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Tammie’s Corner House Cafe was literally 1 block from the place I rented in Hermosa, so I had to try it for lunch. It is a great breakfast destination since I saw a line of people waiting for a seat on Sunday afternoon when I arrived at the beach (it also helps that it is one block from the sand). The owner and waitress were both very welcoming and friendly and they give the place a personal friendly vibe befitting a casual beach cafe. Several of the other people were regulars, and I met the family at the next table because we wanted to order the same items. The cute flower boxes lining the patio area also added to the nice ambiance.
I chose the grilled chicken salad for $9.95. Tammie explained that they are known for their huge portions and it was a massive plate, nearly 12 inches wide! The vegetables were done with balsamic, but a bit overdone, as was the dressing. The garlic bread was nicely done and gave me something to soak up the extra dressing with as I enjoyed the generous chicken breast pieces. This was a pleasant healthy plate, not very well executed or extraordinary, but for the service, price, and location, it is outstanding. The breakfast items looked much better, with nearby plates of pancakes, eggs & chorizo, and muffins, all enticing me to try breakfast instead of lunch. The service was so nice I am inclined to come back if I can wake up and get here early enough to want breakfast.

Tammie's Corner House Cafe on Urbanspoon

Abigaile has only been in its present location since February and I hope it maintains its presence as a twinkling gastronomic star in a sleepy beach town. it is packed on week-ends, but since it was a weekday, the place was nearly empty. Happy Hour is from 4-7 and their house made infusions, wines, and small plates are all reduced prices. I asked the bartender if the Penelope house infusion was sweet and he said it was the least sweet and he would go lightly on the agave for me, so I tried this house infused serrano chile herradura, fresh grapefruit juice, agave nectar, basil libation for $9 ($11 non happy hour). It was as spicy as advertised, and I’m glad the bartender Justin made it less sweet for me. I would opt for the house Pinot Noir next time, but I’m glad I tried a house specialty drink.
This place might be beer drinker heaven. They actually brew their own beer on the premises and offer five varieties of home made craft beers as well as a full page menu of other beers and ales for true connoisseurs.
Having the brewing equipment onsite makes the entrance to the place stunning.
I’m glad that I asked before ordering several plates because just the salt and pepper prawns with XO pea tendrils and garlic chips ($13 during happy hour $15 other times) was a complete meal for me. It was the best plate I ate during my entire stay at the beach. It was so good that I will make the 15 mile drive from Los Angeles just to come back and eat this dish! There were so many other things I wanted to try on the menu; they have bone marrow, Peruvian Hamachi Tiradito, local forage mushroom polenta, pao de queijo (Brazilian cheesy puffs), 24 hour braised oxtail ragu, and tempura Blue Lake green beans. With a menu like this, I need to invite an entire city of foodies to taste it with me.
P.S. I went back on a Saturday when they have their special porchetta with kale salad and it is definitely worth making a trip to the beach on a Saturday just to eat this unctuous tender meat treat (and yes the skin was the best part)!
Let’s create a Foodie City, where every day is a delicious adventure!

Abigaile and Ocean Bar on Urbanspoon

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Zazou, in Redondo Beach, was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in the South Bay, and one my first night back, I decided to go with a place I knew, even if it had changed. I chose the 8 hour braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach for $29. It was a beautiful LARGE plate and I looked forward to my first taste, but unfortunately the meat was not as tender as an eight hour braise should have made it. The flavors were good, not outstanding, but a decent blend of reduced beef stock. The fresh spinach saute and potatoes were both fine side dishes and the carrots and onions from the braising liquid added a nice textural component to this dish. This plate was so large, I could only eat half of it! My waitress was so wonderful she laughed when she asked if I wanted dessert, seeing I had left so much of my main course on the plate. I told her no dessert, but a decaf espresso would be great.
The decaf espresso was great, with perfect crema and made with excellent Lavazza beans.

Zazou on Urbanspoon

I went to Paciugo Gelato, in Hermosa Beach, for my dessert since it gave me time to drop off my leftovers and walk off some of my dinner. I love gelato and to have a place in Hermosa that does it well was one of the changes I loved finding in my old hometown. A small cone or cup can hold up to three flavors for under $5, with exotic options like strawberry lavender, wedding cake, and black pepper olive oil, you can chose something new or in my case, two old flavors, like coconut chocolate rum and extra dark chocolate. The perfect way to end a day is with a stroll along the beach and a cone of excellent gelato!

Paciugo Gelato Caffe on Urbanspoon

A new day meant finding a great coffee place to start my day and it looked like Two Guns Espresso in Manhattan Beach was THE place to get something called a “Flat White”. They use 3 shots of espresso and 6 oz of steamed milk (I got soy) for this smooth nonfrothy drink. I loved it. I especially loved the friendly baristas and the fact that they use Caffe Vita beans from Seattle which emphasize Fair Trade and Organic beans. If you frequent the area (or their shop) get a frequent user card and get a free drink after buying nine. The first Tuesday of every month is Ducati night when you can  drink free coffee as you peruse the latest models of this classic Italian motorcycle.

Two Guns Espresso + Coffee on Urbanspoon

After my Flat White at Two Guns Espresso, I really didn’t need anymore espresso, so even though they had organic coffees and teas, I opted for a light but sustaining breakfast, so I went to Planet Earth in Hermosa. I chose their house made granola with soy milk for $5.95. It was delicious, with bits of dried unsulfured apricots, cherries, coconut, and almonds. They have plenty of options for vegans, those who are dairy or gluten sensitive, and anyone who wants their food to be organic, free trade, and home made. The only drawback to the place is that they are so disorganized they had trouble keeping up with orders and ran out of ingredients like bananas for my granola by 10 am. One customer waited 20 minutes for eggs, another waited 10 minutes for a quinoa bowl. Since most people don’t have the luxury of time for breakfast, especially on a weekday, they need to work on their executions and supplies so their mises (preparation of their ingredients for the dishes) are en place (ready). No matter how good their intentions and supplies, they will not survive without better organization.

Planet Earth Coffee and Tea on Urbanspoon        More Beach Bites tomorrow 🙂
I lived in Hermosa Beach for two years and moved away back to the “Inner City” of Los Angeles because I went to the beach maybe three times in those two years. Something about having the beach at my disposition disposes me to take it for granted. Since it’s been a few years since I’ve actually taken advantage of being at the beach, I decided to rent a room for only $77 per night from AirBnB in my former home town, proving that you can indeed go home again, even though it may not be exactly the same home you left.I stayed over a Sunday and Monday night, so I had practically the entire beach to myself.

The room I rented included full use of the immaculate kitchen, a BBQ, a covered parking space, and wifi. The owner, Todd, provided all the towels, linens, and even beach chairs!

There was even a large dining room off one of the three patios.
The house itself was on three levels, with a living room and loft/office space with a pinball machine that had a wonderful deck.
The top level had a nice couch with panoramic views of the ocean two blocks away and a large patio (hammock use optional).
This was the view from the top level office/deck space.
I had my own spacious room with small patio, full bathroom, walk-in closet, and flat screen tv. The room was so comfortable I could have stayed in it all day if the beach didn’t beckon.
The beach was the entire reason for my stay, so I spent my days on the soft white sand, reading, napping, and trying to decide where to eat:)

Since we went to Venice yesterday, how about going to Hermosa* today?

The Beach House is an upscale, luxurious, and romantic getaway right on the beach. There are fireplaces in every room, balconies, and if you book a room with a view, the beach is your living room artwork. The rooms are a bit small, but considering you are staying literally on the sand, consider that your room is only for resting in between your outings to the town and seaside. They serve a complimentary continental breakfast, and their concierge can help you with any other reservations, from bicycle rentals (there is a bike path up and down the coast right next to the beach) to spa services.

If you want a touch of extravagance close to home, take a drive down to Hermosa and spend a few nights enjoying what other people fly thousands of miles to experience. Living like a jet setter without having to pay for a jet (or having to get over jet lag) is the best way to live.

*For more about things to do in Hermosa Beach see my earlier post.

>Since we went to Venice yesterday, how about going to Hermosa* today?

The Beach House is an upscale, luxurious, and romantic getaway right on the beach. There are fireplaces in every room, balconies, and if you book a room with a view, the beach is your living room artwork. The rooms are a bit small, but considering you are staying literally on the sand, consider that your room is only for resting in between your outings to the town and seaside. They serve a complimentary continental breakfast, and their concierge can help you with any other reservations, from bicycle rentals (there is a bike path up and down the coast right next to the beach) to spa services.

If you want a touch of extravagance close to home, take a drive down to Hermosa and spend a few nights enjoying what other people fly thousands of miles to experience. Living like a jet setter without having to pay for a jet (or having to get over jet lag) is the best way to live.

*For more about things to do in Hermosa Beach see my earlier post.

A Beach Therapy session is where you spend the day enjoying the beauty of the beach, reading, snoozing, listening to music (with earphones) or meditating. Pick a beach, any beach, then head out and leave all your chores and worries behind.

My favorite beach in Southern California is Hermosa Beach for its’ small town feel (and the fact that I used to live there). I like beaches with on site toilet facilities, shops to get food, drinks, sunscreen, and accessible parking (where I won’t get run over or ticketed trying to park). Another one I like is across from Chautauqua Blvd. in Pacific Palisades; parking there is harder to find, but the peaceful beach is worth the hunt.

Beach Therapy may be the most natural original therapy; my favorite therapist is on Motu Tapu where there are no facilities or inhabitants except the sand crabs and fish….

>A Beach Therapy session is where you spend the day enjoying the beauty of the beach, reading, snoozing, listening to music (with earphones) or meditating. Pick a beach, any beach, then head out and leave all your chores and worries behind.

My favorite beach in Southern California is Hermosa Beach for its’ small town feel (and the fact that I used to live there). I like beaches with on site toilet facilities, shops to get food, drinks, sunscreen, and accessible parking (where I won’t get run over or ticketed trying to park). Another one I like is across from Chautauqua Blvd. in Pacific Palisades; parking there is harder to find, but the peaceful beach is worth the hunt.

Beach Therapy may be the most natural original therapy; my favorite therapist is on Motu Tapu where there are no facilities or inhabitants except the sand crabs and fish….

Laughter is good medicine, but you don’t have to be sick to laugh. One of my favorite ways to lift my spirits and have some fun is to watch a good comedy. Jeff Dunham is my favorite comedian. Jeff is a ventriloquist who works with puppets he makes himself. His DVD “Arguing with Myself” always makes me laugh; my favorite character is Walter. Walter is like every crabby old person you have ever known (maybe I am getting crabbier in my old age and Walter reminds me of myself). Jeff won as the best comedian of Comedy Central this year, so if you haven’t seen him, go to his website and watch a clip of him with Walter or Peanut. I promise it will leave you laughing and wanting more. Be sure to watch the bonus features on his DVDs which have deleted scenes from his taped show that are as fun and funny as the featured bits. I think the funniest segment is when two of his puppets are speaking in Spanish and Jeff says he feels left out because he doesn’t speak the language. It is comedy at its’ best because you forget the puppets are actually Jeff arguing with himself! He tours nationwide, but until he comes to your city, buy, rent or borrow one of his DVDs.

When I want to see live comedy I like going to Hermosa Beach’s “Comedy and Magic Club“. It is where many famous comics go to practice their material before performing in bigger venues. Tim Allen and Jerry both performed here regularly before they got their own shows, and Jay Leno is still a frequent headliner here. The smaller venue makes every seat a good one and makes it feel more like a private club than a big stage. You can eat here and get a better seat for the show, or simply come in for the show if you prefer one of the better restaurants in the area. Unlike the Improv or the Comedy Store, this is a showcase for the one person performing, so check out the schedule to be sure someone you like is playing the night you want to go.

May all your times be funny and fun.

>Laughter is good medicine, but you don’t have to be sick to laugh. One of my favorite ways to lift my spirits and have some fun is to watch a good comedy. Jeff Dunham is my favorite comedian. Jeff is a ventriloquist who works with puppets he makes himself. His DVD “Arguing with Myself” always makes me laugh; my favorite character is Walter. Walter is like every crabby old person you have ever known (maybe I am getting crabbier in my old age and Walter reminds me of myself). Jeff won as the best comedian of Comedy Central this year, so if you haven’t seen him, go to his website and watch a clip of him with Walter or Peanut. I promise it will leave you laughing and wanting more. Be sure to watch the bonus features on his DVDs which have deleted scenes from his taped show that are as fun and funny as the featured bits. I think the funniest segment is when two of his puppets are speaking in Spanish and Jeff says he feels left out because he doesn’t speak the language. It is comedy at its’ best because you forget the puppets are actually Jeff arguing with himself! He tours nationwide, but until he comes to your city, buy, rent or borrow one of his DVDs.

When I want to see live comedy I like going to Hermosa Beach’s “Comedy and Magic Club“. It is where many famous comics go to practice their material before performing in bigger venues. Tim Allen and Jerry both performed here regularly before they got their own shows, and Jay Leno is still a frequent headliner here. The smaller venue makes every seat a good one and makes it feel more like a private club than a big stage. You can eat here and get a better seat for the show, or simply come in for the show if you prefer one of the better restaurants in the area. Unlike the Improv or the Comedy Store, this is a showcase for the one person performing, so check out the schedule to be sure someone you like is playing the night you want to go.

May all your times be funny and fun.

I used to live in Hermosa Beach. I think everyone should live at the beach at least for a year of their life, just like owning a convertible, it’s one of those experiences that is necessary to the experience of life. Sometime once is enough and sometimes it isn’t, but either way you can always go back to visit and act like a native.

I recently went back to Hermosa Beach right before sunset and strolled around Hermosa Avenue, noting with nostalgia all the places that had changed or were simply gone, all the while noting with pleasure that some places are still there after nearly twenty years.

Greeko’s is still there (and has been since 1990) selling hippie hemp wallets, sandals and smoking paraphernalia. It’s like time never moved inside the store full of tie-dyed clothes and incense.

Hennessey’s tavern is still where it was at the end of the Pier, but with an upgraded sundeck giving a spectacular view of the beach. Still great for drinks and burgers.

Across the pier, there is the Cantina Real with great Margaritas. A good breakfast can be had at the Cafe Bonaparte bakery/cafe right next door.

A new addition is Mediterraneo with great drinks like the Helvis (a spicy peppery martini) and a good happy hour special of tapas (but be careful what you order – I had half cooked shrimp and over cooked lamb skewers).

There is a convenient new parking lot next to the pier and a bike path along the beach for those who want to work off their drinks and food with some exercise. Maybe you can’t go home again, but you can make visiting Hermosa a happy habit.

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