Richard Foss

Mediterraneo sold, New French in MB, Espresso in Hermosa, more [A La Carte dining news]

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Hot Summer, Hot Dining Scene… After a lull in openings and changes, things are heating up in the South Bay restaurant scene. The big surprise is the changeover at Chez Melange, which will close for a few days and reopen with a brighter main room and new concept. That news and a story about the opening of the Hermosa Beach Ragin Cajun appear elsewhere in this week’s issue, but it’s far from the only things going on in the soap opera that is the South Bay scene.

Hennessey Does It Again… Paul Hennessey has purchased Mediterraneo, also known as The Med, on Pier Plaza in Hermosa. The place has been humming along since 2002 without any huge change in concept, which is a long time in this fast changing dining scene. As of press time we haven’t been able to confirm what will happen with the property, but have heard that the new restaurant will be “more upscale”…

Crazy For Crustaceans… The 22nd annual Redondo Beach Lobster Festival is a rite of fall here. This year it is scheduled for September 22 through 24. Local culinary hero Jessica Jordan of Fishbar will be the guest of honor.  She will be serving all things lobster, definitely to include tacos, chowder, quesadillas, and nachos. If she’s feeling whimsical she could conceivably combine lobster with ice cream and cookies to create an unforgettable concoction and take her passion for ice cream desserts to a new level. Will she do it? You’ll have to show up to find out. Check out the menu and list of live bands and get your tickets at lobsterfestival.com…    

That same weekend is also the Celebration of Food & Wine at Terranea Resort, a morning until night exploration of all things edible and imbibed. You can while away the hours between sumptuous meals learning how to make cheese, gathering sea salt from the shore, sampling wines, sharpening your cocktail game, and much more. The information and prices for various events and meals are online at terranea.com

And In Case You Didn’t Read It Elsewhere… We sometimes don’t celebrate the people and institutions that changed the way we eat and drink while they’re still around, which makes the send-off for Chez Melange a rare pleasure and opportunity. Partners Michael Franks and Robert Bell will be hosting a dinner at which they will tell stories from their 35 years in business together while serving a menu of their greatest hits. The two will reminisce about customer reactions to their groundbreaking ideas. I was one of their first customers and I remember bringing a friend who actually had a panic attack while ordering breakfast because there were too many unfamiliar choices. Not everybody had reactions that extreme, but in their early days there were many moments of mixed confusion and delight. You can hear about them while enjoying food and wine from the masters on November 6 – check the website at chezmelange.com for details…

Something Happened in Manhattan Beach! Wait, Two Somethings… We’re more than halfway through the year and Manhattan Beach got its first opening of a  full service restaurant. Les P’tits Bretons is uncompromisingly French in style and serves the rustic cuisine of Brittany in Northwest France, which is noted for buckwheat crepes called galettes, seafood, and buttery baked desserts. They’re serving a limited menu right now but plan to expand soon. (2201 Highland, Manhattan Beach.)

Meanwhile down the street, Four Daughters Kitchen closed last week and is in the process of transforming into Café Wild. The interior is being freshened and they should be open within the next week.  The new place will still serve casual contemporary from dawn until late. (3505 Highland Manhattan Beach. (310) 545-2444)

And A Manhattan Event… You may be forgiven if you haven’t noticed the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club before, as the place is hidden on a residential street outside of downtown. There’s a good reason to seek out the place now, the “Pub At The Club” food and wine event on September 10th. $69 gets you tastes from ten local restaurants, twenty beer and cider makers, and eight wineries. Get the list and your tickets at pubattheclub.com

Secretly Open… You may be forgiven for not realizing that Hi-Fi Espresso is open, since the place has no sign and dark windows. They are indeed in existence, and a friend who has been there says the place has a hip vibe straight out of the 1970s. Get a pair of pinstriped bell bottoms and a tie dyed shirt from your own or somebody else’s closet and you’ll feel right at home. They don’t roast their own beans in-house but bring it in fresh from Seattle, a town with a justifiably impressive reputation for coffee obsession. (227 PCH, Hermosa)…        

And A Different Pair Of Flavors… I don’t think of chocolate and sake as a natural pairing, but perhaps I should. That is the concept to be tested at Marsatta Chocolate Factory’s chocolate and sake night, which is scheduled for September 19th in Torrance. Price is $48.00 – tickets are available at Eventbrite…  

Any new restaurant openings I should know about, any food and drink events, any other desserts that use lobster? I’m at Richard@richardfoss.com

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