Richard Foss

Happy veggies, Roman pizza, food and drink, events galore

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A La Carte column for 25 April 2019

There’s a lot to smile about at Fatta a Mano, like this housemade crostata. Photo by Richard Foss

Going with the grain: There’s a new tenant in the former Nuna’s space in Redondo Beach, and in combination with the neighboring businesses it may signal a new attraction that might be called Vegetarian Row. The Grain Cafe is a branch of a Los Angeles mini-chain and specializes in vegetarian and vegan meals at moderate prices. Since they’re in the same corner of this shopping center as the Kirari vegan fusion spot Happy Veggie and Kirari West bakery and Indian fast food Bollywood Zaika that also offer a lot of vegetarian options, this could be where those who don’t eat meat go on autopilot. They’re scheduled to be open by the end of May…

New and already slammed: Redondo Beach has a new cafe that specializes in freshly made pastas and Roman-style pizza, and after only a few weeks in business has a problem other cafes might envy: too many customers. At popular dining hours the wait for the five small tables at Fatta A Mano can be as much as two and a half hours. The place is owned and operated by a pair of friendly Italian brothers from Milan who do their best to get the plates out to customers, but it’s obvious that they miscalculated demand for their products. My suggestion, order to go and do it well in advance, or decide you really want some pizza or pasta in mid-afternoon. Or bring something to read in line, perhaps an edition of this worthy publication. 610 Torrance Blvd., Redondo.

It’s a change so I’m reporting it: A reader emailed to ask what is going into the Burger King space on Artesia, and is it more upscale. To answer the first half of the question, it’s a Chick-fil-a, and depending on your opinion of that chain your answer to the second half of that question may differ. You may expect to see my review of that establishment shortly after the sun burns out…

First looks: The change in style at the El Segundo Chophouse has been considerable when it comes to décor, not as much when it comes to the menu. If there’s an item you liked from Petros Kafe, odds are that they still offer it, but they’ve expanded their offerings to include steaks, ribs, and other Americana. This gives you some interesting possibilities when it comes to combinations – I never knew how well St. Louis style barbecued ribs go with spanakopita, and now I may always want them together. 131 West Grand, ES.

Event alerts: One of the signs of spring in the South Bay is Sunday by the Sea, the annual gala in PV that is a fundraiser for the Providence TrinityCare Foundation. As many as 650 people will gather at a private ocean view estate for an afternoon of delectable nibbles from top restaurants around LA, wine and craft beer, and much more. It’s this Saturday, April 28, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $200. For more information or reservations visit

Two winemakers and a dinner and beer: Chez Melange is hosting a dinner with the winemaker of Wooden Valley and the owner of Plough Vineyards, both of which are located in the Suisun Valley. Five courses with paired wines are $65 plus tax and tip, a remarkable deal. Mark May 13 on your calendar and call 310-540-1222 for reservations… And if hoppy goodness is more your thing, head for Slice and Pint in El Segundo for beer pairing lunches scheduled for May 18 and 19. Oddly enough, no pizza is on the menu. The oven will be busy turning out roasted vegetables to accompany the pork Milanese with arugula pistou. $45, inclusive. To see the whole menu, go to and search for El Segundo Brewing. It would be nice if they made it easy with a link from their website, but I don’t see one…

And speaking of beer: Congratulations to Hop Saint, which took gold medals in two categories at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition. There’s a lot of competition at these events, so a win really means something. Stop by the brewpub on 190th and have a German-style Kolsch or Australian-style lager if you want to sample the ones that impressed the judges, or any of them for the ones that impress South Bay fans every day.

And in conclusion: Your tips help me find the good stuff in our community – any new restaurants I should know about, and great events? Anyplace else that makes vegetarians swoon? I’m at ER


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