All the ingredients for greatness

As far back as the 1930s, dining in California was noted for a casual blending of indoor and outdoor spaces. The emphasis is on the casual – movie stars showed up in fancy dress at restaurants on the Sunset Strip, but their home entertaining was more likely to be a barbecue on a covered patio,…

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An old idea, but new to you [restaurant review]

One of the more enjoyable food fads of the previous decade was putting cross-cultural things in tacos, such as pastrami with sauerkraut, fried chicken with mashed potatoes, and of course Korean bulgogi with kimchi. Hermosa Beach was host to an establishment that received lasting but unfavorable publicity for foie gras tacos, among other concoctions, and…

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The overachieving kitchen

When I heard Lunada Market was launching a restaurant, I had some assumptions about what they’d serve. The place already had a deli with a salad case and a full produce section, so it would be easy to make a menu of cold cut sandwiches, throw together some cheese and charcuterie trays, maybe offer guac…

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The menu as metaphor

I have sympathy for the people who write menus for creative restaurants, I really do. I used to consult on menu design, and have experienced the struggle to put the essence of a unique dish into a few words. It’s made immeasurably more difficult by the fact that there are so many regional and stylistic…

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Food refocused

Over the years I’ve praised some establishments for going above and beyond what was expected. When a local sports bar started serving specials based on the home city of the teams that were on the field during playoffs, I cheered the initiative even though I didn’t care who won. A neighborhood bar that comes up…

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Something big on Artesia, classics close, stylish pies in Redondo

The Artesia Renaissance Continues: In a recent column I mentioned signs of new life in North Redondo, and a new announcement puts that into high gear. It’s a big one, physically and culturally, a multi-kitchen development called GrubHaus that will take the space formerly occupied by Yanagi Kitchen and Kurt Hardware. This is not a…

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Simply South American at Encanto

by Richard Foss South American cuisines have been coming out of the shadows in LA during the last few years, with the South Bay no exception. A decade ago, we had two Brazilian restaurants – now there are nine. (Since we have had a simultaneous upswing in teachers of Brazilian style jiujitsu, those restaurants are…

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How do you say ‘Retro’ in Spanish?*

I took my sister-in-law for dinner at Las Brisas, and she did a double-take after we were seated. “This place looks exactly the same as it did when I was here for my baby shower,” she exclaimed. That baby is 31 years old now, but very little has changed at Las Brisas except the prices…

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Japanese American? American Japanese?

When the dark and moisture-heavy clouds of winter gather, soup is on my mind. Often I make it at home, using homemade stocks cooked down from bones and vegetable ends. But since dining out is one of the great joys of my life, I go out for it too. I don’t like driving in the…

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Holy cow, a new barbecue in Redondo

I have spent a lot of time around people who enjoy food a lot and love arguing about it even more, and fans of barbecue are some of the most obsessive. They’ll quibble over the proper texture of the meat, components of the rub, appropriate level of smokiness, balance of sweetness, vinegar, and peppers in…

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Chef fusion in Rancho Palos Verdes

Many people who have visited Terranea have never thought about the logistics of having a hotel, golf course, and eight restaurants at the far end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Guests arrive at all hours, and employees are ready to greet, feed, house, and pamper them. Multiple restaurants and bars present the largest challenge, where…

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El Tarasco goes a upscale, but not too much

When I was a kid growing up in Manhattan Beach, I frequented two Mexican restaurants: the Red Onion when my parents were paying, and El Tarasco when it was on my dime. Since our family didn’t have a lot of money, I ate at El Tarasco a lot. My friends and I would ride our…

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Strange Siblings [restaurant review]

When chain restaurants began to flourish in the 1930s, they targeted people who were driving through strange towns and didn’t know a place that served anything they liked. If visitors saw a sign they recognized, a White Castle, A&W, Steak and Shake, or one of the other popular franchises of the day, they could pull…

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Potential realized in Redondo

One of the more dubious honors presented by the NBA is the annual “Most Improved Player” award. It has been noted that the easy way to win something like this is to start out terribly, and then raise your performance to average or slightly above. I have never given an award like this, but if…

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