Elise's South Bay (LA)

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EliseT
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2006/10/17 23:43:12 (permalink)

Elise's South Bay (LA)




Last week I spent a few days at my mother's in Redondo Beach. Thursday morning the glorious beach sunshine streaming into my room woke me up at 6am. I had to wait until 7 for my mom to get up so we could go out for breakfast.





Sadly, two of my home-town favorites, The Second Street Cafe and the Backburner Cafe have closed their doors. So we went to Joe's, like "Eat at Joe's". It is a cozy place frequented by "locals". The front section is individual tables, and the back room has large communal tables. They have a creative menu that borders on the whimsical. For example, you can get a "Mad Dog", which is your choice of any of the day's specials from the board served on an omelette. We ordered and I went outside to take a picture of the facade. I have done this dozens of times...my timing is flawless. But by the time I got back inside, my food was already cold and my mom was half-way finished with her pancakes. Their service is superfast. And my timing is not so flawless. I ordered the "John Wayne", which is basically huevos rancheros with home fries and sausages. It was excellent, if a little cold due to my gallavanting around.






Our waitress was friendly and perfect. My mom naturally knew someone there. As we left, he called after us, "See you in church!" and I started laughing. My mother gave me a funny look, and I said, "Maybe I am going to hell, but that is the first time anyone has ever said that to me who wasn't kidding."





We went to the farmer's market, which is right on the ocean by the pier. The produce was beautiful, and the sun was shining brightly on the water. We picked up vegetables and cheese for dinner.





Later that afternoon, I went with my friend Lori to the Ocean Diner. They have expanded since the last time I visited around 10 years ago. I had a tuna salad sandwich, which oddly contained grated carrot - welcome to L.A.!





They have fantastic baked goods there, but we were behaving ourselves. Then we went to Stats, which is a local craft store. The aisle where the Halloween decorations met the Christmas decorations had gotten mixed up, which made for some unusual tableaus, such as this one of the 3 wise men being menaced my skeletal ghouls





Friday my friend Regina and I drove into Artesia so I could pick up some Indian jewelry for my Halloween costume. We stopped in at Ambala Sweets and Snacks for my favorite treat: a samosa covered with channa masala. I like the little bits of condiments they sprinkle over it, so you get a little sweet taste, a taste of raita, or cilantro chutney in each bite.






After shopping, I dropped her off and picked up a late lunch at El Pollo Inka, a Peruvian place with spit-roasted chicken that melts in your mouth.





I have two favorite dishes there - one of them is Saltado de Camarones ("...mildly seasoned shrimp sauteed with fresh onions, ripe tomatoes and french fries..." yes, the french fries are mixed into the dish). This time I ordered Aji de Gallina ("shredded, juicy chicken in spices with bread and milk. Served with boiled potatoes and rice"). It is not the prettiest dish, but I love the strangeness of the bread sauce. I also love their green hot sauce - aji, which I eat on their bread instead of butter.





For dinner, we went to my mom's favorite restaurant - a Malaysian restaurant called Belacan Grill, "The best of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine!". We started off with Roti Canai ("Malaysian all-time favorite crispy pancake dipped in chicken curry") and Curry Puffs, which are similar to Samosas.

We ordered deep-fried crab, Beef Rendang ("Malay spicy coconut beef - very aromatic"). When the server set this dish down the first time we ordered it, he said, "Spicy hot - wow" so I call it "Spicy Hot Wow Beef", as well as some rice noodles and some String Beans. I noticed a commotion in a tank that I had not noticed earlier, and saw that giant crabs were freaking out. I suddenly felt bad for the crabs and regretted my order. I said, "Do you think they deep-fry them while they're still alive? Oh...I bet they kill them first by hammering a spike into their brain." My mom said, "I don't want to think like that." Of course once the crab arrived, I ate most of it. It's its own fault for tasting so good. Everything I have eaten at this place is beyond fantastic. I am curious about a few things on the menu we have yet to try, like Belacan Kangkong ("Stir-fried water convolvus with toasted shrimp paste"). What is a convolvus??? We went to bed that night full and happy, excited about the next day's trip...





Eat at Joe's 400 N. Pacific Coast Highway Redondo Beach 90277 (310) 376-9570

Ocean Diner 959 Aviation Blvd. Hermosa Beach 90254 Tel: (310)372-3739

Ambala Sweets 18433 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia 90701 (562) 402-0006

El Pollo Inka 1100 Pacific Coast Highway Hermosa Beach (310) 372-1433

Belacan Grill 2701 190th Street Redondo Beach (310) 370-1831

#1

24 Replies Related Threads

    ellen4641
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 00:00:12 (permalink)
    thanks for sharing , Elise!

    Enjoyed living vicarously through your "day in Redondo", espescially cause it's raining in NJ right now! a dark, gloomy night..

    I know exactly where that first pic was taken; that's Tony's in the background, right?

    I love getting homemade potato chips from a little snack stand on the fishing pier. they come in a "snowcone" type of cup, and they are still warm.
    They're like $1.50 a bag, and they remind me of how Wise potato chips USED to taste.

    I love El Pollo Inka. Right down the street from the South Bay Galleria Mall, if I remember correctly. I like some of their unique potato side dishes, as well..

    and it seems like the L.A. area is the only place I can get a decent heuvo rancheros.
    Even those burger joints that serve breakfast, (places with names like Jim's Burgers, Fantastic Burger) make decent heuvos rancheros.

    Glad you had a nice day with your mom. Liked your pictorial tour.

    ellen
    #2
    enginecapt
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 00:00:21 (permalink)
    More places to add to my L.A. list. Good report from the field Elise.
    #3
    enginecapt
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 00:07:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ellen4641
    it's raining in NJ right now! a dark, gloomy night..


    It was a dark and stormy night.......
    #4
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 00:14:34 (permalink)
    Actually, it rained a little on Friday night.

    That is definitely Tony's, home of the Fire Chief and cause of many a hangover.

    El Pollo Inka has a few locations - this is the smaller one on PCH and Artesia.

    You must be a South Bay girl!

    #5
    mr chips
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 09:06:17 (permalink)
    Great report. You have me ready to get on a plane and fly to to the Los Angeles area tomorrow.
    #6
    ellen4641
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 09:53:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Actually, it rained a little on Friday night.

    That is definitely Tony's, home of the Fire Chief and cause of many a hangover.

    El Pollo Inka has a few locations - this is the smaller one on PCH and Artesia.

    You must be a South Bay girl!





    I'm really a "jersey girl"; grew up in Jersey... but I love LA !!!!
    when I lived in LA 4 years ago, I lived in Hawthorne (the good part of Hawthorne, (an oxymoron, I know). Best part of Hawthorne was that I was only 5 miles from Manhattan Beach. (and my rent as a roommate was cheap). But I'm glad to be back in my own condo in jersey now.
    (no roommates)

    And back in early 90's , I was a roommate in an apartment in Playa Del Rey.

    I had a feeling you might have meant that Hermosa Beach location...
    right up the hill from the beach and that Von's supermarket. and just south of the movie theatre

    I always like reading your posts, Elise.

    For a taste of NYC, you may want to check out "my day in NYC, with pics" , under the "where should I eat?" forum. It looks a lot like yours, as far as all the pics and captions... plus it came from the heart, just like yours...

    at least the rain stopped today!
    #7
    zataar
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 09:56:25 (permalink)
    What a great report! I use to live in Venice and loved taking the bus to South Bay.
    Water convolvus is sometimes called water spinach or morning glory, I think.
    #8
    mayor al
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 10:57:34 (permalink)

    Great job covering a number of places, ET, The Redondo Pier area has always been a favorite place for me, both when I lived in Gardena/Lawndale and later when we visited in that area. I think we must have eaten at the Victoria Station on Hawthorne Blvd just north of PCH, more than any one place in all of South Bay. Outstanding Prime Rib !(Long Gone Now I Believe.)
    In your first photo of King's Harbor, I think you captured the parking meter that caught me several times (for contributions to the City of Redondo Beach)
    #9
    catosaurus
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 11:32:32 (permalink)
    Elise,

    Thanks for a wonderful tour. I spend a great deal of time (for work/friends) in the south bay, and have eaten at Joe's 4 or 5 times. They're not bad for dinner, either.

    Might there be any interest in organizing a southern California get-together for those of us posters here in LA-LA land?
    #10
    SassyGritsAL
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 11:46:41 (permalink)
    Elise, I don't know what you do for a living, but you need to be a food travel writer plus photographer. Your reports are always a joy to read. I always look forward to reading where you have been and eaten. You are a true Roadfood person. Keep up the good work.
    #11
    rongmtek
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 12:00:04 (permalink)
    I lived right over the pier in Redondo Beach in the late 1970's; and I agree, Tony's was responsible for many a hangover in those days.
    The pier itself looks like it's been cleaned up, or "gentrified" as we say in New York.
    #12
    MikeS.
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 15:01:10 (permalink)
    Nice job Elise! The belecan Grill looks like some place I's definetely have to try.

    MikeS.
    #13
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 15:23:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar

    What a great report! I use to live in Venice and loved taking the bus to South Bay.
    Water convolvus is sometimes called water spinach or morning glory, I think.


    Oh...the creepy part of me had conjured images of a gigantic barnacle-like sea creature.

    #14
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 15:28:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rongmtek

    I lived right over the pier in Redondo Beach in the late 1970's; and I agree, Tony's was responsible for many a hangover in those days.
    The pier itself looks like it's been cleaned up, or "gentrified" as we say in New York.



    Well, that pier did not go gently into the good night. First, a huge storm surge washed away part of the pier (the end, near Castagnolas). About a year later, the pier caught on fire. Then a second storm washed away the burnt remains, and the entire side where Cattleman's was. All that remained was Tony's and the fishmarket. So they had to do something, and rebuilt the pier out of concrete. There are no more restaurants on the part of the pier that juts out; it is just a lookout point, and occasional fishing spot.

    #15
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 15:30:25 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ellen4641

    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Actually, it rained a little on Friday night.

    That is definitely Tony's, home of the Fire Chief and cause of many a hangover.

    El Pollo Inka has a few locations - this is the smaller one on PCH and Artesia.

    You must be a South Bay girl!





    I'm really a "jersey girl"; grew up in Jersey... but I love LA !!!!
    when I lived in LA 4 years ago, I lived in Hawthorne (the good part of Hawthorne, (an oxymoron, I know). Best part of Hawthorne was that I was only 5 miles from Manhattan Beach. (and my rent as a roommate was cheap). But I'm glad to be back in my own condo in jersey now.
    (no roommates)

    And back in early 90's , I was a roommate in an apartment in Playa Del Rey.

    I had a feeling you might have meant that Hermosa Beach location...
    right up the hill from the beach and that Von's supermarket. and just south of the movie theatre

    I always like reading your posts, Elise.

    For a taste of NYC, you may want to check out "my day in NYC, with pics" , under the "where should I eat?" forum. It looks a lot like yours, as far as all the pics and captions... plus it came from the heart, just like yours...

    at least the rain stopped today!


    How can we try to get a "Trip Reports" or "Travel Stories" thread up here? I can never find them all, and they are my favorite thing to read. Maybe we should all pick a common forum to put them in.

    #16
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 15:31:27 (permalink)
    As for a Los Angeles meet-up, I'm always up for it. We can start another thread.
    #17
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 15:32:19 (permalink)
    Nice post and pix! One of the few things I love about living in California is the abundance of ethnic variety for restaurants.
    #18
    lleechef
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 16:00:08 (permalink)
    As always, another spectacular report from Elise! I had lunch with her, Bob and Mom on Sunday. It was great. The food was OK but the company was excellent!
    #19
    NAAMikey
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 18:04:21 (permalink)
    I too lived just above the Redondo pier in the late 70's early 80's. We wpould go to Tony's or have happy hour at El Toritos on the pier. I just returned from there after 20 plus years of being away, and the pier looks great, but as only a former shadow of itself. Have probably eaten in every place on the pier. Also, remember where Unky Roy's was before they built the Crowne Plaza hotel? Back then, it was my favorite place for breakfast after Joe's...no wait how about the Coffee Cart?..no no maybe Nancy's Food Cellar, um possibly the Cozy Cafe...oh never mind!!
    Mike
    #20
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/18 18:44:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    As always, another spectacular report from Elise! I had lunch with her, Bob and Mom on Sunday. It was great. The food was OK but the company was excellent!



    That one is coming...

    You didn't think you'd get off that easy, did you?

    #21
    ellen4641
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/19 01:21:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NAAMikey

    I too lived just above the Redondo pier in the late 70's early 80's. We wpould go to Tony's or have happy hour at El Toritos on the pier. I just returned from there after 20 plus years of being away, and the pier looks great, but as only a former shadow of itself. Have probably eaten in every place on the pier. Also, remember where Unky Roy's was before they built the Crowne Plaza hotel? Back then, it was my favorite place for breakfast after Joe's...no wait how about the Coffee Cart?..no no maybe Nancy's Food Cellar, um possibly the Cozy Cafe...oh never mind!!
    Mike


    I had always heard the pier used to be a lot better... sorry I was not living there at the time to experience it... (before the floods and fire took their toll)

    I did have a few decent lunches at that place Kincaids. It was about 4 years ago, and it was pretty new at the time.
    Real good prime rib and service etc... and you are literally sitting over the water..
    One has to be careful while sitting outside , though....lots of nosy, hungry seagulls!!
    #22
    EliseT
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/19 01:37:53 (permalink)
    One has to be careful while sitting outside , though....lots of nosy, hungry seagulls!!


    When my best friend and I were 16 we took turns taking eachother out to lunch with our paychecks from our first jobs. We were having lunch in Tony's, and I started feeding the birds crackers. I made a little trail, and one of the seagulls actually came inside the restaurant and started flying around madly while the busboys chased it.
    #23
    ellen4641
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/19 01:58:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    One has to be careful while sitting outside , though....lots of nosy, hungry seagulls!!


    When my best friend and I were 16 we took turns taking eachother out to lunch with our paychecks from our first jobs. We were having lunch in Tony's, and I started feeding the birds crackers. I made a little trail, and one of the seagulls actually came inside the restaurant and started flying around madly while the busboys chased it.



    too funny, Elise! I guess one has to be careful while sitting inside , as well!

    Those seagulls are also notorius for causing havoc on the NJ shore boardwalks. I've seen them stoop down and grab slices of pizza right off kids' plates. they're ruthless!
    #24
    ann peeples
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    RE: Elise's South Bay (LA) 2006/10/19 08:21:44 (permalink)
    As usual,the pics and prose took me right there!!!Thanks!
    #25
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