Richard Foss

La Sosta Open, Stealth Colombian Food and Nashville Chicken, Food events, and more South Bay dining News

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A La Carte column for 04 October 2018

Not Where You’d Look For It, Part One… Though the South Bay has several Peruvian and Brazilian restaurants, we have almost no options for cuisines of the rest of South America. The exception is Macondo, which offers street food from Colombia. Haven’t seen a sign for it? You have two excuses: they’re new, and they’re on the third floor of the Galleria mall in the food court. They don’t make it easy for those unfamiliar with this cuisine, as there are no explanations of items like arepas and patacones. (Which are stuffed corn-flour buns and fried plantains topped with various meats and cheese, respectively.) They also don’t make use of a possible selling point, namely that everything on their menu is gluten-free. I had an arepa stuffed with cheese, and it was tasty, filling, and set me back three bucks. The outside escalator takes you right to the food court, and Macondo is straight across the eating area. It’s a bit out of the way for a lunch spot, but it’s worth it…

And Now The News… They didn’t have a sign up the last time I went by, but Sosta has been serving for a couple of weeks now. Owner Luca Manderino is offering a menu of stylish Northern Italian classics in a romantic, candlelit room, an ambiance out of step with the party atmosphere of most places in Hermosa. Welcome back Luca, we’ve missed you. (439 Pier Ave., HB)… Elsewhere in town, at long last Decadence is close to opening on Hermosa Avenue. Owner Skylar Tourigny promises an upscale and sophisticated experience, which makes two restaurants in a row in this town that plan to cater to adults. Could this be a sign of a cultural shift?… And news of a place that isn’t changing: some people were shaken when they heard a rumor that that Martha’s 22nd Street Grill had changed hands. Yep, it’s true, but that does not mean they’re changing concept. They’re carrying on with the same menu, so you may resume your scheduled plans to have an omelet after next Saturday’s bike outing…

Also Known As Ramen?… The former Gu Gu Sushi on Aviation at Prospect is now Aka Ramen and Sushi, and they’re offering an expansive menu of Japanese food with a few Korean fusion items. They’re not going out of their way to define some of these – it took some looking to discover that samgyeopsal ramen just means “ramen with Korean BBQ in it.” More oddly but intriguingly, they’re also offering macaron ice cream sandwiches for dessert. There are interesting ideas and the prices look moderate. I look forward to trying the place (1121 Aviation, HB)…

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Not Where You’d Look For It, Part Two… The South Bay has a new destination for fried chicken, both regular and the popular “Nashville Hot” style, a fact many people may not have noticed. The Slider Stop on Artesia in Redondo recently changed hands and is now offering a “Blazin’ Hens” menu of fried chicken in six increments of heat, from not spicy at all to coated with a breading liberally spiked with Carolina Reaper peppers.

I ordered a medium thigh and leg and found them to be pretty darn hot but also flavorful, and I might try the next tier up with Habanero on my next visit. On the other hand I might also go for their plain version, because it’s not as though the South Bay has a lot of choices in the fried chicken department and I’d be happy to find another place that makes the genuine article to order. Oh , and I should mention they’re still serving the sliders that started this place on its way (2315 Artesia, RB)…

Quiet, For El Segundo… Pier 76 Fish Grill and Calo Mexican Kitchen are open on Rosecrans, completing the Apollo Landing development that has been in process for years. Early reports on both have been positive, but patronage by people who don’t walk from the nearby office buildings may be constrained by the ridiculously small parking lot. There are enough desk workers in this area to provide plenty of customers at lunch and early evening, so they may not be too bothered by this. Locals might want to time their visits on weekends and see if the car crush abates…

And it’s not quite El Segundo, but the Fork-In-Pie Aussie Kitchen on Aviation near 120th is an odd enough operation that I figured it’s worth mentioning. They specialize in Australian-style meat pies, which really are little double-crust pies rather than the turnovers you might be expecting. (Turnovers are called hand pies in Australia, in case you wondered.) The pies are good by themselves and even better when “stacked” with your choice of mashed potatoes, peas with mint, sausage dressing, or other toppings. They offer vegetarian versions, of course. It’s an odd little operation that is worth a visit, and you can get a flat white to accompany it and a lamington cake for dessert. (11918 Aviation, Inglewood)…

Event Alerts!… The R6 Distillery and Speakeasy is having a family-friendly chili cook-off on October 6, and the picture they used to promote it will raise the blood pressure of some chili purists. There are BEANS in that chili, plus corn, which is not the way they make it in Texas. Then again this is California so you can put whatever you want in your chili as long as it tastes fantastic. Cooks as young as 12 are invited to participate, so if you are proud of that bowl of red you make for special occasions there’s still time to start a crock of it and be ready for the judging. It’s free for competitors, $20 for tasters, with half the proceeds going to the Ed Foundation. Enter El Segundo chili on the Eventbrite website and you’ll get to the right place…

Finny Festivities… The Sustainable Seafood Expo is at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro next Sunday, and there will be a kickoff dinner the previous evening at the deco-styled Beach Bath House nearby. $175 per person for 10 items, nine of which involve sustainable seafood (and no matter how much you like seafood, it doesn’t belong in a panna cotta). For more information and the full menu, check Eventbrite. Not all of us can afford that meal, but the next day’s event, which features dozens of booths with samples plus a full program of speakers, is free to the public. The aquarium will be open too, and it’s a worthwhile visit. I attended last year and found it enlightening, and recommend you consider making a day of it. Details are at cabrillomarineaquarium.org (3720 Stephen M White Dr, San Pedro)…

And In Closing… Any new restaurants, any events I should know about, anywhere else that offers good chili and whiskey? I’m at richard@richardfoss.com… ER

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