a fair number of people with eccentric visions have been attracted to a long, narrow space next to the Kettle in downtown Manhattan Beach. Since 2005 this has been an Indonesian restaurant, a French bistro that also served tacos, a cafe specializing in chocolate, and a surf shop that also sold burritos. […]

 Richard Foss

An institution closes, the steak takeover, and this taco is a mystery

An institution closes, the steak takeover, and this taco is a mystery

A LA Carte column for 11 April 2019

An Indian departs… After over 20 years in business, Addi’s Tandoor closed at the beginning of his month. The Redondo Beach institution was the first restaurant in the South Bay to offer a sophisticated wine program, and was one of the few in all of California to specialize in the distinctive cuisine of Goa. Addi […]

 Richard Foss

Havana home cooking [restaurant review]

Havana home cooking [restaurant review]

Havana Mania is a major draw among people who know this cuisine, and a cultural portal for those who don’t.

I love the creativity of California chefs, but sometimes they don’t know when to leave a good thing alone. This seems to be most extreme with Mediterranean food. The fact that our Golden State produces every kind of produce under the sun doesn’t mean they all belong in that bowl of pasta primavera. That sprinkle […]

 Richard Foss

Authentically Greek [restaurant review]

Authentically Greek [restaurant review]

Founder Jimmy Hantrzarides’ memory is honored, down to the gyros and retsina

The Mediterranean diet hit its stride in the early 1990s when celebrities and pundits started extolling the virtues of salads with cheese and olive oil, grilled meats basted with olive oil, and marinades with lemon pepper, garlic, and (you guessed it), olive oil. It was a rejection of dishes heavy with butter and cream, and […]

 Richard Foss

A better cup of coffee

A better cup of coffee

Coffee has more proven aromas than wine, says Smoky Hollow Roaster’s Dale Inghram

A really good cup of coffee changed Dale Inghram’s life. Inghram was a voiceover performer who had risen to doing Super Bowl commercials and being the voice of the Bravo Network, and… well, let’s let him tell it. “One of the great things about voiceover work is that there’s a lot of free time, and […]

 Richard Foss

Decadence makes the scene, Mother’s Market opens, many dining events, and much more South Bay restaurant news

Decadence makes the scene, Mother’s Market opens, many dining events, and much more South Bay restaurant news

A La Carte column for 13 March 2019

The wait is over: It has taken almost two years, but Decadence is finally open on Hermosa Avenue. The interior design is remarkable and the sound level moderate, creating an atmosphere of modern elegance that is unlike most downtown restaurants. The opening menu is mostly contemporary items that often have subtle Vietnamese influences, along with […]

 Richard Foss

Imperfect copy, in a good way [restaurant review]

Imperfect copy, in a good way [restaurant review]

The Rockefeller in Redondo Beach does the unexpected

It takes an engraver a lot of time to create the dies to stamp a single coin. Once that has been examined and found to be good, the second takes almost no time at all, and so on with every one afterward. This is an apt metaphor for restaurant chains: once you have put the […]

 Richard Foss

Aristocrats of the Sea [restaurant review]

Aristocrats of the Sea [restaurant review]

Ali’i Fish Company’s variety of fish isn’t as extensive as elsewhere because much of it is flown in daily from Hawaii

Whoever named the Ali’i Fish Company after the Hawaiian aristocracy probably wouldn’t want his customers to actually eat like traditional Polynesians. The ruling chiefs and priests had a limited array of spices at hand, and their dining was so ritualized that men and women couldn’t eat the same foods. It was taboo for men and […]

 Richard Foss

Darren’s Closed, Darren Still Here, Admiral Risty Sinks, New Openings, and Local Dining Events

Darren’s Closed, Darren Still Here, Admiral Risty Sinks, New Openings, and Local Dining Events

A La Carte column for 07 February 2019

Darren’s gone, Darren Isn’t… After just over two decades of serving creative modern food, Darren’s in downtown Manhattan Beach has closed. Chef-owner Darren Weiss will now have more time with his family, but will still be part of the local dining scene. Darren’s brother Seth owns Underground and The Chelsea in Hermosa, and Darren will […]

 Richard Foss

A satisfying everyday meal [restaurant review]

A satisfying everyday meal [restaurant review]

AKA Sushi and Ramen offers conventional flavors uncommonly well combined at a modest cost

I enjoy and respect high-style and creative restaurants, but I wouldn’t want to dine at them every day. Sometimes I’m looking for peak experiences, for epiphanies about what can be done with an arsenal of ingredients and methods and a daring attitude, but eating special things every day would make them less special. There are […]

 Richard Foss

Subtle, Simple, Serene [restaurant review]

Subtle, Simple, Serene [restaurant review]

Centuries ago, when the rest of Italy was a chaos of feuding dukes and statelets, Venice was called La Serenissima, the serene republic. The only Venetian-style restaurant in the South Bay is a quiet echo of that city, a place with candlelight, soft music, and a muted color scheme. Sosta means “rest” or “pause” in […]

 Richard Foss

Mexican slang [restaurant review]

Mexican slang [restaurant review]

Caló Kitchen takes its inspiration from the 1930s pachucos, with inspired results

Interesting things happen near borders, where cultures merge organically and children who straddle societies come up with ideas that confuse their elders. Sometimes this is deliberate, as a counterculture finds ways to dress, talk, and cook that stakes a claim to being different. In the 1930s hipsters along both sides of the Mexican border were […]

 Richard Foss

Restaurants help Fed staff get fed, Steakhouse and natural market coming to Redondo, Events, and more dining news.

A La Carte column for 17 January 2019

Feds Shut Down, Restaurateurs Respond… There are federal employees in our area who usually live from paycheck to paycheck but currently aren’t getting one, and some literally may not know where their next meal is coming from. Two restaurants have risen to the challenge, albeit with limited offers. Rock & Brews is offering a free […]

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