What America tastes like

I have expat friends who live in New Zealand and stay with me when they visit family here. Their first actions on arrival follow a pattern. On the way from the airport, even before dropping their luggage, we stop for Mexican food, and within the next two days we go out for barbecue. These are…

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Intermittently brilliant in a Torrance mini-mall

The most expensive steaks in the world come from Japan, which is ironic for those who know history. For over a thousand years the Japanese ate no beef at all. In that Buddhist country, anyone who consumed as much as a mouthful was required to do penance for 150 days. When the modernizing Emperor Meiji…

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Ragin Cajun, Simplified and simply fine

“It’s time for me to review the Ragin Cajun again,” I mused to my wife as we drove by on the way to someplace else. “You just want an excuse to order their fried chicken,” she shot back. “How much have they changed since you last reviewed them?” She wasn’t entirely wrong about me wanting…

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Hermosa hibernation ends with Colombian, Slay, and Cultured Slice openings, Good Stuff reopening, plus wine dinners and other events

Hermosa Happenings… After a period when most new restaurant action was in El Segundo and Redondo, Hermosa is hopping. We’ll start with doings there and then get to other cities and an event roundup… Living In A Musical?… A new Colombian restaurant called Encanto is coming to the long-empty ground floor space beneath Radici restaurant.…

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Fogo de Chão in El Segundo – Two restaurants in one

At fine tables in the 1800s, there were two competing models of how to make a meal special: Service Francais, where a table is set with all the ornamentally prepared dishes of a meal arranged so diners could admire them, and Service Russe, where servers bring each dish from the kitchen individually portioned for one…

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Health Nut – A pastel palate on a Manhattan Beach menu

There is a joke about Mexican food that it’s a cuisine of hundreds of dishes made from 10 ingredients. Mexicans have indeed found ways to bring an arsenal of techniques to a somewhat limited number of food staples, and create diversity of flavors, and textures that make it one of the world’s great cuisines. That’s…

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Comfort food, comfortable place

When I consider some dining establishments, I am reminded of Shakespeare’s observation, “There is a tide in the affairs of restaurants, which taken at flood leads on to fortune.” It shows that…excuse me, I just looked at that again and apparently the bard was talking about something else Where was I? Oh yes, tides of…

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Cozy Café – Redondo’s tiny landmark is an OK cafe

The little building just south of Torrance Boulevard on PCH isn’t beautiful when it comes to proportions or decoration. From the outside it has all the charm of a shoebox, a yellow stucco square with olive green trim, unembellished but for a sign proclaiming it the Cozy Café. The building has probably been there for…

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Three for the money at Yellow Vase in Rolling Hills

Putting two businesses under the same roof can make a lot of sense under some circumstances. A bakery and café is an obvious example, because if you’re going to be baking breads and pastries, making sandwiches out of some of the bread and serving coffee along with the pastries will appeal to a wider range…

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Country club dining in 21st century El Segundo

I was the child of an avid golfer, and grew up liking everything about the game except playing it. The players were eye-catching in either spotless whites or garish plaids, and their shoes made a curious crunching noise when the cleats hit anything but grass. The long walk in a manicured landscape allowed glimpses of…

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Just Manhattan Beach’s local noodle joint

The building at the corner of Marine and Highland is architecturally strange, but then again anything on this corner would have to be. It is built on a very small lot on an extremely steep hill. The architect decided to cope with this by designing a modest dining room and outdoor patio, plus three tiny…

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