Richard Foss

Restaurants help Fed staff get fed, Steakhouse and natural market coming to Redondo, Events, and more dining news.

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A La Carte column for 17 January 2019

Feds Shut Down, Restaurateurs Respond… There are federal employees in our area who usually live from paycheck to paycheck but currently aren’t getting one, and some literally may not know where their next meal is coming from. Two restaurants have risen to the challenge, albeit with limited offers. Rock & Brews is offering a free sandwich or salad only to TSA employees, while Silvio’s will offer a choice of a veggie or chicken bowl to any federal employee between 11:30 and 12:30 only – but only to 20 people a day. (If you qualify then you might want to call first to see how they’re handling it, because they’re still figuring out how to do this.) Both establishments should be commended for bravely making a start at tackling a big problem. I’d like to see a lot more restaurants step up to help our friends and neighbors who are idled or forced to work without pay for as long as this situation lasts. Those who are trying to help should include federal contractors too, because their situation is worse; they’re unlikely to get their back pay and as such will face a greater financial burden.

I know that a lot of restaurant owners read this column, and I humbly beg you to not just match but to better these offers. The problem is too big for any one restaurant or even any major chain operation, but your support could do a lot for their morale. Please find ways to help that allow them to retain their dignity rather than make it feel like the food pantry they’re probably already visiting. Cheers to the places that have stepped up to offer to help, and may it spark creativity among the rest of you. If I hear from other restaurateurs who are making offers of this type, I’ll add the information to the online version of this article. If you’re reading this because you’re one of the many hardworking people who have nothing else to do during the shutdown, check that list occasionally. (And I hope that the senatorial “leadership” will allow votes to reopen soon so that this piece is irrelevant, but doubt that will happen)…

New Year, New Restaurants… Come rain or shine, construction crews are at work rehabbing last year’s failed contenders into this year’s newcomers. Some of the new businesses are raising eyebrows, like the Natural World Market & Eatery coming to the 2300 block of Artesia. Openings are rare on Artesia despite the neighborhood’s potential, so it’s good to see something that could be a destination rather than just another fast food joint. The recent opening of Lazy Acres added a health-oriented grocery to the area, but there is room for another. A more traditional concept is moving in at the long-vacant Azure space next to Ortega 120 in Redondo – a steakhouse called Pacific Standard Prime. They plan a modern meat-centric eatery that may include a retail butcher shop, and that’s a niche that is wide open in the area. We have a few good traditional steakhouses in the South Bay, but their menus are mostly stuck in the 1950’s, so a place that adds a Californian twist to the traditional hunk o’meat will be a breath of beef-scented fresh air… Meanwhile in El Segundo, the long-awaited opening of Lisa’s Bon Apetit Bistro is scheduled for February Fourth. It’s a large space and this is an ambitious jump for an acclaimed local caterer who is moving into the restaurant business…

Local Offers

In the shorter term, there are several openings coming soon. Mama D’s is taking over the former Fabio at the corner of Artesia and PCH, and contrary to some expectations there will be table service in this small space. (Parking for people who come to use the tables is a more questionable matter, as there are only about a dozen spaces for two restaurants and a doughnut shop, and no close street parking.)… The ovens are lit at Slice & Pint on Grand near Main in El Segundo, and their soft opening is next week. They already have their first event planned, and it’s a statement of intent – a class for those who want to become a cicerone, the beer equivalent of a sommelier, will start on January 30th. Sign-ups for that class are at cicerone.org…

Dine LA Is Back… We’re in the midst of Dine LA, the seasonal event when restaurants offer multi-course meals at a substantial discount. The list of South Bay restaurants that participate is long and distinguished, and if you have wondered about a place, this is your best chance to sample what they do. The list is at https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week/ , and you should get a look at the values on offer. Act soon, because the program ends on January 25th and some places book out…

Event Alerts… Dine LA lets a lot of air out of the events scene because many places expect to be unusually busy, but there are a few coming up. Primo Italia is hosting a dinner with Patine Cellars on January 23rd, and if you enjoy elegant Pinot Noirs, fine Italian food, and hockey, you’ll want to be there. Wait, hockey? Yes, because Patine is owned by LA Kings broadcaster Jim Fox, and he will be there to explain the wines. The price is $125 and tickets will go fast – check at Eventbrite.com to see availability (Note: An earlier version of this column stated that winemaker Mike Smith would also be in attendance – he will not. We regret the error. )… Those who prefer beer will want to head for A Basq Kitchen in Redondo for their pairing dinner with King Harbor Brewing. Four courses with paired beers will set you back a mere $49 plus tax and tip, and there are seatings at 6 PM or 8 PM. You can reserve by calling Jessica at 310-928-6393 or going online at ABasqKitchen.com… Also on the horizon is another Trust The Chef dinner at Chez Melange on February 5th – $39 per person gets you whatever the chef thinks is most wonderful at the market that day. The adventurous may save a space at 310-540-1222… And I don’t usually list events outside our area, but occasionally something comes up that is unlike anything offered locally. An example is the Vietnamese New Year dinner at Không Tên, a restaurant on Pico just west of the 405. On February 5th I’ll be co-hosting a feast of traditional and modern versions of the traditional Tet meal while owner Kim Vu explains the food and cultural traditions. The cost is $95 – go to their website at khongtenla or and click events, or to this site at Resy

Yoga And Brunch… Gabi James is trying something new, a “Be Well Brunch” series at which you may take yoga lessons followed by brunch and a cocktail, wine, or non-alcoholic beverage. In case you’re wondering where on earth they might do something like that given the limited space in the aisles, you should know that they have a spacious upstairs banquet room. The first one is on January 26th, and the cost is $50 – dust off your yoga mat and reserve at 310-540-4884…

Any openings I missed, any events, spectacular cocktail spots, or other restaurateurs who are helping people in need? Your tips are valued – I’m at Richard@RichardFoss.com.

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