A Chinese adventure on PCH

Chinese dumplings aren’t a new cuisine in America. They’ve been available in California since the 1920s, when the Hang Ah Tea Room opened in San Francisco. That restaurant is still open and still good, but until a few decades ago the language spoken by diners was mainly Chinese. Few people outside that community were familiar…

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Grading on the Curve

For a major traffic artery, Aviation Boulevard has historically had remarkably few dining choices. There are bright spots at the Ocean Diner and the restaurants that share the Big Lots parking lot in Hermosa Beach, but from there north into Redondo Beach, the pickings were slim. Two bars serve a limited selection of sandwiches and…

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Eccentric, excellent, Japanese

It’s hard to imagine how anybody would find Saloon Osaka unless someone told them about it. The location takes ‘low profile’ to new levels — they’re on the edge of a parking lot in a mini-mall where El Segundo’s Main Street t-bones into Imperial Highway. The rumble of jets from the airport across the street…

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Temple of beef

People who enjoy lively, loud restaurants sometimes say quiet restaurants are like dining in a library. To some people, that would not sound like a bad thing. We’ve found books we loved, and sometimes people we loved too, amid the shelves of arcane knowledge, witty or serious stories, and the volume in the nonfiction section…

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Unpolished pearl

While dining at the recently opened Riviera Village restaurant Salt & Pearl, I enjoyed a conversation with a longtime local, and we reminisced about neighborhood seafood restaurants long gone. We both had fond memories of The Windjammer, a cavernous relic more famous for their collection of nautical bric-a-brac than the creativity of their cuisine. They…

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Arabic open, sandwich shop closed, bar strange, and dining events

Finally Open: Work has been underway at the former Louis Burgers for almost three years, but the wait is over – the Pita Café on Artesia finally open. Given the amount of time it has taken, you might expect intricate murals, mosaic tables, or other labor-intensive decor. Instead, it much resembles the burger place it…

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Not like Mom used to make

Mother’s Market on Rosecrans is not the type of place my mother would have shopped. She was a dutiful cook who never went beyond the recipes she learned in the 1930s. Any vegetable more exotic than carrots, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, or spinach was viewed with suspicion. Healthy eating meant two of those veggies on a…

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Craft on display

Kids often model adult behavior, and at times the result can be hilarious. When we were dining out with one of my children who was about three years old and a restaurant server came to our table, she would look at the menu solemnly and announce, “I’ll have the shrimp.” She couldn’t read but had…

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Compagnon Bistro: Classic cuisine in style

When I talk with newcomers to the Peninsula about San Pedro, I find many have impressions of the city based almost exclusively on the Gaffey corridor of chain stores, fast food joints, and little of cultural interest. Most know that there’s an old downtown area but are hard-pressed to name any destination there except for…

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Split personality

Those who read my columns on a regular basis may have noticed I’m rarely the first to review a restaurant. This is deliberate, because as much as readers may want to know about a new eatery, what they’re doing the day they open may not reflect the long term experience. The chef may discover an…

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Noodles in style

I never expect character in a modest strip mall restaurant because most have a very sensible business plan of getting people in and out as soon as possible. That involves not making the furniture too comfortable or the décor too interesting, and possibly getting a subscription to a music playlist called “Mildly irritating jazzy pop…

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Big restaurant projects, lost chicken alert, wine dinners, and more

The Empires Expand: There has been much talk about the way some local restaurant groups are becoming increasingly dominant in the South Bay. The Simms Group is one of the most active, and stands apart from most others in opening creative, chef-driven restaurants rather than duplicating previous endeavors. Their newest venture is Attagirl in the…

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