Richard Foss

Decadence makes the scene, Mother’s Market opens, many dining events, and much more South Bay restaurant news

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A La Carte column for 13 March 2019

The newly opened Decadence brings Vietnamese influences and modern elegance to downtown Hermosa Beach. Photo courtesy of Decadence

The wait is over: It has taken almost two years, but Decadence is finally open on Hermosa Avenue. The interior design is remarkable and the sound level moderate, creating an atmosphere of modern elegance that is unlike most downtown restaurants. The opening menu is mostly contemporary items that often have subtle Vietnamese influences, along with a few Vietnamese classics made with boutique ingredients. It’s out of step with the neighborhood in the most intriguing possible way, and it will be interesting to see how they fare (1332 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach)…

Another long construction job finishes: Lisa’s Bistro has opened at Elevon in El Segundo. It’s the first full-service restaurant in the office complex, and will have the edge on business meetings and corporate catering. They obviously don’t expect to draw in many outsiders, though – they close at 7 p.m. midweek and aren’t open at all on weekends. (747 N. Douglas,El Segundo)…

The wait has been shorter: 369 Ramen and Poke in North Redondo opened at the end of January next to Vons at Marine and Inglewood. Early reports by readers have been positive. I’ll let you know how they’re doing after I get there myself (3901 Inglewood #107, RB)…

Local Offers

Market watch: Mother’s Market, 6,000 square foot grocery store and café, holds its grand opening Saturday in the former Fresh and Easy location, next to BevMo, west of REI. Mother’s has specialized in organic specialty groceries since 1978, and their other locations are mostly in Orange County. This will make three full service grocery stores to open in Manhattan Beach (Gelson’s) and Hermosa Beach (Lazy Acres) in less than a year. (1700 Rosecrans, MB)…

Event alerts: (Lots of them): I almost never write about St. Patrick’s day specials because they’re usually excuses to hype mediocre bar food. The rare exception is Chez Melange, which is offering a dinner this Sunday worthy of a stylish restaurant in Dublin. Cider-steamed cockles, an Irish veal and farro pudding, and a real Irish cream trifle are just part of the menu. At each course there will be a pour of a different Irish beer and whiskey. Cost is a mere $55 plus tax and tip. As of the day I write this there are only 10 spaces left. (310) 540-1222…Restaurateurs have gone out of their way with pairing events this month. First up is Second City Bistro in El Segundo with a five course dinner featuring The Calling winery, which has been getting high marks from Wine Enthusiast and other publications. The menu is what Second City does best – steaks and seafood with California accents. March 20, $75 plus tax & tip. (310) 322-6085 to reserve… That same evening Primo Italia is hosting a dinner with Antinori Family wines, which have a rather astonishing pedigree – they’ve been made by the same family for 634 years. The menu hasn’t been announced yet but you know what they do here – real Italian cooking featuring homemade pastas and rustic regional dishes. Go to Eventbrite and enter Primo Italia. $115 inclusive. The space is small and sells out every time…

And for beer lovers: Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Manhattan Beach is offering another of their grilled cheese and specialty beer events on March 23. Sixty bucks plus T&T gets you a salad, four different cheeses, and an Imperial Stout float. Reserve on Eventbrite. Gabi James is celebrating their one year anniversary on March 25 with a Smog City pairing dinner, featuring the debut of a cask ale crafted just for the restaurant. You probably wouldn’t think of pairing Spanish food with beer, but I’m sure they will make it work, and at $75 inclusive it’s the bargain of the month. Call (310) 540-4884 and help them celebrate a year of business in high style. Can’t make it that evening? They’re offering Smog City beers from March 25 to 31 as well as gin and tonic specials, so go raise a glass to Redondo’s rising star…

And More Wine Events: In the 1970’s California wine went from joke to jackpot in the critical world, and a few big names were at the center of it – Mondavi, Montalena, Krug, Stag’s Leap, and Schramsberg. Chez Melange is hosting a dinner on March 25 at which all of those will be served, hosted by two master sommeliers.$99 plus tax and tip, reservations at (310)-540-1222… Those who adore Italian food and wine should be at Manhattan House the very next day, because on March 26 they’ll host a wine dinner with a seven course tasting menu. $95, and the menu is something to behold. Reservations at Eventbrite. The Manhattan House is often overlooked because of their out-of-downtown location but deserves to be better known, and events like this could help bring some attention… And it’s not exactly a wine event, but wine certainly goes well with paella and there is a lot of that on offer during A Basq Kitchen’s paella week. That starts on March 27 with a traditional chicken and seafood version, and they’re offering a different variation on that rice dish every day until March 31. A spring evening by the water with Spanish food sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Reservations not required, but it can’t hurt to snag a table and avoid the wait – call 310-376-9215…    

Congratulations are in order: Presenting a dinner at the James Beard House is a cherished opportunity in the culinary industry, one reserved for chefs at the top of their game. Two locals will be doing just that next month – Austin Cobb and Chris Hozinsky of the Strand House, who will team with Chef Neal Fraser of LA’s Redbird. Congratulations to two masters who didn’t put the South Bay on the map, but are helping to keep it there… For a convincing demonstration of how much locals value our culinary talent, you need only look at how much was raised when Chez Melange donated a wine dinner for 10 people to a charity auction. It fetched over $21,000 at the Palos Verdes Education Foundation Food and Wine Fest at Trump National Golf Course.  Now don’t all those wine events you’ve been reading about look like a bargain? Congratulations to the Chez Melange team and to the Peninsula schools that reap the benefit, and thanks to the generous donors…

Food, art and a side of education: As you’ve read in a previous Easy Reader, the El Segundo Museum of Art has a show on the topic of food, and they’ve invited a local journalist and culinary historian to give a talk on the topic – namely me. On April 4 at 6 PM I’ll be presenting a talk called “Seven Gifts From Southern California Kitchens To The World,” about how immigration to Los Angeles changed the things we eat. Admission is free, but please sign up at Eventbrite because space is limited…

Looking ahead: An intriguing idea has been put on hold for a while. A while ago rumors abounded about the imminent opening of Earl’s Court Tea Garden in Hermosa Beach, and a date was set in March. That project is still in development, and they hope to open early this summer… That will be about the time that a more ambitious project opens in Torrance. Buzzrock Brewery is a restaurant and brewpub operated by the Zislis brothers, and it will be their largest enterprise yet. Watch for an opening on Memorial Day in Torrance… Around that time a new business called Duff’s Cake Mix will be opening in El Segundo with an interesting market niche – they teach cake decorating to children and adults. I’m in favor of anything involving culinary education, so wish them well. I missed the opening of Smoky Hollow Bakery, and you probably did too unless you happened to be driving down a side street off El Segundo Boulevard. They’re a cake and cookie specialist that has gone from a home business to a substantial operation, and their treats look beautiful. (118A Sierra Street, ES)…

Breakfast At Mickey’s?: Things change so rarely at Mickey’s Deli in Hermosa that it’s noteworthy that they have started serving breakfast burritos, both with standard ham, bacon, and sausage or with pastrami. I must admit that the idea of a pastrami breakfast burrito never occurred to me before, and now I want one…

Green clover bagels: Through St. Patrick’s Day, Manhattan Bread and Bagel is offering one pound Irish Soda Bread and Lucky Clover-shaped Green Bagels. 1812 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach.

In conclusion: Your tips help me keep up with what’s happening around the neighborhood. Any openings I missed, any events, any new groceries or bakeries? Please send an email to Richard@RichardFoss.com. ER

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