Asking for trouble – and enjoying it

There’s a question that, however softly or politely it’s asked, should always be considered carefully. You might hear it when you decide to bet a friend that you can ride your bicycle down Pier Avenue blindfolded, shave the cat without getting scratched, or drink a whole bottle of tequila. “Are you sure you want to…

Read More

Add sand to taste

Once upon a time there was a little hole in the wall that made very good pizza. They qualified as a dine-in restaurant on the basis of a few tables in a dark corner in the back, but on any given day most of their business was take-out. Most of those pizzas were eaten piping…

Read More

East Redondo’s Mexican hideaway

There are certain amenities that send a restaurant investor’s pulse racing. A view of the ocean is the most obvious, but having the closest burger joint to a high school or the closest pizzeria to a hotel are also obvious winners. Surfers, students, and tourists have varying budgets, but they all get hungry, and being…

Read More

The road to Italian classics

When Avenue Italy opened on Avenue I in Redondo, I thought it might be the beginning of a new era in city planning. We might have Argentine and Albanian restaurants on Avenue A, Bulgarian and Brazilian on Avenue B, Cambodian and Czech on Avenue C, and so on. There are no Avenues J through Z,…

Read More

Rok on [restaurant review]

The dining decks in downtown Hermosa are generally nicely decorated, albeit without much personality because they’re designed to maximize seating. One stands out: the patio at Rok Sushi, which is shaped like a boat complete with a wheel out of a pirate movie. They lose a few seats as a result, but the design is…

Read More

The aesthetics of health

If you ask 10 people at random whether they should adopt a healthier diet, it’s a good bet that at least half will say yes. The problem is what “healthy” means to different people – is it low carb, Mediterranean diet, Ayurvedic, macrobiotic, paleo, vegan, or something else? It depends partly on whether you’re trying…

Read More

Nomad settles in

I’m occasionally literal-minded, so my first thought when I heard about a South Bay establishment called Nomad Eatery was that it was a food truck. That would be the most nomadic style of dining possible in an urban landscape, though it’s not one of my favorites because they usually lack comfortable seating and a place…

Read More

Global village in Manhattan Village

About 40 years ago, Thai science fiction writer Somtow Sucharitkil wrote several satirical stories about a future in which most of humanity’s creative energy is expended on a giant shopping mall in space. The Mallworld stories were a comic look at commercialism, at a future in which every experience humanity could offer is available within…

Read More

Pure and sweet [restaurant review]

One of the hit films of the 1960s was La Dolce Vita, a bleak comedy about shallow, thrill-seeking hipsters in Rome. The title, which means “The Sweet Life,” is ironic in that the sophisticates have wealth but not the capacity to enjoy it, nor to appreciate simple pleasures and natural beauty. The essence of the…

Read More

A leisurely meal

The South Bay is full of older homes that have been added onto so many times that they acquire quirks – a switch somewhere that is on a different circuit than everything around it, pipes that come out of the wall and go right back in, a patch of wall where a door used to…

Read More

Little bakery, big ambition

Among my thousands of vacation pictures, there are probably hundreds of images of bakeries all over the world. I’m notorious among my travel companions for not being able to pass one without at least slowing down, and preferably stopping to admire the breads, pies, pastries, and whatever else came out of that oven. If we’re…

Read More

Improvising at the Lighthouse

As I sat at an outdoor table at The Lighthouse, I suddenly felt old. Fifty years before, I was a high school kid who rode my bicycle to hang around in the rear parking lot and hear the music that poured out of the place. I didn’t understand much of it, but the unpredictable time…

Read More

A fascination with flight

Lots of children are interested in aircraft, though most dream of flying them rather than designing them. A boy in Long Island named Michael Ciminera was one of the few who was obsessed with the engineering details, even as a teenager, and he still sounds surprised that two major aircraft companies took him seriously. “At…

Read More