It may have been ambitious to have driven down to the South Bay on a Friday late afternoon, but we knew what we wanted, and what we wanted was uni.
Having 4 people in my little Mini Cooper enabled us to use the 110 Southbound’s alternating Express Lane (it weaves in and out with more preference now given to FastPassers), which was key in our Silver-Lake-to-South-Bay commute and miraculously amounted to little more than a half hour. We made it to Maruhide’s resident strip mall just after its 5:30 PM opening and, though we imagined there being a line out the door, we were the only table seated for another 10 minutes.
You can tell a city has entered a seafood renaissance when several of its most admired chefs and restauranteurs make it a centerpiece of their sophomore-or-later efforts. We watched with delight as they’ve sprung up all over town these past couple of years, and as recently as last week. It’s indicative of a supply feeding the demand, which appears to still grow.
I don’t make it a secret that M.B. Post is practically my favorite restaurant in the South Bay and one of my top picks for all of Los Angeles. So it pains me to admit that I wish I lived closer so that I could take advantage of their new “Nooner” menu – essentially a weekend daytime menu that’s served from 2 – 5 in the weekend afternoon but also lunchtime until dinner on Friday afternoons.
You can count on Chef David Lefevre’s terrific truffle honey laced fried chicken to be on the mid-day list, as well as Albondigas and Meyers’ Farm “Never Ever” Skirt Steak. Order the Pomegranate Cous Cous with lavender feta, Marcona almonds and grapefruit and the Blistered Green Beans with Thai basil, chili sauce and crispy pork to pair, and you’re pretty much all set.
Oh, but wait. You’d be remiss not to try one of the awesome cocktails at M.B. Post. Since it’s daytime, go for the Coughlin’s Law, or the glorified Bloody Mary. Complete with quail egg, dill and picante, this will likely be the best Bloody Mary you’ve had in awhile.
If you’re good to actually make it to weekend brunch at M.B. Post, even better. You’ll have your choice of egg dishes, including the incredible Breakfast Frittata and the same Meyers’ Farm steak but with a sunny side up egg. Their Benedict incorporates the famous bacon cheddar biscuit and La Quercia prosciutto and truly makes me do a happy dance.
Either way, any time of day – even dinner – is prime time at M.B. Post, since there’s such a great selection and execution of small plates for every occasion.
Peep below for a slideshow of their brunch items:
Brunch: 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM Saturday & Sunday Nooner: 2 – 5 PM Friday Nooner: 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM Nooner menu
M.B. Post 1142 Manhattan Avenue Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 310.545.5405
Time to celebrate that lobster love at the 13th annual Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival happening next Friday through Sunday, September 16 – 18th, 2011. And while festivals come and go, this particular event takes the crustacean as it currently holds the Guiness Book World Record for most seafood served at an outdoor event. Impressive.
So, what’s the deal before and when you get there? You can buy a First Class (VIP) ticket in advanceÂ for $41 per person, whereby you secure your lobster feast, one beverage, a poster by artists in The Uprising Creative and priority in the food and bar lines. There’s even a special dining area for First Class ticket-holders and 1/3rd of these ticket proceeds benefit the Harbor Interfaith Services.
Feeling more like a pay-as-you-go program? Admission to the festival is $10 (be sure to print out the $2 off coupon) and Maine lobster meals are $19 each. Thinking you’ll want more than one lobster? You can “double up” and add an extra lobster to your plate for a total 2.50 lbs for $33. Every meal comes with cole slaw, potatoes, sweet bread, lemon wedges and a buttery dipping sauce.
If you’re vegetarian, the Lobster Festival has a great deal going on with the adjacent Ports O’ Call Restaurant, where you can dine on their 50 item salad bar. Take your receipt to the front desk for free admission to the festival.
And, while you’re there, you might as well stay for the fun. There will be bands (flashback to the ’80s, anyone? Berlin!) and even TaikoÂ drummersÂ to keep you entertained once you’ve devoured your lobster dinner. And as the L.A. festival tradition goes, there will also be food trucks there like The Lobstatruck (of course), Rajun Cajun, Coolhaus and Barbie’s Q.
And if you’d like to enjoy lobster for free and think you’ve got goodÂ luck, I’ve got a giveaway for tickets to the Lobsterfest. On the giveaway block are one pair of First Class (VIP) tickets and one pair of General Admission tickets. The winner and runner-up must have a mailing address to give me in order to receive your tickets. To enter, you must do all ofÂ the following:
Leave a comment below (with email address field complete; thisÂ will not be shared with anyone) detailing your favorite lobster dish in memory. Make me salivate. Include your Twitter handle if you’d like to be announced as the winner on Twitter (and can be notified in a timely manner).
Tweet this: “I want to win tickets to @PoLALobsterfest, @estarLA! http://estar.la/e/br”
Be ready to give me your mailing address when I announce the winner at noon on Monday, September 12th and email you. If you don’t respond by 2:30 PM I will be forced to choose another winner and/or runner-up!
I’ll be checking all entries to make sure you’ve done #1, #2 and #3 before I put you in the drawing bucket, so make sure you’re thorough. 😉 Good luck, everyone! And see you next weekend at the Lobsterfest!!
Friday – Sunday, September 16 – 18, 2011
Friday: 5 – 11 PM Saturday: 11 AM – 11 PM Sunday: 11 AM – 7 PM
Free Parking – Cruise Ship Parking Lot
Cash only at the event
Lobsterfest at The Ports O’ Call Village 1100 Berth San Pedro, CA 90731 (Harbor Blvd. exit off 110 Fwy)
There’s something really exciting going on over in Manhattan Beach. The cooking is so titillating I’d gladly make the trek to meet a Westside or South Bay friend at M.B. Post, Chef David LeFevre’s exciting and as-yet-still-new venture. It is this that he left Downtown L.A.’s seafood heavyweight, Water Grill, for and it’s a beautiful thing to see his unbridled passion coming out of the kitchen. Call M.B. Post a gastropub, if you will (everyone is doing it), but I can’t remember the last time the small plates in one spot hit it so consistently out of the park. They were playful, but also well-executed.
Each tasty bread selection is accompanied by a sauce of sorts, with maple butter on the side of their crumbly Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk biscuits, a delicious horseradish mustard on the side of the Fleur de Sel Pretzel and a harissa yogurt sauce dippable by naan. And if that doesn’t properly start things, don’t forget the cheese and cured meat selection – and all the accompaniments.
The cocktail menu by Sal Roses, Jerry Garbus, Gregg Wescott, and Beau du Bois is a composition of riffs on old favorites. I was more than pleased with my Manhattan Avenue, made with Sazerac Rye and finished off with bacon dust. The Landing Strip is their Aviation with a Creme de Violet twist. The real stand-out, though, is the Day of the Dead, made with Fortaleza Silver, amaretto, lemon and sage. It’s a refreshing yet boozefully delightful Spanish Fly – and Fortaleza is one of my favorite tequilas. If you’re feeling like an aperitif, go with their off-menu Virgil’s Ascent, a not-so-ordinary Negroni made with Hendricks, Aperol, pomegranate seeds and orange clove nectar. I love that all the cocktails were personalized to M.B. Post with the use natural fruits while still paying proper homage to the classics by being great stand-alone cocktails.
All of the vegetable dishes that we ordered were exceptional, from the Blistering Green Beans with Thai basil, chili sauce and crispy pork to the Yellow Cauliflower with sultanas, mint and caper berries. They also weren’t just roasted iron dishes brought out with different vegetables, but they were all individually constructed dishes, very thoughtfully seasoned with unique flavorings. Enjoy them before or with your seafood and/or meat dishes, because while I have yet to try their fish and shrimp plates, I can vouch that the Steamed Green Curry Mussels are pretty much as solid as others I’ve had elsewhere. While it’s probably more betraying of which piece of the food pie I’m partial to, I thought the meat dishes were the real highlights.
Such as the Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Jowl atop a green papaya salad. So tender and flavorful, this pork part is a must-order. The Meyers Farm “Never Ever” Skirt Steak is seasoned with a delicious red chimichurri sauce and comesÂ accompanied byÂ grilled broccolini. It’s got that perfect pink center and it’s as unordinary a skirt steak as I’ve had in recent memory. But don’t forget the Moroccan BBQ Lamb Belly with creamy semolina and cardamom carrots. And if you’re lucky enoughÂ to visit while Chef LeFevre still has the Albondigas on the menu, don’t forget those, either. (Bring your people.) It comes glazed with maple miso on top of garnet yam puree – perfectly delicious compliments -Â and the shishito peppers that top the meatballs make for a slightly spicyÂ garnish.
As far as dessert, there are just enough offerings to satisfy that sweet tooth (admittedly, mine borders on savory), with my personal favorite, the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, coming in a sealed jar. But if you love all desserts Elvis, you’re sure to order this “wonderful mess” of peanut butter mousse, carmelized banana, chocolate pudding and bacon brittle. It’s the closest thing to that heavenly Wolvesmouth dessert since I’ve been.
M.B. Post wins as my favorite gastropub in South Bay – and dare I say, even all of L.A. Though I’m loath to let trends (yes, communal dining exists here too)Â filter through my radar, there’s no mistake that I immensely enjoyed practically everything Chef David LeFevre sent out of the kitchen. Then again, is it still a gastropub if there are only two draught beers on tap? To me, it’s not a weakness. It’s indicative of focus. So the end-all is that we can throw away the labels. I have no qualms about calling M.B. Post simply a great place that serves great small plates.
All food and cocktails were hosted.
Sun – Thur
5 – 10 PM
Fri – Sat
5 – 11 PM
M.B. Post 1142 Manhattan Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 310.545.5405
Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach, where you can order LA Weekly’s Best Classic Margarita of 2009, will also be the site for an inaugural “Toma Tequila” Mixology Contest. Amateurs will compete for the grand prize of a $250 gift certificate to the restaurant, an editorial feature in Mutineer Magazine and, of course, have their winning recipe on Ortega 120’s cocktail menu alongside Chef Thomas Ortega’s imaginative dishes.
No professionals allowed – only amateurs are eligible to compete. To enter, submit your best tequila-infused recipe. Judges will narrow it down to a final three, which will have been chosen on a set criteria: taste, creativity, visual presentation and mixology practicality. And you should be excited (or intimidated) to find out who the judges are, including Ortega 120’s Demi Stevens, Mutineer Magazine Editor-in-Chief Alan Kropf, Carole Dixon of FEAST LA, Hadley Tomicky of Grub Street LA and Josh Lurie of Food GPS. Selected finalists will compete live at the restaurant on the evening of May 3rd.
Other events going on at Ortega 120 for that week include:
Sunday, May 2 â€“ Sister Cities International Charity Fundraiser Monday, May 3 â€“ Ortega 120 â€œToma Tequilaâ€ Mixology Competition Finals Tuesday, May 4 â€“ Tequila University Wednesday, May 5 â€“ Cinco de Mayo Grand Fiesta with folklorico dancers
This weekend, Hudson House in Redondo Beach turns one. To toast the occasion, the also-owners of Beechwood in Venice will be welcoming all who wish to help celebrate with a complimentary Hudson Ale or a Blood Orange Chinaco Tequila Cocktail on Sunday. You can also expect complimentary bar bites to accompany your free drink. Win logoed Hudson House apparel while you’re there. And live music from a local DJ will entertain guests all evening – so groove along in your seat or start up your own dance floor – no one will mind.
A party with a free drink and free food? If you’re in the South Bay, you’d be remiss to snooze on this one.
Sunday, March 14th
4 PM – Close
Hudson House 514 North Pacific Coast Hwy Redondo Beach, CA 90277 310.798.9183
Los Angeles is a perfect city in which to eat – whether it entails having access to the cuisines of countless ethnicities or healthful options that honor our moral obligations. There’s a tricky thing, however, about desserts for vegans – most of which incorporate butters, understandably, into their recipes. LA vegans have reason to rejoice, though, with ever more plentiful options to get their sweet tooth on around town:
Kiss My Bundt (Mid-Town)
Kiss My Bundt offers vegan red velvet on Fridays and Saturdays as well as vegan chocolate on Saturdays. They may be vegan, but they certainly don’t look nor taste like they’re in shortage of any sort of ingredient. Incredibly moist and delicious, the red velvet will never let on what you’re missing…it’ll be a secret between you and your bundt. And if you’d like a sizeable order (6 mini-bundts or more), the vegan bundts are available any time of the week. What are you waiting for?
The Bakery at Akasha has a few options available for vegans at their storefront. Pick from chocolate cupcakes, tarts and cookies – or go for their meyer lemon scone. If you’re seeing a movie across the street, best come early and buy a few treats to sneak into the theatre – it sure beats the $8 popcorn at the concession stand!
Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Ganache Glaze & Vanilla Icing – $3.25 ea Salty Chocolate Pecan Tart and Rustic Apple Tart – $4.75 ea Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle Cookies – $1.50 ea Meyer Lemon Scones – $2.50 ea
Bakery at Akasha 9543 Culver Boulevard Culver City, CA 90232-2618 310.845.1700
Babycakes (Downtown Los Angeles)
Los Angeles vegans rejoiced when Babycakes came toÂ us from New York – to set up shopÂ in the historic Pacific Electric lofts downtown. Not only could you get a french dip at Cole’s and a cocktail at The Varnish – you could also get dessert nearby. There are a lot of vegan options here (loaf? cookie sandwich? macaroon?)Â with a variety of flavors:
Vanilla Cupcake with Zesty Lemon Frosting – $4.25 Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf – $3.65/slice (Check the recipe from Glutenfreebird.com) Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Sandwich with Vanilla Filling – $5.00 Cinnamon & Sugar Toasties – $3.75/slice Vanilla Macaroons – $1.50 each
Babycakes 130 E. 6th St. (between Main & Los Angeles) Los Angeles, CA 90014 213.623.5555
It’s Tuesday and there’s no better day of the week than to go looking for a place to take that cheap date. Nah … not really (tacky!), but if you and your buddies are jonesin’ for tacos with sit-down service, look no further. There are plenty of options around town – venues serving up a ton of different kinds at taco stand prices. Go ahead – try a different one each week to see how the tacos stack against each other.
Hudson House – $1.00 each
Dubbed “All You Can Eat Street Tacos” – just because they’re so cheap – a couple varieties are being offered by Hudson House. Prime placement for all South Bay dwellers, the resto will serve up Pollo braised with lime and tequila or Confit-style pork carnitas with creamy avocado sauce, diced onions and chopped cilantro. They’re served with charred tomato salsa, limes and fried serrano chiles. And don’t forget the drink specials with which to wash down your eats: Score a 7 oz. Pacifico or Tecate for $2.00 each or a Mexico Mule (Tequila, Ginger Beer, Grapefruit and Lime) for $5.00.
Hudson House 514 N. Pacific Coast Highway Redondo Beach, CA 90277 310.798.9183
Spanish Kitchen – $2.00 each
One of the most visible spots the West Hollywood end of La Cienega, The Spanish Kitchen offers not only a whole slew of taco choices but salsas to match … or not. Choose from Grilled shrimp pesto, Beer-battered mahi, Grilled blackened salmon and Mexico BBQ pulled pork tacos. You even get to choose the kind of shell (hard or soft) your taco is served in and over 12 salsas to mix and match (Suiza blanco, Tequila lobster, Mole negro and more). These tacos are served family style so be don’t be bashful – order as many as your heart desires the first time around! It’s a party.