Richard Foss

Randy’s Doughnuts Arrives, Ragin’ Cajun departs, Italian brunch, and more dining news…

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A La Carte column for 23 August 2018

The fun of strolling and tasting at last year’s Taste at The Beach. Photo courtesy of the event organizers.

Cajuns Depart Hermosa The big surprise of the week was the sudden closure of the Original Ragin’ Cajun in Hermosa after a year and a half in business. The restaurant served the food of Western Louisiana in authentic style, and will be missed by all who love real Southern cuisine. They may have suffered from competition from the Redondo location, which served a larger menu and cocktails in a space with free parking. Regardless, it’s a loss for the South Bay to not have Stephen and Jeanine greeting customers with their real Southern hospitality… Another longtime business changed hands, but despite rumors to the contrary is still open. The Hermosa Pub, which locals persist in calling by its old name Big Mike’s, is still serving the same menu. There will be a name change in the future, and probably much else, but for now the Philly cheesesteaks are still coming off the grill…  

An Iconic Business, But Without The Icon… If you’re a fan of programmatic architecture, or just enjoy circles of fried dough at all hours, you know about Randy’s Doughnuts. The roadside stand in Inglewood with the giant doughnut on the roof has been frying them up for over fifty years, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It’s an operation so unique that it seemed to be destined to be a stay a single outlet business, which made the announcement that they’ll soon open on Rosecrans in El Segundo quite a surprise. Even more strange to longtimers, they won’t be open 24 hours, and at least for now there won’t be a giant doughnut on the roof. (An eight-foot-tall version on the front lawn will have to suffice.) When they open next week in the Apollo Landing complex they’ll be serving from about 6 AM until 7 PM, with the option of extending their hours. I hope they do, because my visits to the original have usually been in the wee hours after concerts, and I’m not used to eating these doughnuts when the sun is still in the sky…

A Month With No Openings?!? Yep… But there is some news about things to come. The former Tapas & Vino space in Riviera Village has changed hands and will become “The 1892 Bistro.” No word yet on what that will be or when it will open, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do. Another piece of news is that the long-awaited Kona Grill project on Rosecrans is officially dead, and something else will move into the former Romano’s space across from Fleming’s. There are other big changes on the way in the Beach Cities, but that’s all that can be made public at the moment…

Event Alerts (And a lot of them!)… It’s an unusually lively late summer in the dining scene, so here’s a roundup of the next week or two. This Saturday is the famous “Evening Under The Stars” charity benefit event at American Honda in Torrance, featuring a concert by Kenny G, pours of over eighty wines and as many food samplings, a silent auction, and much more. Tickets cost $300 per person and are available by calling 310-517-4703 or at the website at torrancememorial.org… If you prefer to start the day with a gourmet experience rather than wait until evening, you might consider the “Bubbly Brunch” at Radici in Hermosa this Sunday. This is a novel event, a tasting menu of six different savory Italian specialties followed by three different Italian desserts, paired with pours of Italian sparkling wines. At forty bucks it’s a steal. Seating is limited and reservations required – call 310-318-0778… On August 27th the action moves to the fruit of the barley as Chez Melange presents a Real Ale beer dinner featuring a mix of modern and traditional pub favorites paired with ales from Torrance’s Yorkshire Square Brewing. Yorkshire Square has been bucking the IPA trend by making fantastic traditional ales, and at $45 plus tax & tip for dinner and beverages this is a fantastic way to experience the work of two great establishments. Call 310-430-1222 for reservations… Looking a bit further into the future, the tenth annual Taste at the Beach event will be held on September 8th at the Hermosa Beach Community Center from 3 to 6 PM. The tasting of fine wines and craft brews will be complemented by jazz from the Brian Sisson Trio, and all proceeds will benefit local charities. It’s $65 inclusive – get your tickets at tasteatthebeach.org… The next day, September 9th, you can head to Hudson House for their crawfish boil to benefit No Kid Hungry. There will be no diners hungry either, because it’s all-you-can-eat crawfish and fixings, plus unlimited pours of Trumer Pilsener and frozen daquiris. Since we’re having Louisiana-style heat and humidity, we might as well eat like Cajuns – maybe they know something we don’t. Price is $55 in advance, $65 at the door – go to this link at Eventbrite.com for tickets…

And Something A Bit Different… I don’t usually write about out-of-area events here, but there’s one this Sunday that is unusual and also free. I’ll be moderating a panel called “The Restaurant Revolution: How Angelenos Transformed Modern Food Culture” at the Downtown LA Library at 2 PM. featuring veteran restaurateurs Piero Selvaggio of Valentino, Thai food expert Jet Tila. Akasha Richmond of Akasha, and culinary historian Charles Perry. If you’re interested in the intellectual side of food culture, this is the place to be – RSVP’s appreciated, go to Eventbrite and enter “Restaurant Revolution.” Stop by and say hi afterwards, because I like meeting my readers…

And In Conclusion… Any new openings I should know about, any events, any other wonderful late night eats? Please let me know – I’m at richard@richardfoss.com…

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