Richard Foss

Restaurants A La Carte: Rainy day discount

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Saving A Little On A Rainy Day… If you have been brushing up on your long-rusty cooking skills or ordering pizzas lately because you didn’t want to get wet on the way to dinner, Gambrinus Restaurant in Redondo would like to change your mind. They offer a five dollar discount on your check any time that it is raining, which it has been doing a bit lately. It’s worth the trip to the Redondo Boardwalk any time to enjoy their hearty Russian and Lithuanian food, which keeps Russians on the go through much worse weather than we will ever experience here…
I’m Causing Trouble Again… Apparently a remark in my recent review of Aimee’s Restaurant caused some people to think that Aimee was selling the restaurant and moving out of the area. She was on vacation then, she is back now, and she has no plans to leave either the business or the neighborhood. My apologies if it wasn’t clear that her absence was temporary…

More Closings and Openings… Or perhaps we should call them reincarnations, because each building is an empty shell that takes on a new spirit as new occupants come in. Istanbul Mix is closed and new owners have just opened it as a creperie, an interesting transformation. Though there are several fine creperies in the South Bay right now, the new business, called The Great Crepe, will have Artesia Boulevard to itself. Elsewhere, Octopus in Manhattan Beach has become an izakaya-style restaurant owned by the people behind the popular Sushi Katsu and its sister restaurants in Los Angeles. Izakaya, sometimes called Japanese tapas, is a great way to dine and not widely available in this area, so this should be on everyone’s must-visit list. Note that this restaurant is not related to the similarly named Katsu! sushi on Rosecrans – I foresee confusion until people get this straight…

First Looks… I visited Four Daughters Kitchen in Manhattan Beach during its opening week and had a very good lunch – they’re still working out the kinks, but the lemon chicken pasta was excellent and an everything-in-the-fridge-on-top-of-a-burger sandwich was tasty and came with great fries. The change in the building has been huge – what used to be an anonymous, slightly shabby façade when this was Bora Bora is now bright and cheerful, and the room is bathed in warm natural light. I do wonder how this neighborhood is going to manage with so many breakfast and lunch spots in the same area – this restaurant is within 200 feet of North End, The Local Yolk, and Sloopy’s, and OB’s is a block away. It goes without saying that there aren’t enough parking spaces for all of these. I find it amusing that people involved with each of these restaurants have said that they expect to serve primarily locals that will walk there; locals must really hate to cook to support a crowd that size…

Event Alert!… Akbar will host a wine dinner on February 10 featuring wines from the Wine Spectator top 100 list, hosted by wine expert Bart Lynn – those who like Indian food and wine should call (310) 393-9994. Another interesting event is coming up at the Bottle Inn, a tasting with Brutocao winemaker Steve Brutocao. The date is February 24, and I don’t know the menu, but this is the Bottle Inn so it will be wine-friendly and delicious. I can however guarantee that someone at (310) 376-9595 will be able to tell you much more about the food, and even accept a reservation. Finally, you might consider dropping in to the weekly wine tastings at Lido di Manhattan Beach – they happen every Thursday, and you can taste offerings from Goodnight Winery next week. A mere $15 gets you six to eight tastes of wine accompanied by light appetizers, quite a deal…

And The Next Big Holiday… Mardi Gras is just around the corner, so you’ll need to hone your knives and your skills for the big feast. South Bay School of Cooking can help you make that perfect pot of shrimp etoufee with all the trimmings – the class is this Friday, February 5. Call (310) 350-3772 and get ready for the good times…

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