Richard Foss

South Bay Dining News: El Segundo’s Farm Stand bids adieu, Hermosa Beach’s Barran’s 2239 arrives, dinners at Chez Melange, Orlando’s, and Hatchet Hall, and more…

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Chef Orlando Mulé exchanges his chef’s whites for the flannels of a Quebec maple sugar tapper on the weekend of April 16th. Photo by Carole Beauvais.

Chef Orlando Mulé exchanges his chef’s whites for the flannels of a Quebec maple sugar tapper on the weekend of April 16th. Photo by Carole Beauvais.

Calling It A Decade…  El Segundo’s Farm Stand had a ten-year run for their mix of Mediterranean, Persian, and American favorites. They introduced health-conscious eclectic food to Downtown El Segundo, though they never got quite the acclaim or following they deserved.  I can’t remember seeing the restaurant entirely full or entirely empty, and the low-profile location on the north part of Main Street’s business district didn’t help. The place closed last week as owners Sylvie Gabriele and Alex Mosavi decided to focus on another project, a fast casual Mediterranean concept. No word yet on where that will be or when it will open, but you’ll see the news in this column as soon as I have it…

First Look: If you heard about Baran’s 2239 and went to the area around 22nd Street to look for it, you were undoubtedly disappointed. The numbers aren’t the address of this restaurant, but of one the Baran family owned in Pasadena decades ago. Though the name looks back, the restaurant is modern in concept and design, and the food is very contemporary and based on seasonal produce. The meal I had was audacious and successful – excellent focaccia bread, an Italian Broccoli, cauliflower, and bean dish, and pork jowl topped with gooseberries and walnuts. Style has come to Sepulveda, and it will be interesting to see how soon the downtown crowd discovers that fact. They won’t be helped by the fact that the sign is currently not illuminated at night, though management hopes to have that working soon… (502 Pacific Coast Hwy., Hermosa Beach. 424-247-8468)

Event Alert… There is another upscale outpost on the highway a few miles north at Tin Roof Bistro, which will be hosting a wine dinner with Blackbird Cellars on April 20th. Napa-based Blackbird specializes in Bordeaux-style blends and has an excellent reputation, so this will be worth investigating. The price is $125, and the menu is on Tin Roof’s website. For reservations, phone 310-939-0900… (3500 N. Sepulveda, Manhattan Beach. 310-939-0900)

Alerte d’Evenement… I never thought I’d see a celebration of the Canadian maple syrup harvest in the South Bay, but that’s exactly what will be happening at Orlando’s on the weekend of April 16. Chef Orlando Mulé moved here from Montreal and apparently misses the spring foods favored by maple tappers in woodlands dwellings called “Cabane a’ sucre” or “sugar shacks.” On this weekend Quebecois folk music will play and you can enjoy tastes of rustic pea soup, maple smoked meats, pate, and other items, and finish with fresh-pulled maple taffy on snow. The price is $30 for adults, discounts for teens and children, and everything will be served family style. We get a lot of South of the Border culture in the Beach Cities, and it’s something of a change to go north… (1000 Torrance Blvd., Redondo. 310-792-9300)  

Taking The Name Literally… Chez Mélange means “Place of Mixtures,” and at various times they’ve offered the cuisine of many cultures. On April 12 guest chefs Mesfin and Genet Aclog will present an Ethiopian feast, which is almost certainly the first time this cuisine has been available in the South Bay. Ethiopian cuisine is noted for subtly spiced stews that are eaten with crepes that have a delicate sourdough flavor, and it’s a cuisine unlike any other. The cost is $55 for five courses including honey wine and coffee – and Ethiopians are the people who invented coffee, and have had a long time to get it right…  (1611 S. Catalina Ave, Redondo. 310-540-1222)

New Chefs in Hotel Kitchens… Two of the high-end hotels in our area recently had turnover at the top. Ashley Oates, who has been sous-chef at Shade Hotel since 2013, is now Executive Chef there. Oates is a South Bay native who has shown a commitment to using local produce, which has already been a priority here, but we may watch for her to add her own touches to the menu. Meanwhile in Palos Verdes, Chef Andrew Vaughan has been at mar’sel at Terranea since February. Louisiana native Vaughan has cooked with superstars Emeril Lagasse and Daniel Boulud, and has brought elements of his his Southern heritage to the cosmopolitan menu here. Speaking of Terranea, their Chefs Table series continues on April 2 with a “Spring’s Bounty” wine dinner priced at $283 per person – and that includes a room for the night for each couple,  so you may sample the wines without worrying about the drive home. A full description, menu, and the reservation information are available at terranea.com – click Marsel and Events… (100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes. 866-0547-3066)

And Something Different… I usually keep a tight focus on events within the South Bay, but have occasionally reported on other areas when something was offered that can’t be found locally. This is one of those moments, and the event is a dinner of South Carolina regional specialties at Hatchet Hall in West Culver City on April 11. The city of Charleston was a leading port in Colonial America, and developed a cuisine that blends French, Spanish, African, and Asian techniques with American ingredients. It’s America’s least known great cuisine, and it will be served on that evening only. The event is the first in a series called “The Thoughtful Feast,” which will explore historic and contemporary food cultures in Los Angeles, and it’s a benefit for the new West Coast division of the National Food & Beverage Foundation. The price is $70 including tastes of 18th Century punches – the full menu and reservation page is at natfab.org/events. I should mention that I am the California Curator for the museum – if you are interested in West Coast food history please contact me and I’ll put you on our mailing list… (12517 West Washington, Culver City. 310-391-4222)

Any new restaurants I should know about, any upcoming events, any great ethnic markets? I’m at richard@richardfoss.com…

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