Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: South Bay

The Offspring celebrates record release at Chronic Tacos

The-Offspring
The skate punk band the Offspring is releasing its ninth record, "Days Go By," at a party at Chronic Tacos in Huntington Beach on June 26 from 5 to 7 p.m.

It's an event sure to be filled with a certain kind of bro: backward baseball caps, chain wallets, lots of tattoos and questionable facial hair. Ladies in bikini tops, high heels and small skirts will also be in abundance.

Also in attendance? Competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, because nothing says, "I like to party with the Offspring" like watching a 128-pound Japanese man wolf down dozens of tacos in minutes. (Kobayashi currently holds a number of world records, including one for eating 14 Twinkies in 1 minute and one for consuming 337 chicken wings at Wing Bowl XX.)

The Offspring will be on hand to sign autographs on its new record, hand out custom Offspring T-shirts and take in a performance by a mariachi band.

Chronic Tacos, 328 11th St., Huntington Beach. (714) 960-0339; www.eatchronictacos.com. www.offspring.com.

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Photo: The Offspring plays the Nova Rock Music Festival in Nickelsdorf, Austria, earlier this month. Credit: Balazs Mohai / Hungary Out.

In Redondo Beach: the cooking of the Venetian Lagoon

Venice
New in Redondo Beach, Hostaria Piave celebrates the cooking of the Venetian Lagoon and nearby countryside. What, northern Italian cuisine that's not Tuscan?

That's exactly Veneto native Angelo Calderan's idea and he's worked hard to make this new restaurant feel like an hostaria from the watery Venetian lagoon. From the outside, it looks sleek and contemporary with huge windows looking onto Pacific Coast Highway. He's got the al fresco angle covered with an outdoor patio in front outfitted with heat lamps. Inside, Venetian carnival masks and framed prints and paintings make Hostaria Piave feel as if it’s been part of the neighborhood for years.

At the long communal table, a toddler sleeps in his mother’s arms while she nibbles on the day’s antipasto del Laguna, a selection of little bites from the sea.

A longtime manager of Ca' del Sole in Toluca Lake, Calderan intends to keep his menu rigorously regional. At Hostaria Piave (named for the river that flows from the Alps to the Venetian Lagoon), he wants to "present the everyday dishes that you would find at the family table in the small islands of the Venetian lagoon and the near countryside.”

That means sauteed bay shrimp with garlic and parsley on soft white polenta or seared scallop with cannellini beans and crispy speck to start. There's also a soulful soup of borlotti beans and mussels, and if the kitchen hasn't run out,  fresh sardines with breacrumbs, garlic, and olive oil.

Pastas are unusual, too. Gnocchi comes with duck leg braised in red wine. Risotto with radicchio is cooked with Amarone wine from the Veneto. Prices are reasonable and any of the first courses can be ordered as a main course by adding $5.

Main courses might include braised cuttlefish in tomato sauce and peas with soft polenta or roasted pork shank with golden apple. And for anybody who just wants something simple, a  whole roasted chicken with lemon, garlic, and rosemary. It's worth noting that main courses are all under $20. 

And I like the restaurant's motto: chi ben beve, ben mangia — who drinks well, eats well. Can't argue with that.

Hostaria Piave, 231 Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach; (310) 374-1000; hostariapiave.com. Open for lunch Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner Monday to Thursday 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5 to 10:30 p.m.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Photos: Gondolas lined up in Venice; credit: Nancy Hoyt Belcher.

 

 

South Bay dining: Readers write in about their favorite restaurants

CaptainKidd
I wrote a story for last week's Food section that talked about some exciting new developments in the South Bay's dining scene. I was careful to mention in the story that there were many restaurants in the area that residents have long loved, but due to space and the nature of the story I couldn't list every single one of them. I expected to hear from readers about places I missed, and, boy, did I.

People are passionate about their favorite restaurants, and your letters reflected that. Readers wrote in mentioning 11 different places that they felt I was wrong to have omitted. They are: Talia's, Mangiamo, Darren's Restaurant, Sashi, Fonz's, Gina Lee's Bistro, Chef Melba's Bistro, J. Trani's, Restaurant Christine, Admiral Risty and Petros. I received the most letters about Talia's and Mangiamo, with Darren's and Gina Lee's Bistro coming in at a close second.

We all define fine dining a bit differently, and as one reader pointed out, "A great restaurant is many things in addition to food and drink. It is a home away from home, a place for friends and family to gather and a place for building memories that sustain us in the years to come."

That's well put. In fact, this weekend I spent the night in Redondo Beach for my birthday and had dinner with two of my best friends at a cozy restaurant by the beach called Captain Kidd's. It's just a little fish market with counter service and long communal wooden benches for dining, but I had a great plate of clam strips that reminded me of my college days in Boston, as well as some yummy grilled mahi mahi and a plastic cup of red wine. It was the perfect birthday dinner for many reasons, but the time, place and people with me had as much to do with my experience as the food.

So, here's to all of you who wrote in about your favorite restaurants. May you enjoy many more fine meals at them.

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-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Captain Kidd's Fish Market in Redondo Beach. Credit: Jessica Gelt

3 Food Events You Should Know About: Nathan's hot dog eating contest in South Bay; Bruery beer-maker dinner at Craft; Old Pasadena Restaurant Week

Hotdogs The Bruery meets Craft: Orange County's Bruery is the featured brewer at Craft's first beer-maker dinner of 2011, on Monday, June 6. So here's the planned menu: charred calamari salad with Fresno chiles and oregano, with Hottenroth wheat beer; cured yelloweye snapper and watermelon, Thai basil and crispy rice, with Trade Winds, a tripel with Thai basil; buckwheat tagliatelle, bratwurst, morels and onion soubisse, with Saison Rue, a Belgian-French farmhouse ale with rye; Ellensburg lamb sweetbreads, green chickpeas and fava beans, with Marron Acidifie Imperial Oud Bruin and Mischief Belgian strong ale; California cheese, with Rugbrød Danish rye ale; and mignardises, with Cuir bourbon barrel-aged ale. A reception is at 6:30 p.m., dinner's at 7. $95 per person. Contact Anna Morini for reservations at amorini@craftlosangeles.com or call (424) 204-7485. (Reservations cannot be made via Open Table for this event.) 10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, www.craftlosangeles.com. 

Hot dogs galore: Nathan's in Hawthorne -- the only Nathan's Famous in the L.A. area -- is holding a hot dog eating contest on Sunday, June 12, at South Bay Ford. It's one of 16 qualifying rounds leading to the annual July 4 contest on Coney Island. (FYI, Joey Chestnut of San Jose holds the world record for eating 68 Nathan's Famous hot dogs -- with buns -- in 10 minutes. He is seeking his fifth straight title this year.) Registration is closed because of the number of applicants, but you can watch. Noon to 4 p.m. 5100 Rosecrans Ave., Hawthorne.

Pasadena restaurant week: More than 20 Pasadena restaurants will take part in the third annual Old Pasadena Restaurant Week,  June 1-8. Three-course meals will start at $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner, with part of the proceeds benefiting Union Station Homeless Services. Participating restaurants include Vertical Wine Bistro, Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar, Café Santorini, Quadrupel Brasserie, 1810 Argentinean Restaurant, Villa Sorriso and Sushi Roku. For a complete list of restaurants and menus, go to www.oldpasadena.org/restaurantweek.

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-- Betty Hallock  

Photo: Joey Chestnut. Credit: Stan Honda/EPA.

Some like it hot at CoCo Ichibanya curry house in Torrance

Curried_rice 
Here's a sneak peek at what's coming in this week's Food section. It's a review of CoCo Ichibanya in Torrance, where they bring the heat:

"...Unlike most Japanese curries, CoCo Ichibanya's can seriously sting. The restaurant's regular curry has a noticeable bite, but step up to the second level of spice and you'll find a couple of beads of sweat on your brow. Each level advances incrementally with a few extra units of heat. It's at the fifth level that things become uncomfortable, the plate before you less a pleasure and increasingly a chore. Your stomach roils, your lips go numb -- it's paralyzing. The restaurant reserves spice levels six through 10 for those with truly masochistic constitutions, each of which can  be ordered  only after you've proved you've  finished its predecessor. (You'll be subject to a sincere questioning by a server.)"

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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Vegetable curry dish with potato, onion, carrot, green beans in a curry sauce, served with white rice. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Ever crave liquid pork?

Ramen300 
Here's a sneak peek at what's coming in this week's Food section: Our Find of the Week is Ramen Yamadaya in Torrance:

Tonkotsu is the heart of the matter at Ramen Yamadaya, an unassuming little ramen shop in Torrance squeezed between a skate shop and the 405 Freeway. Proper tonkotsu broth is made by simmering pork bones for the better part of the day, and the result is a lush, intensified, liquefied pork. A good tonkotsu broth feels like a crushed velvet smoothie.

Yamadaya's tonkotsu broth looks promising: cloudy, dense with porky particulate. A first sip doesn't disappoint, revealing a sensuous version of tonkotsu broth -- almost fuzzy, like drinking a pork Snuggie.

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-- Rene Lynch
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Photo by Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times.

Eric Ripert signs books at Whole Foods stores

Aveceric Chef Eric Ripert is signing copies of his latest cookbook, "Avec Eric" (based on his namesake TV show), at Whole Foods stores in Pasadena and Huntington Beach. Meet the man of whom Anthony Bourdain says: "You throw that bastard down a hole, into a busy kitchen, a mosh pit, a swimming pool, or the grill station at my old restaurant ... and he will emerge unscathed, seemingly unperturbed...." And his hair always looks good.

Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Whole Foods Market Arroyo, 465 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena.
 
Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Whole Foods Market Huntington Beach, 7881 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach. 

Updated hours at Eatalian Cafe

When Eatalian Cafe debuted in this week's Find, dinner was not yet a reality at the Gardena eatery. But owner Antonio Pellini and wife Eugenia write to tell us that the restaurant is now open evenings. Its new hours are Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Eatalian Cafe, 15500 S. Broadway St., Gardena, (310) 532-8880.

Photo: Garran Smith, 4, of San Pedro, chooses a gelato flavor at the newly opened Eatalian Cafe in Gardena. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Early Bird: Tin Roof Bistro

Tin

Writing up an early report on a new restaurant can sometimes be awkward. At just a week or two old, some places are not yet ready for prime time, which is why we generally wait two or three months before publishing a full review of a new restaurant. Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach falls into that awkward phase -- almost ready but not quite. Read more from Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila.

Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


The Palos Verdes Peninsula's last farmer

James James Hatano turns off one of the Palos Verdes Peninsula's oceanfront drives and onto a hidden dirt road, just as he has for more than 50 years. He guides his Buick LaCrosse up a gentle hill to the fields where he raises cacti and flowers.

While he works, Hatano can look out at the Pacific and see whales and dolphins.

As he chops off a beavertail cactus paddle, he gazes across Palos Verdes Drive West to where construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the 582-room Terranea resort with its nine-hole golf course, 25,000-square-foot spa and three pools.

Marineland of the Pacific once stood on the site. Before that, Hatano recalls, a man named Tomio Nakano raised tomatoes there. What is now Trump National Golf Club, he says, was once barley and vegetable fields.

"This area's all full of homes, but it used to be full of garbanzo fields," Hatano says. "I didn't even know what garbanzos were until I came up here."

Hatano, 82, is the last farmer on the Palos Verdes Peninsula -- and the last link to a Palos Verdes few remember, one dotted with farms worked by Japanese immigrants and their families. Their garbanzo beans and tomatoes, nourished by rain and ocean mists, were known worldwide. Read more here.

-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: James Hatano, 82, is the last farmer on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the last link to a Palos Verdes few remember. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.