Richard Foss

Vegan pub, Big Wok’s big move, TedX food in Redondo, and more dining news

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Vegan Grub & Pub looks like many other bars-with-food around Hermosa. Their burger looks the same in this picture too, but there’s no meat involved. Photos by Richard Foss

In A Class By Itself… The downstairs space at 934 Hermosa Avenue has been many different restaurants, including an Irish pub, Italian café, and most recently Banzai Beach sushi and Japanese food. That establishment closed a few weeks ago, and the new tenant is serving a cuisine unlike any other in the South Bay. Veggie Grub & Pub is the area’s first vegan pub, and I am sure some readers just saw those words together and wondered why nobody had thought of it before. I’m happy to see this even though I am gleefully omnivorous, because there is a new place that my vegetarian friends and I can go for dinner and beers without them glancing disdainfully at whatever is on my plate. The veggie burger I had there was quite decent, and I’m looking forward to trying more as they expand their menu…

Woks On The Road… The Big Wok Mongolian barbecue at Goat Hill in Manhattan Beach has decamped to a new and much nicer space a few blocks north. That operation will be up and running within two weeks, and the selection will expand to include seafood. Those who miss the simple joys of piling your bowl with proteins and vegetables and watching it tossed on a huge griddle will want to keep an eye on the corner of PCH and 10th Street. As an added attraction, parking will almost certainly be much better than it was at the old place…

Delayed Again… Pacific Standard Prime was scheduled to be open by now, but delays in construction have pushed that back again. They plan to start serving within the next 2 to 3 weeks and are being open about the situation, which I appreciate. The owners of some other projects around town have stopped answering phone calls and emails about when they’ll be firing up the stoves…

Focus on the Flavor… Gabi James in Riviera Village came up with an inspired theme for their Tuesday tastings. Instead of offering for wines or beers, they’re focusing on a flavor and showing it in a food, wine, beer, and spirit. As an example, when the theme was apples, they offered tastings of a Spanish sparkling wine, an American apple cider, a French calvados apple brandy, and an apple and brie crostini. They are continuing this program for the next few weeks, and the next flavors to be featured are citrus, clove, Spain, and caramel. (And yes, one of those things is not like the others.) It’s $20 plus tax and tip, and the tasting is served all evening. I am always happy to see someone being creative with tasting events, and hope they keep doing them…

Event Alerts… If you’re reading this on March 5, the day this issue comes out, you just might be lucky enough to get a space at the wine dinner at Primo. This is a headline event because the guest is Jock Busser from the world-renowned Château Montelena winery. The price is $120 for dinner with his wines, which is a deal. Call 310-378-4288 to reserve… Should you happen to prefer beer and be available that day, there is a remarkable event at Brewport Tap House in El Segundo. They’re doing something that would be inconceivable almost anywhere else: to celebrate 40 years in business, Sierra Nevada is bringing 40 different beers that will all be on tap that night. Brewery ambassador Steve Grossman will be on hand to explain the brand’s history and quaff along with the rest of the rest of the crowd. 5 PM to close, no reservation needed…

An Event For The Contemplative… You may be familiar with the TEDx Talks, the independently organized events at which speakers give insightful talks about different topics. A related event called a TEDx Salon is coming to Redondo Beach on March 13. At TEDx salons participants watch prerecorded TED Talks and then have a moderated group discussion about them afterwards. The topic of this one is “Eat to Live/Live to Eat,” it will run from 6:30 to 9:30 PM and include snacks, and the venue is the Redondo Performing Arts Center at Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Aviation. Tickets are $25 and are available on Eventbrite…

Miscellaneous Useful News… The Urban Plates restaurant in the Manhattan Mall has been busy since the day they opened, and they’re expanding their offerings. They start serving brunch this Saturday with offerings that include gluten-free French toast, organic eggs Benedict, and housemade donuts with strawberry jam. Brunch will be offered between 9:30 AM and 2 PM on weekends only… Beach city cooks who like to make Japanese food are used to having to head east to get ingredients, and you still have to do that but don’t need to drive quite as far. The Seiwa Market has been open on Hawthorne near Carson for some time and has a decent selection, and now the Mitsuwa marketplace has opened on the other side of Hawthorne behind Macy’s. If you’re looking for that perfect sashimi or arcane vegetable, you can get it without using as much gas (or if you have an electric car, as many electrons)…

Montana Madness… Outpost 406, Hermosa Beach’s Montana-themed café, is offering some interesting specials during the off-season. On “Korean kitchen Wednesdays” they’re serving homestyle food from the land of the morning calm, and on Friday they offer something called the “upstate New York experience.” I don’t know what that is, but I’m willing to bet apples are involved somewhere, because the ones I had when I visited the area were wonderful. The wackiest offering is Sunday from 12 to 6 PM when they offer “County Fair Food Day.” If your impression of county fair food is deep fried things on sticks, you know exactly what they’re serving. Will the health-conscious locals in the South Bay beat a path to the door of a place where they might possibly be offered deep-fried stuffed pickles? It may take a couple of extra sessions at the workout room or Pilates studio, but I’m willing to bet that they will once they hear about it…

As I always mention at the end of these columns, your tips about what is going on in our neighborhood and where new restaurants are opening is invaluable. Please send any questions or comments to richard@richardfoss.com

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