Esperanza in Manhattan Beach is a delight to the eye and tongue

It’s rare an artist’s rendition of a new restaurant inspires outrage, but that is what happened when this publication displayed an image of Esperanza to accompany one of my dining columns in July 2019. The spectacular, curved concrete façade provoked hate mail that declared that something like this would fit in fine in Beverly Hills,…

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The End in Torrance is a ‘Side Street Wonder’

When I visit old cities, I find it charming that most residential neighborhoods have their local cafe, bakery, pub, and some little shop that sells the necessities of everyday life. It’s a relic of a world before the automobile, when neighbors met and socialized in the course of their everyday lives. That little eatery or…

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Roadside BBQ on an unlikely road

Roadside barbecue joints have been having a moment in greater Los Angeles, sprouting up in vacant lots, parking lots next to bars, and anyplace else that has room for a smoker. These operations are helped by the fact that nobody expects fancy surroundings when chowing down on barbecue – a few picnic tables, lots of…

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Copper Pot brings Southern India flavors to Redondo Beach

I like it when restaurants display symbols of culinary culture. The images of village markets laden with exotic produce, bakers proudly holding fresh loaves, grandmothers stirring pots over wood fires, and families at the table are more than mere decoration. It’s a reminder that these recipes are the legacy of countless generations of loving experimentation…

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Old clothes in a new restaurant

My wife had gone to work on a casual Friday wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and her first question when she got home was, “I remember that we’re going out tonight – do I have to change clothes?” From the tone in her voice, I could tell that she hoped the answer was no. She…

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R10 In Redondo Beach’s King Harbor is a name worth remembering

Hermosa had a bar and grill called Fat Face Fenner’s Falloon that everybody knew because once you heard the silly name, you remembered it. Other odd names were more problematic – BamBiBu was hilarious to anyone who understood Japanese puns, but forgettable by everyone else, and even the staff at Les Joues Hioux couldn’t agree…

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La Venta comes back to life

The building on twisting Via del Monte is a landmark, though drivers on Palos Verdes Drive West who glimpse the white cupola through the trees might assume it’s a church. It isn’t, though La Venta has been several other things over the last 98 years, including a real estate office, bed and breakfast, private home,…

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Cruising Down Rosecrans to Eddie V’s

I was trying to figure out why the patio at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood seemed familiar even though I hadn’t been there before, and it suddenly struck me – the last time I was in a place like this, there was green water around us instead of green lawn. The broad patio with a wall-length…

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Strata and Cuisine

I don’t often find myself comparing restaurant offerings to geology, but that’s just the metaphor that went through my mind when I had dinner last week at The Strand House. I have been there over the course of a decade, and through the tenure of at least five chefs, each of whom arrived with their…

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Reality and illusions on the Pier Plaza

When I first heard Brews Hall was opening on Pier Plaza, my reaction was an eye roll. A sports-themed place that specializes in burgers and beer, opening across from a sports-themed place that specializes in burgers and beer, with variations on the theme adjacent and around the corner. It showed a certain lack of imagination,…

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Burgers on the beach bike path

The August Saturday morning was unseasonably cool and gray, with a light breeze adding to the chill. I looked at the cloudy skies to the west and rejoiced – it was beach weather! Yes, I prefer to go to the beach when it’s cool rather than hot, and I always have. It’s not just that…

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Chinese home cooking comes to Redondo

Over the course of culinary history, there are ideas that are recreated again and again. Every culture has some version of meat roasted over a fire, whether they call it barbecue, kebab, shashlik, yakitori, or something else. Similarly, once people come up with the idea of dough, it’s a natural thing to wrap it around…

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The steak that would be king

Naming a steakhouse “The Rex” may seem presumptuous, because that title asserts kingship. Another steakhouse might assert that they are the queen of such establishments, or perhaps a prince, but that makes all other steakhouses subjects or vassals. It does make sense because good beef was historically the food of the aristocracy in most of…

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