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 […]

 Richard Foss

Taking it to the streets

Taking it to the streets

Downtown Manhattan Beach embraces outdoor dining

Manhattan Beach’s downtown has always had a different character than the other beach city downtowns, in part because of topography. Unlike Hermosa Beach and Riviera Village, which boast wide streets in a flat area, Manhattan’s roads are narrower and the ones leading to the beach are steeper. This has created the unlikely situation of a […]

 Richard Foss

Big change at Big Wok [restaurant review]

Big change at Big Wok [restaurant review]

Big Wok Mongolian Barbecue has improved its popular self serve buffet with personal distancing

If you were trying to make a list of restaurants that wouldn’t be likely to survive in an era of personal distancing, Mongolian barbecues would be near the top. Part of the attraction of the experience is picking whatever you want from the raw items on the buffet and trickling your favorite combinations of sauce […]

 Richard Foss

Favorites fold, newcomers delayed, others are barreling ahead [dining news]

Favorites fold, newcomers delayed, others are barreling ahead [dining news]

Like Moles In Bright Sunlight… We are all emerging from the spaces in which we have hunkered down to a new and strange world. The servers who greet us are smiling behind their masks, but we can see by their eyes that they are pleased to welcome us. They’re particularly happy to be at work […]

 Richard Foss

Small wonder on Artesia [restaurant review]

Small wonder on Artesia [restaurant review]

Thai Express is easily overlooked, but worth seeking out

Several years ago I decided to eat at every locally owned restaurant in the South Bay at least once. After over a decade, despite more places opening every year, I think I’m close. Even so, once in a while I run across a place that for some reason was never on my radar before. This […]

 Richard Foss

Distance dining, Mediterranean style [restaurant review]

Distance dining, Mediterranean style [restaurant review]

The Malaga Cove Ranch Market offers a great meal for a socially distanced date night

One casualty of the pandemic is the death of spontaneous dining. Two months ago, seeing an old friend at a store might lead to lunch at a nearby cafe or an invitation to dinner that night. Now it becomes a short interaction through facemasks and a promise of a Zoom chat later. The connection has […]

 Richard Foss

Food’s next exit

Food’s next exit

Restaurant owners look down the road for the next dining offramp

“Everybody I know in the business is thinking about what to do before we reopen and how we can make money once we do,” said chef Robert Bell, owner of Mama Terano in Rancho Palos Verdes. “It’s almost comforting to know that none of them know more than I do. We’re all on a level […]

 Richard Foss

New beginnings, new menus, old ideas [dining news]

New beginnings, new menus, old ideas [dining news]

A La Carte dining column for 21 May 2020

Signs Of Life: For two months the news has been all about closings, but a few entrepreneurs are bucking the trend. Little Simmzy’s just opened in The Point in El Segundo, an offshoot of the popular Manhattan Beach burger and beer joint. This highlights the unexpected resilience of this development – despite the fact that […]

 Richard Foss

Sushi without the show [restaurant review]

Sushi without the show [restaurant review]

Is restaurant sushi worth the premium over supermarket sushi? Our reviewer puts them to the test

You may be surprised to know that getting your sushi in a restaurant rather than to go is quite modern. Sushi was a street food, a snack picked up from roadside stalls in Tokyo, and it wasn’t even well-known in the rest of Japan until the 1920s. Sushi didn’t come indoors until after World War […]

 Richard Foss

Louisiana lockdown delight [restaurant review]

Louisiana lockdown delight [restaurant review]

Matty’s Crawdaddies brings Cajun-Asian fusion to South Redondo

One of the more interesting new cuisines in America came about from a rare moment of bureaucratic inspiration. When a wave of Vietnamese refugees came to the US in the 1980’s, some bright spark in the federal government suggested settling them among Cajuns in Southern Louisiana. Both people tended to be fluent in French, follow […]

 Richard Foss

Fried Chicken takeout challenge [restaurant review]

Fried Chicken takeout challenge [restaurant review]

One of my favorite American meals is fried chicken — the real thing, not the not the stuff sold by a certain franchise operation best known by three initials. An expert in the fried chicken business referred to their product as “nothing more than a fried dough ball wrapped around some chicken.” That expert was […]

 Richard Foss

Pop-up poke, a new pizzeria, Goat Hill migration, take-out ecology, and more dining news

Pop-up poke, a new pizzeria, Goat Hill migration, take-out ecology, and more dining news

A La Carte column for 23 April 2020

Life Beneath The Surface: The “For Lease” signs are down at the former Ragin’ Cajun on upper Pier Avenue in Hermosa, which will soon become another branch of El Tarasco. This looks like a savvy move, which will give them dine-in space without much competition in food style or price point in the immediate neighborhood. […]

 Richard Foss

Brave plans for new eateries, unusual strategies for established ones, and more Good Stuff

Brave plans for new eateries, unusual strategies for established ones, and more Good Stuff

A La Carte column for 16 April 2020

For the first time since I started writing this column almost 20 years ago, there isn’t a single restaurant opening to announce. That’s not particularly surprising given the current circumstances, but it’s still sad. There are new places on the horizon, of course, since construction work has continued at many projects that were already in […]

 Richard Foss

Hooking up with take-out [restaurant review]

Hooking up with take-out [restaurant review]

Food to go from Hook & Plow in Redondo may give home cooks fresh ideas, or encourage more take-out

The stay-at-home order has had an interesting side effect, as amateur cooks who suddenly have free time are upping their game in the kitchen. Old family recipes from an era when women stayed at home and cooked all day seemed too complex and time consuming only a month ago. Now that we’re staying home and […]

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