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I love places that offer Happy Hour Specials everyday, especially ones that last 3 hours everyday! Happy Hour at The Six is from 3-6pm everyday, and their selections range from hearty to healthy with your choice of drinks ranging from $5-8 for both drinks and bites.

The roasted beets come in two colors, served on arugula with fennel, goat cheese, and hazelnuts in a balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is big enough to share or as a full meal for anyone who loves beets.

The garden salad repeats some of the same ingredients like the goat cheese and fennel, but then adds roasted pine nuts, carrots, radishes, and comes with a Dijon vinaigrette.

Their buffalo cauliflower is surprisingly spicy, with a thick fried coating that made the vegetable appetizer a very hearty choice. You will definitely be needing the ranch dressing to cool down your mouth if you are not a hot spice veteran.

My favorite happy hour bites are the turkey sloppy Joe sliders which come with a fried pickle and are served on mini brioche buns. The portobello mushroom and bell pepper mixed in with the ground turkey add a nice lightness to the sloppy Joe, yet it is definitely comfort food that will satiate a hunger without weighing you down.

Always nice to have an option when traffic at the intersection of the 405 and 10 Freeways becomes a parking lot in the afternoon; better to be sitting at The Six than sitting in your car for 3 hours!

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Trying to find a Japanese place to eat that is open in those hours between lunch and dinner is a challenge in every city; Japanese restaurants are one of the few who actually close between service here and worldwide. I did a search for nearby places that were open and luckily found Harajuku Taproom nearby. They have not been open long, but from what I’ve tried, and from what seems to be a steady local clientele, they will have an appreciative audience.

The variety of pickles was a good indication of the rest of the menu at this craft sake and beer place where the emphasis is on quality and uniqueness, e.g., one of the pickles was pickled eggplant!

The miso glazed sirloin steak was tender and one bite told you that they used quality meat.

Their impossible gyoza are house made with a ginger sauce, and they were addictive.

I like miso, so the eggplant with miso glaze was the next choice and a great way to eat your vegetables!

A beautiful way to tempt your taste buds is to order the shiitake with soy and the asparagus with lemon.

We also tried the chicken breast with yuzu pepper, but we at it all before I could snap a picture 🙂 The only misstep of the evening was the tempura ice cream which had to be redone and still came out looking like a sad child’s painting with a coating that wasn’t nearly crisp enough.

The service more than made up for the dessert, with one of our servers, Gregory, having lived 6 years in Japan, he presented each dish with proper pronounciation and traditional manners; something appreciated by everyone whether they speak Japanese or not. 

Make a reservation, or go for happy hour before this neighborhood gem becomes so popular that you will have to wait in line to get inside.

Having guests come to visit makes me actually go visit the beautiful beaches in my backyard. Hermosa Beach is 5 miles from where I live and I know some active fit people who walk, bike, or skate along the paved path from Dockweiler Beach to the Pier in Hermosa and back. Decades ago, I used to bike it, but these days I drive it 🙂

Hermosa Beach Pier is completely pedestrian and lined with bars, restaurants, and a few shops.

 Once the sun sets, the lights go on and it begins to look like a movie set:)

Sunset signals time for Happy Hour, and Abigaile is the local brewery and gastropub that is my go to spot in Hermosa. I wrote a blog post about them back in 2012, when I stayed in Hermosa for a staycation, and I’ve been back since, but it was fun to introduce new people to Abigaile. Happy Hour is 5-7pm and we came for the food, but as a warning to beer lovers, they are upgrading their equipment right now, so their selection of brews is limited at the moment.

 Their menu changes often, but if you see French dip on it, order it!

 

 

 The loaded tots with sunnyside egg on top is messy and fun to share.

Mole nachos had a nice depth of flavor that made my meat loving friends think the chicken was beef!

We took a short walk back to the Pier after eating, and got a gorgeous sky send off before we drove away.

Happy Hours are some of my favorite times of the day; in a Venn diagram it is the sweet center spot.

 

I’ve written about a few of my favorite places in previous posts, so today’s post is an addendum of some places where I have gone, but are not on my rotation of frequent visits, either because of location, or selections.

Salt Creek Grille has several locations scattered throughout Southern California, and they feature very comfortable and chic decor, with a varied menu Happy Hour is M-F in the bar and lounge from 4-6:30 pm. Choices range from $6 for chips to this $11 plate of mesquite grilled baby back ribs with cole slaw and Asiago garlic fries. The meat was tender and the BBQ sauce was sweet but not over done, and the fries were nicely done, although I could have done without the sprinkling of asiago.

It was a good deal for the food, but I didn’t care for the Paloma, a beautifully presented drink with a candied grapefruit rind, but so sweet it was like drinking dessert. I would have opted for a martini but they make theirs with Tito’s and it’s not a brand I like. Ah well, I think I will just have wine next time.

Local Kitchen in Torrance is a family friendly sports bar that delivers all that you would expect from a neighborhood place, including huge portions, and a large selection of beers. I love their yardbird salad, so I went in one day during happy hour, which is 3-6 pm everyday at the bar for their wings at $7.50. It was a HUGE portion, definitely enough to share with 2 or 3 people. They have a decent selection of wines, but go for one of their beers on draft here, like the Smog City IPA.

Abigaile in Hermosa serves some of the best bar food in the South Bay, and their happy hour M-F from 5-7 pm is their testing menu for food that may or may not make it to the main menu. The menu changes constantly, but if you see the French dip on their menu, it a worth ordering for the tender meat and rich dipping sauce that is perfectly dunkable with the pretzel bun.

Before dunking,

after dunking 🙂

The Whisper Lounge in the Grove, offers happy hour M-F 3- 6 pm, and all day on Sunday. The calamari was over fried and dry, but the short rib sliders for $8 were so good that we contemplated ordering another plate. Their wine selection has enough depth and quality to make a wine snob (like me) happy, and with happy prices $4 less than regular, my friend and I indulged in 2 glasses each:)

No matter where you are, there is bound to be an option (if not happy hour, maybe go to the gym, yoga studio, or a movie) that is better than sitting in freeway traffic for a few hours, and that alone should make you happy 🙂

Does anyone know what this is?

Are any of you fans of the TV series M*A*S*H*? Klinger’s favorite diner Tony Packo’s is famous for this! I was asked all those questions and didn’t know…so I will tell you the answer: a fried dill pickle! It was delicious! Sour, crunchy, salty, and you will definitely want more than one slice! Friends who live in the area near Old Town Torrance know this place well and had almost polished off the entire plate of ale battered fried pickles ($6.95) before I got there! They saved me one just because they love me:)

It was my first fried pickle, my first visit to Red Car Brewery, and my first Impossible Burger, a trifecta of winning experiences!

One of my friends ordered the Cobb Salad ($13.95) with balsamic and no bacon….I don’t share my friend’s palate, but the dish looked fresh. She didn’t care for the balsamic so asked for some ranch which she added to the salad…it didn’t seem to help her opinion of her meal.

Another friend ordered the grilled salmon ($17.95) with fresh vegetables which he demolished with relish.

I have been wanting to try the impossible burger, so when I saw it on the menu I had to order it! It came with coleslaw and either a salad or fries, so I opted for fries.

It was a very decent vegan burger with good taste and honestly with all the other components of the burger, it could have passed for meat. My friends thought the texture was a bit odd but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

I’m sure there will be return visits, but next time I will get there early and grab at least TWO slices of the fried pickle!

My brother from another mother, Bob, is as much of a food lover and cuisinier as I am, so when he said, let’s go to to Restoration Kitchen, I simply asked him to send me the address 🙂 Restoration kitchen opened as a wine bar, but they got so well known for their food that they are now more of a restaurant than wine bar. The owners know their wine, and when they asked me what I liked, they regretfully said, they used to stock Old World Bordeaux but it did not sell so they offered me tastes of three that they thought I might enjoy with similar flavors. They picked three nice possibilities, and I chose the last offering of a 2014 Colome Argentinian Malbec for $14. They offer flights of red or whites for $12.50-$16.50 of any wine offered by the glass. Their bottle prices are very reasonable for the quality, a 2014 Duckhorn Merlot was only $63 which is only slightly more than if you were to buy the bottle in a wine shop.

I had never been to Old Town Torrance before and I loved the small town feel with all the small businesses on walkable streets. It felt like an old town, with many places to eat, shop, and hang out within a few blocks.

Bob suggested we start with the wild mushroom flatbread, topped with arugula, fontina, mozzarella, lemon zest, and thyme for $12.50. It was a generous appetizer, shareable by more than than two, or easily a meal for one.

I chose the lamb lollipops with a basil pesto, hummus, cherry tomatoes, and flatbread for $12.50 as my main dish. They did not ask me how I wanted my lamb, but it came out a perfectly nice medium rare. I found the meat needed more sear and char, but I like the basil pesto. The hummus and flatbread were uninspired versions, but not bad either.

The hit of the evening was the crispy confit chicken leg with farro and mushrooms for $12.50, which was Bob’s favorite, but he generously shared 🙂

It was a great balance of textures, flavors, and aromas. If you only order one dish here, this should be it!

I usually don’t eat sweet desserts, but Bob could not resist the the chocolate pot de creme with toasted Swiss meringue, olive oil, and sea salt for $6.50 There was also a secret ingredient that added texture and crunch.Bob did some sleuthing with the chef and found out what it is but he was sworn to secrecy!

I think Old Town Torrance will become a regular stop on my eating and shopping itinerary:)

Los Angeles has so many food options, it would take several lifetimes to cover all the choices, changes, and cuisines, but it’s fun trying 🙂 Today’s post is on some places where I only ate one meal, but I will be returning to all three.

King’s Gastro Pub is in an alley behind Old Town in Pasadena. I walked by one day and made a mental note to come by because it has a casual dog friendly patio, live music some nights, and once a month they do a pig roast! I’m not a beer connoisseur, but if you are, they have 24 on tap, as well as a full bar, so this place should be on your radar. I came for brunch one warm Winter day; it was around 78 F in January and people were in shorts and sandals! The patio filled up quickly as we got one of the last tables for our brunch. This is a family friendly place during the day because not only were dogs on the patio, but also lots of kids, and they even have high chairs!

We decided to share an order of fish and chips. The fish was a marvelous beer battered cod and so crisp and tasty we didn’t need any sauce other than a squeeze of the lemons. The fries were addictive and we ate every single one.

We shared a very brightly Californian salad of goat cheese, carrots, spring greens, walnuts, and red onions (covered by very greasy but fresh naan which we didn’t enjoy that much). This salad could have easily been a light meal by itself. Both the fish and chips and salad were under $15 each and well worth it.

Redbird is in Vibiana, the first city’s first Catholic Cathedral, now a full service event venue. The chef/owner, Neal Fraser, has always been one of my favorites since his days at Grace (which was one of my favorite restaurants until it closed in 2010). The DineLA $25 menu was a great excuse to experience what he’s been working on lately in a stately location.

I chose the starter of chicken pot pie with hearts, thigh, thyme, hen of the woods mushrooms. It arrived in a tiny saucepan that was both functional (oven to table in one receptacle) and fun.

Underneath the flaky top was a rich filling of complex and rich root vegetables with chicken pieces that was so rich it could have been a meal in and of itself. The filling was a bit salty, so you will want to dip the top into it.

The gorgeous Wyoming Golden Trout, with sultanas, oregon hazelnuts, quinoa, spinach and brown butter was an enormous, perfectly done filet, with crispy skin, tender flesh, and interesting sides. I loved the contrasting textures of the crunchy hazelnuts, the grainy quinoa, and the soft spinach. I have no idea how I managed to eat this entire serving after the chicken pot pie, but it was so good, I couldn’t stop. I just took my time and small bites 🙂

The last stop on today’s blog post is at Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica.  Taking advantage of DineLA once again, I went for a $25 lunch. When I took a bite of the Ahi tuna tartare with lemon and olive oil on a herb pistou crostini, I smiled in delight. The  crunchy toast and the herb pistou added depth of flavor to the fresh fish with a brilliant twist on the ubiquitous appetizer.

Their famous lobster roll, offered dressed or undressed (I chose naked) on either brioche or butter lettuce (so it can be gluten-free for those who care), served with a large side of fries. The lobster was moist, warm, and already had plenty of butter, so the melted butter on the side was completely unnecessary. What can you add to lobster to make it any better? Nothing 🙂

My first Yelp Elite event* in Paris was in the neighborhood I know best, Paris’ 2nd arrondissement, but I would never have found Lockwood if not for the Yelp Community manager/organisers Elodie and Zeva, who put this event together. Meeting other people who love to eat and socialize here was fun, and even better when it’s in a place that is cozy, casual, and friendly with a great atmosphere!

The ground floor has small tables and a long communal one where people were sharing bites and drinks, but our private party was held downstairs in the cave, literally a cave that was carved out of stone walls. We had three marvelous bartenders mixing and pouring drinks which will be on their menu shortly.

This was the Ruby Caroll, a light slightly sweet drink, that would be great on a warm night.

I had the Mary Used to Smoke, and it was like a thin gazpacho with a smoky and spicy lingering taste that I enjoyed. It was an aromatic accompaniment to savory bites.

Behind the bar downstairs was a cozy lounge which was perfect for conversations with smaller groups.

We were treated to samples of their bites; Croque Monsieurs, a seared charcuterie on toast, and a tuna spread. I enjoyed all the savory bites, but the sweeter one that arrived later (that everyone demolished before I could take a picture of) was a hit with everyone except me.  I’m not really a sweet lover aside from excellent chocolate, so I’d say if you like sweet creamy foods, you would love their sweet bites.

The small lounge area behind the bar downstairs was next to their store of liquor….yes, kept behind bars and padlocked!

Definitely an address to go for drinks (they serve breakfast, lunch, and coffees too) and/or bites, when you want some place that’s unique and fun with nice service (they were swamped and still smiled)!

*Since this was a Yelp Elite event all my food and drinks were comped. Regular prices for food was between 5-8€ ($7-10), wine averaged 5€ ($7), cocktails 7-13€ ($10-16)and coffees were between 2,50-4 € ($4-7).

I have never been to Austria, but I have met Austrians (no, they were not the Von Trapps) and I like them. So when I saw Bier Beisl, which translates to “Beer Pub”, even though I do not generally drink or like beer, I wanted to try Austrian food. If the food in Austria is anything like the food at Bier Beisl, then I like Austrian food.What is more Austrian than Bratwurst and sauerkrat? Maybe some mustard on the side? Ok, it’s all here and made in house. The sauerkraut had caraway seeds and a juniper berry in it and was divine. The bratwurst was tender, juicy and unlike any bratwurst you have ever eaten from any place else in Los Angeles. All this for only $10. The two sausages and sauerkraut was plenty for me, but if you want to try more, they offer a FIVE course sausage sampler with five beers that you can try for $45.

I tried their schnitzel sampler plate for $26 because I couldn’t decide if I wanted veal, pork or turkey. After tasting all three, I still could not pick a favorite. I loved the various accompaniments, from the mustard potato salad to the cucumber salad (hidden under the turkey on the right). The lingonberries were a refreshing counterpoint to the schnitzels and every meat was juicy without being greasy, so if you have never had schnitzel, try it here and you will never accept anything less than great schnitzel (the best I’ve ever eaten was in Zurich, but this was the best I’ve ever eaten in the US).

Service can be spotty when they are busy during peak times, but everyone is friendly and does their best to be helpful. The chef has a great rapport with regulars and German speaking guests, so if you are from Austria or the region and speak some German, this could be the place to find your comfort food and have a schnapps or a bier.

BierBeisl Authentic Austrian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sometimes an intention is all that is needed when you head towards a goal. My intention was to eat lunch at a nearby place which served local or organic ingredients in creative and tasty combinations. I’ve been meaning to try Gratitude Cafe and Superba Snack Bar for quite awhile, so I simply parked on Rose and walked around figuring I would choose a place to eat lunch once I got to the area. Superba was closed and Gratitude was just a block too far to walk to in the 90 degree heat.

Serendipitiously, I ended up at Cerveteca. They have a large enclosed patio, so you can enjoy sunny Southern California beach weather even when the beach (six blocks away) is overcast.

This marvelous place serves some of the best Latin inspired food I’ve ever eaten. They use free range chicken, wild caught salmon, and organic mixed greens for their salads, so quality is paramount. The fact that they use handmade tortillas speaks volumes about how much they care about their food. It’s the equivalent of using bakery bread rather than using cellophane wrapped supermarket bread when you are making a sandwich.

Since their Happy Hour lasts from 3-7pm, you can get here earlier for drinks and appetizers before your dinner, or make your dinner from the Happy Hour menu which offers smaller bites of the menu items.

Mama’s ceviche, made with lime cured fish, tomato, cilantro, radish, jicama, mango, and cucumber for $9 at Happy Hour ($16 regularly) is a fresh citrusly medley of ingredients. We added some of the pickled relish from the table to perk it up with some jalapeno, but for those who want no heat, it is good by itself. The accompanying chips are made from the handmade tortillas, so they can be addictive.

Since we couldn’t decide whether to get the barbacoa beef or pulled pork slider, so we got one of each for $6 at Happy Hour ($14 regular). The five spiced beef was the clear winner of the two with a marvelously subtly smokey spice (but not hot) flavor.

The Baja taco was the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten. Period. For $4 at Happy Hour or $12 (for three) on the regular menu, the beer batter dipped and fried cod with slaw, crema, salsa, and aji sauce was the perfect combination of soft, crunchy, warm, creamy, and  spicy (if you add the sauce served on the side). If anyone you know does not like fish or tacos, I would bet that after a bite of this taco they would change their minds (and I’m not a gambler).

The special of the night was seared Diver scallops on a bed of Romesco sauce with grilled and raw asparagus. The scallops were perfectly seared and slightly under done, so it was almost sashimi. The Romesco sauce added a nice flavor with a counterpoint of creamy texture to the scallops and asparagus. If this is on special when you go and you like scallops, make sure you save room for this dish.

I chose the Herb and Garlic Basted Game Hen for $18, made with achiote, tomato, thyme, rosemary,  arroz ajillo, with a side (I chose the brussel sprouts with bacon), and tortilla. This game hen was one of the best versions I have ever eaten, with the skin and meat both infused with achiote and perfectly roasted. The brussel sprouts had incredible chunks of thick bacon, but it was a bit overwhelmed by the cider finish. The Arroz Ajillo was delightful, with just a hint of flavor that complimented the game hen perfectly.

Serendipity is defined as a “lucky coincidence”; I’m glad my luck was good enough to end up at Cerveteca.

Oscar's Cerveteca on Urbanspoon

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