Update successful: A Hermosa restaurant reboot

Sometimes you move forward by going backward. A place with a very contemporary design and food can seem dated after only a few years. It’s why some decor can be dismissed with a careless, “That place is so 1995.” Many designers might suggest updating that restaurant to current trends, but it might actually be smarter…

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Pizza and sports essentials Pizza Coast Hiway in Redondo

I am often confused by acronyms because the same letters can mean so many things. When a chef mentioned he used to work for the CIA I thought he was a spy until I realized that he meant the Culinary Institute of America. That said, the people who named the former Charlie’s “Pizza Coast Hiway”…

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Fast-food for grown-ups at Shake Shack

I have occasionally poked fun at the cult status of In-N-Out and the mystery that a place that serves only rather small burgers can inspire such adoration. Viewing this in a historical context, it isn’t unusual. The tradition started with the world’s first burger chain, White Castle, which began selling strange little sliders in Kansas…

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Not just another Asian fusion restaurant in Hermosa

When I heard a new Asian fusion restaurant was coming to Hermosa Beach, I was a little disappointed. The Beach Cities have lots of fusion places, and if another came with the standard mingling of Japanese, Chinese, and Thai flavors, it might be enjoyable, but wouldn’t bring anything unique to the neighborhood. I was more…

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Quirky GF vegan in Manhattan Beach

I have heard some interesting arguments about vegetarianism and the vegan diet. Some point out that humans evolved as omnivores, with a natural craving for protein rich meat and dairy items. Those on the other side point out that the success strategies that worked on the savannas of Africa aren’t necessarily relevant to the planet…

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Evolution beneath the surface at Snax Redondo

A football executive named Robert Gallagher added a quip to the lexicon when he said, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.” The saying has lasted because humor and pessimism help us cope when something we loved in its original form gets a makeover. The restaurant industry has some examples that seem to go…

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El Segundo: Tapizon is a tapestry of flavors

by Richard Foss Sometimes I look at a restaurant’s location and presentation and my heart sinks. They may be making ambitious food and offering the best of service, but could they possibly survive on a lightly traveled street with poor signage? Some of them do, and the South Bay has successful eateries in pretty odd…

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Dash Dashi in Manhattan Beach passes the finish line

by Richard Foss “You’ve been reviewing a lot of Asian food lately,” remarked a regular reader. She was correct. I have been eating it because you have, and new restaurants have been opening to serve it to you. Existing restaurants have been upping their game in response, and it’s an exciting time for people who…

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Rising Sea Level in Redondo

Steely Dan once sang “Hot licks and rhetoric/Don’t count much for nothing,” in one of the most cynical songs ever written by those world-weary lyricists. That duo had the very skills they disparaged in that little ditty, but made their point about the difference between mere flash and well considered ideas. It’s relevant to all…

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Fritto Misto in Hermosa Beach offers pasta for everybody

by Richard Foss I have only known one person who disliked pasta in all of its forms – my father. During World War II he was a crewman on a destroyer escort where a vast amount of the stuff had been loaded by mistake. To hear him tell it, everyone suffered through meals of over-boiled…

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Dia de Campo: Hermosa Beach’s mellow experimenter

I like to look back at old menus and reviews from groundbreaking places to compare with what they’re doing now. Some are still serving the same food as when they opened, often because that menu was designed by a consultant whose creativity departed when they cashed the check and packed up their knives. Others underwent…

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North Asia, meet South Bay [restaurant review]

I took my wife, who doesn’t enjoy highly spicy food, to a Korean restaurant. It wasn’t with the expectation that she would suddenly change the preferences of a lifetime, or that she lost a bet. We had family in town for the holidays, and one of them craved the famously flavorful cuisine that they had…

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Ten milestones from a strange year in dining

In hindsight, the best that can be said about dining in the year 2021 is that it wasn’t as awful as we were expecting. On December 31 of 2020 the dining scene looked bleak, but we close the books on the 2021 with guarded optimism. Here were 10 of the high and low points:  …

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