Richard Foss

A La Carte Column: South Bay Dining News for 13 March

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Big openings in Hermosa and Torrance, Winemaker dinners, dining events, and more...

Pier Plaza Gets An Upgrade… Playa Hermosa has opened in the former Killer Shrimp space, and it looks like a major improvement. The space has been brightened and made more stylish, and though they are serving a limited menu at the moment there are intriguing items like blood orange scallop crudo, po-boy sliders with green goddess dressing, and a shrimp roll with pickled fennel. The prices are in line for other upscale Pier Plaza places, though those who are celebrating something big can get a dozen oysters and a bottle of 06 Dom Perignon for a mere $325. I think I’ll be exploring other parts of the menu for now, but will keep that in mind. (19 Pier Ave., HB. 310-504-0088)…

Opening Soon(er Or Later)… Some much anticipated openings are happening this month, and the most interesting is Tower 12, which opened on the day our paper edition came out this week.  From the pictures I’ve seen the interior will be stylishly beachy, the menu an upscale take on contemporary ideas with house-smoked pastrami and other artisan products. The bar program looks like a match, and seems set to raise the local standard for mixology. It’s an exciting development for the space previously more noted for big burgers and loud sports. (53 Pier Avenue, HB)

Elsewhere, work has been continuing at Garden Thai, the new restaurant just north of Second Street on Aviation in North Redondo, and an opening there seems imminent… The new Mama D’s in Redondo Beach has cleared their permit hurdles and is on track to be open within two weeks, but things haven’t been quite as smooth at Les P’tits Bretons in Manhattan Beach. The problem is different from the usual quibbles with building inspectors, as the hold is due to the chef-owner’s immigration status. A general slowdown on visa processing has delayed his move to the U.S. and certification as an employer, but it is hoped this will be sorted out soon. This little place has been given a stunning remodel using French country design, and I’m eager to see what happens here…

Cake Has Fallen… Manhattan Beach’s Cake Bakeshop is the latest cupcake specialist micro-bakery to go by the wayside. They lasted nine years in a very tough market, longer than most of their competitors in the era of the Great Cupcake Craze. No word on what will move in next…  

We Want Everything, And We Want It Now… Planning an evening out and can’t decide what kind of food you crave? If the evening happens to be Friday March 17 then you can attend the Taste of the South Bay at Shade Hotel Redondo and snack on offerings from over a dozen restaurants, breweries, and wineries. LA Kings personnel will be there to meet fans, casino games will be available, and much more. Price is $100, reservations and more information is at kings.nhl/com – click the “Kings Care” tab…

News From Torrance… Old Torrance will soon have a new gastropub called Local Kitchen in the space that was formerly 1321 Taproom. The space on Sartori Avenue has been freshened up and will soon be serving hearty fare, burgers, and a few Italian dishes. Watch for an opening within a month.  Elsewhere in Town, the former L’Amande Bakery will now be Pinwheel Bakery, and remodeling is in progress…    

Event Alerts!… The heavy hitters are coming out to present winemaker dinners in the South Bay. First up is a dinner with Frederick L. Dame, regarded as the #1 sommelier in the world, at Chez Melange on March 27. The topic will be rosé  wines, and a five-course menu with Dane’s selections will set you back only $69 plus tax and tip. The menu is online at chezmelange.com, phone for reservations at 310-540-1222…   

If you act very, very quickly you may be able to secure a space at the March 28 Calluna winemaker dinner at Dominique’s Kitchen in Redondo. Calluna makes Bordeaux-style wines in Sonoma, and their offerings should be perfect with Beef Bourguignon and classic accompaniments from Dominique. Price is $99, call 424-247-9054 for reservations…  Another ticket you’ll have to act quickly to get will be the Culinary Masters dinner at Strand House on April 3rd, which will bring together opening chef Neal Fraser, chef-partner Greg Hozinsky, and new chef Austin Cobb. The trio of accomplished chefs will pair the meal with wines from Challen Vineyards of Santa Barbara. Price is $150, and you can see the menu online at strandhousemb.com…

Lazy Lunches On The Highway… Baran’s 2239 is one of the most popular dinner houses in the South Bay, and now you can visit for weekend brunch too. They’re making high style country breakfasts, and I can hardly wait to see what they do to favorites like biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, and pork belly hash. It’s a great move from one of our most exciting kitchens (502 PCH, Hermosa)…  

Any new places I should know about, any culinary events? I’m at Richard@richardfoss.com…

 

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