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Finding a great French pâtisserie in Los Angeles near the beach is equivalent to finding a gold nugget in the sand, but I did! Desserts by Patrick in Redondo Beach is a French jewel sparkling with colorful gelato flavors, light airy meringues that melt in your mouth, and pastries ranging from chocolate ganache to raspberry pistachio cakes. Everything is made by Patrick, who is usually behind the counter baking or making the gorgeous offerings while listening to Radio Monaco as he works. He’s been here 3 years, but coming from France, he’s been working at his craft since he was a teenager, so the deft skills honed over years of practice, can be tasted in every bite of his handiwork.

Stepping into his small shop, you could imagine it is in the South of France near the sea, with classics in the cases that are sometimes empty from the locals who have come in for sweet treats. I’ve learned to go early and buy more than one thing to be sure I always have something sweet to give or share.

The flavors of the gelato and macarons change, but I bet that you will find at least a few that will tempt you.

My favorite is coconut sorbet, so I always get that if it is available, but if I don’t mind spoiling my next meal, I would combine it with a decadent chocolate 🙂

I shared some macarons with someone who had never had good ones; chocolate, lemon, caramel, and rose. She declared that she decided she liked macarons after tasting these 🙂 Patrick was experimenting with peanut butter and I got one later to give to a peanut butter fan who wondered why I only got one!

During a week of 100+F I had to transport dessert with my car air-conditioning on high, but even so, some of the filling from the salted caramel melted onto the other desserts…still delicious, but a bit messy! The delicate meringue stars are like puffy clouds that melt in your mouth, and because they are made with egg whites, they are good for you 🙂

Depending on the day and time of day that you visit, the case may be more or less empty, so plan accordingly for more choices.

Probably my favorite dessert is the chocolate ganache, which was a bit smushed during transport, but tasted like rich chocolate heaven. I especially appreciated the use of great chocolate and restraint in the amount of sugar used.

The Napoleon used a vanilla custard that was so good I actually enjoyed it as much as the flaky layers.

One of the days I went later in the afternoon, the only chocolate left were these two éclairs, so I *had* to settle for them.

If you want to be sure you have enough dessert on hand, you can take home an entire cake, like this Red one:)

For fans of non-chocolate desserts, I highly recommend the raspberry and pistachio Emeraude, with light layers and the perfect balance of textures and flavors that are as beautiful as the design.

Hmmm it’s lunch time….I may have to have dessert first if it is made by Patrick!

After watching the entire season of Samurai Gourmet on Netflix, I was craving Japanese food, but I did not want to deal with the jet lag of actually going to Japan 🙂
Luckily, Kagura is walking distance. Not only is their service and decor serene and welcoming, but their food is prepared with care and skill befitting the quality ingredients they serve. Even the salad served with the set gozen meals had a perfect dressing over fresh mixed baby greens that whet my appetite for the meal. Most lunch meals also include miso soup and your choice of white or brown rice for around $20, not including tax and tip.

Since they are famous for their Kurobuta pork tonkatsu, I ordered the loin and was so happy with my first bite of the crunchy exterior and moist interior that I used the sauce sparingly, savoring the pure flavor of quality meat. All the small side dishes enhanced the main attraction, and somehow I ate nearly the entire meal! I was pleasantly full but not stuffed with the various textures, tastes, and contrasts of the set meal.

A close up of the pork loin tonkatsu that was the most perfect I’ve ever eaten (disclaimer: I have never traveled to Japan so I can only compare to other restaurants in the US).

On a second visit, I ordered the mackerel and was thrilled to have it perfectly cooked, again with a nice assortment of side dishes that varied only slightly from my previous visit. They also serve black cod and hamachi collar options in their gozen choices.

On my most recent visit, I wanted tempura, so I ordered the hot buckwheat noodles combination for under $15. This set meal was so filling I could not finish it, but I did manage to eat about 80% of it 🙂 As with the pork tonkatsu, the tempura was so light and crisp while retaining the moist interior of the ingredients that it was nearly addictive #JustOneMoreBite…..

They have a happy hour with specials on their beer and rolls, which I will likely go to one day, if I can wait until after lunch to satisfy my Japanese food craving:)

Loving food and living in Los Angeles for most of my life, there are a few chefs I have followed as they have moved around town. Some of my favorite places are the ones where a chef left the steady income of a big name brand to open a smaller, more personal, and casual place where they can showcase their talents without anyone reining them inside a certain kind of menu. The risk for doing what they love means their wallets will pay if the gamble with the public palate craps out, but after years and sometimes decades at the helm, hopefully the sixth sense of balancing creativity with cash flow comes as second nature, and they find their groove with their groupies.

Lunetta and Lunetta All Day share a kitchen and the captain at the helm is Raphael Lunetta with some partners who know food. I loved JiRaffe, and I have enjoyed his skills at Broadway Deli and Patina over the years, but Lunetta All Day may be my favorite iteration to date of the mélange of Mediterranean sensibility with Californian cuisine. Even the decor reminds me of the seaside cafés in the South of France, so of course I started with a nice glass of vinho verde for $6 during an afternoon Happy Hour.

There is a small but inviting outdoor patio with a small nook, providing outdoor dining when the temperature permits (which is most days in Southern California).

I came for the octopus tacos $9 for two, and they did not disappoint with tender morsels and good vegetables. Of course I also added hot sauce, and of course, they had three options 🙂

I was invited to an evening tasting of their new summer menu at Lunetta and enjoyed the meatballs for $16 so much that when I came back with a friend for lunch I raved about them, so she ordered them and literally cleaned her plate! This side salad came with the tender meatballs on creamy polenta, so it was a hearty but balanced meal.

I was going to order the grilled fish until I learned that it was salmon…so disappointed that even in California, Americans will eat salmon, but rarely eat any other fish. I understand restaurants can’t stock fish no one orders, so please EVERYONE in the USA, order a fish besides salmon and tuna!!!!! I beg you!!!! Try one that has a head and tail, that is NOT tilapia! Ok tirade over….so instead I ordered the tuna Niçoise which was delightful for $18.50 and came with a salad on the side like the meatballs!  The tuna was seasoned correctly, and I loved the farm egg with the rich yolk, cooked to perfection! I was carrying my French gray salt so I added some to my salad for the extra oomph I love, but I think most people would enjoy it was it was served.

We saved room for dessert and we were eying the table next to us eating the lemon ricotta pancakes (yes for lunch), so we ordered a brownie $3.25 and one pancake $5.25 with blueberry butter and maple syrup as a dessert 🙂

We discovered the brownie had chocolate chunks in it!!!!!Surprise hidden treasure of decadent richness that was just the right amount of sweetness. Spending time with a good friend is always a sweet experience, but sharing a meal together at Lunetta All Day made it a mini vacation to the mediterranean 🙂

When an Italian insists on taking you to coffee, please indulge them and let them pick the spot! My sweet 89 year old ex-neighbor from Palos Verdes drove me to Caffe Tre Venezie in Torrance and treated me to a cappuccino and hazelnut gelato as she recounted all the fun she had on her birthday with her daughters. She has become a regular at this small cafe and she conversed in Italian with the owner about the coffee they use in the cafe compared to the one she buys; in the end they both agreed that both brands were good choices:)

 

Regent Coffee in Glendale roasts their own beans, and they offer personal pour over coffee packets, as well as the usual assortment of espresso drinks.

Two Guns has opened up several locations around the South Bay, and luckily for me the one closest to me has a full menu and delicious bites like this one that may be my favorite cinnamon roll, with flakey exterior and croissant like interior wound around layers of cinnamon.

My favorite local coffee is the flat white with organic milk at Blue Butterfly, where I am now a regular, enjoying the art on the walls inside, as much as the perfect people watching front sidewalk, and the patio in the back with a tiny fountain. The day when they greet me by name, I know that I will have officially become a local 🙂

The perfect French Belgian fry is the epitome of fried food expertise. Sadly today’s post does not include that example, because it’s been so long since I’ve had a perfect one. If you have eaten great fries in Los Angeles, please comment and tell me where you found yours! Ideally double fried in duck fat, medium thickness, and generously salted 🙂

I have found a great Apple Fritter, with lots of extra crunchy nooks and crannies, and enough bits of apple that you don’t have to wonder if it is simply fried dough. Best Donuts is open 24 hours, so if you are near Hermosa Beach, or on your way from or to LAX, this is an easy stop on PCH and Artesia.

@Jean_de_Paradis calls onion rings the “popcorn of vegetables” and I ate this “side dish” at Rock and Brew Redondo Beach, as my dinner one afternoon with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Technically I guess I had a vegetarian dinner, right?

Of course since I’m an omnivore, I had to get some fried chicken at Honey’s Kettle in Culver City to take home. Their crispy hot wings are my favorite but they ran out of the hot sauce, so I “settled” for their family sized whole chicken so that I would have leftovers (they reheat beautifully in your oven).

After watching the incredibly entertaining and fun movie Ocean’s 8 at the South Bay Galleria, I drove a block away for some falafels in a veggie bowl filled with salad and fried zucchini on top of brown rice at King Mediterrano. The tiny counter operation has a nice outdoor seating area, or you can take the food to go, which is a great idea in light of the large portions at prices that make their healthy options comparable to fast food chain prices.

After all this fried food, I will go back to eating my usual menu of grilled, sautéed, baked, and braised food, but variety is the cornerstone of balance, and I needed a few fun fried treats to balance out all my sensible eating 🙂

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