Richard Foss

Infernal pizza, high level dining, scam sites, and more restaurant news

Infernal pizza, high level dining, scam sites, and more restaurant news

A La Carte column for 30 July 2020

Fragile resurgence:  A superficial glance at the dining scene makes it look like things are almost back to normal. There were lines for Sunday brunch at Pier Plaza eateries, and business looked brisk just about everywhere. The Redondo Boardwalk was lively on a weekend afternoon too, with Naja’s regulars making up for personal distancing and […]

 Richard Foss

Celebrating cafe society [restaurant review]

Celebrating cafe society [restaurant review]

If you're going to visit a sidewalk cafe, why not one by the people who invented them?

When you dream of a summer vacation in a sophisticated city, your mind is likely to turn to Paris, perhaps to a fantasy involving a leisurely meal and a glass of wine at a sidewalk café overlooking the Seine. In a typical July or August your companions will mainly be other tourists, because Parisians are […]

 Richard Foss

Corporate does quality [restaurant review]

Corporate does quality [restaurant review]

Urban Plates is a mall rarity by any metric

Many years ago I worked at a company that did business with a commercial printer. It was here I first saw a tattered sign by the counter that read, “Good, fast, or cheap – pick any two.” When we came in with a request for something outrageous, like a thousand color brochures to be printed […]

 Richard Foss

Chicken Challenge 3 – Bring the heat [restaurant review]

Chicken Challenge 3 – Bring the heat [restaurant review]

Spicy fried chicken has been exploding in popularity. How well do two South Bay establishments stack up?

One of America’s hottest food trends, literally and figuratively, started as an act of revenge when a woman who was angry with her boyfriend put punishing levels of chili peppers in his food. The year was around 1930, the city was Nashville, the food was fried chicken, and he loved it and asked for seconds. […]

 Richard Foss

The middle of everything [restaurant review]

The middle of everything [restaurant review]

An East Hermosa restaurant serves food from the center of the Southern Mediterranean

The ancient Romans called the waters around the Italian peninsula “the ocean at the center of the world” – that’s one literal translation of the word Mediterranean. In an era when travel was fastest by water, control of the center of that sea was a natural advantage for their empire. In times of war, troops […]

 Richard Foss

Dinner and a show, Trinidadian street food, one less Hawaiian, and more restaurant news

Dinner and a show, Trinidadian street food, one less Hawaiian, and more restaurant news

A La Carte column for 16 July 2020

A Little Dinner Music: The live music scene was one of the many casualties of the pandemic, but one restaurant is working on a way to bring back the excitement of new tunes and the joy of a good meal, together. Baran’s 2239 has partnered with One Talented Universe, which has a high-tech performance space […]

 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 […]