Tag Archives: South Bay

l’amande french bakery

I was recently treated to a tasting of the many offerings at L’Amande French Bakery in Beverly Hills. All I can say is this place is legit! From baguettes to pastries, hot sandwiches to cold and salads to deserts, L’Amande provides traditional French cafe dishes along with boulangerie specialties. The croissants are truly special requiring 72 hours of preparation to produce the perfectly thin, buttery, flakey layers. Don’t believe me? Check out these pics!

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Escargots aux fruits.

Cute, clean, modern interior with images of Paris and music to match.

Cute, clean, modern interior with images of Paris and music to match.

Pistachio croissant!

Pistachio croissant!

Papillote - flakey light crust with sweet fruit filling.

Papillote – flakey light crust with sweet fruit filling.

Specialty of the month - lavender scone with lemon custard spread. Yum!

Specialty of the month – lemon lavender scone with lemon custard spread. Yum!

Lavender scone.

Lemon lavender scone.

Super legit baguette - crusty on the outside/cloud like interior.

Super legit baguette – crusty on the outside/cloud like interior.

Perfectly prepared Croque Madame.

Perfectly prepared Croque Madame.

Quite possibly the best hot chocolate I've ever had and the only one prepared table-side!

Quite possibly the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had and the only one prepared table-side!

L’Amande French Bakery
9530 S Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 734-8922

2553 Pacific Coast Highway
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 326-8980

baleen kitchen in redondo beach

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Photo by Gloria Plascencia
We recently visited the waterfront Baleen Kitchen in Redondo to check out their new menu. Fresh, holiday libations started off the evening! This is the Anti-Oxident Mojito with Appleton Rum, Pomegranate juice, muddled blackberry, raspberry and mint. Cheers!

Mezcalero - Mezcal, Aperol and strawberries.
Photo by Wade Hammond
Mezcalero – Mezcal, Aperol and strawberries.

duck
Photo by Wade Hammond
As a starter we all shared the decadent Duck Carnitas served with slaw and crepes. We had them earlier in the year and have been dreaming of them ever since. They are perfect for the holidays or any other time. I freakin love these things!

farro
Photo by Wade Hammond
The First Course was the Baleen Garden and was delicious. It was baby beets, farrow, tomato, quinoa, avocado, pea shoots, almonds with a soft lime vinaigrette. The texture of the farro, quinoa and almonds made this salad very unique. I would love to eat that for lunch everyday!

crab
Photo by Wade Hammond
The Second Course was a gorgeous Crab Salad full of avocado, haricot vert, and lollo rossa. They use both soft-shell crab and fresh Dungeness for this dish.

seabass
Photo by Wade Hammond
The Third Course of Roasted Black Sea Bass with roasted mushrooms and sweet potatoes in a fabulous aromatic broth was mind blowingly good!

waiter
Photo by Wade Hammond
Last but certainly not least, server Alain Inoue presented our Fourth Course – the GIANT “Tommy Hawk” Ribeye!

tommy-46Photo by Wade Hammond
The Tommy Hawk ribeye was quite impressive, tender, delicious and oh yeah – huge!

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Photo by Gloria Plascencia
As you can see, a fun night was had by all! Book your upcoming holiday celebration at Baleen Kitchen or stop in for happy hour with snacks and cocktails!

Baleen Kitchen is located in beautiful Redondo Beach, CA at The Portofino Hotel right on the harbor at 260 Portofino Way. (310) 372-1202

Christmas Day they will have their famous À La Carte Brunch and “Build Your Own” Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar from 6:30am-1:00pm. Then a 3-Course Dinner from 1:00pm-10:00pm adults $59 with wine pairing $70/$22 kids.

NYE They will have a fabulous 5-Course Dinner from 5:00pm-11:00pm for $85pp with wine pairing $110.

the strand house

First Course - Smoked Norwegian Salmon ‘Pastrami’ Brioche, Pickled Beets, Horseradish Snow, Mustard Greens

First Course – Smoked Norwegian Salmon ‘Pastrami’ Brioche, Pickled Beets, Horseradish Snow, Mustard Greens

I was fortunate to attend a 6 course dinner at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach The dinner creatively highlighted Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky’s inspiration from his stay in Norway. The event featured seafood flown in from Norway specifically for the event sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Often restaurants at beachfront locations don’t try very hard because they can rely on their gorgeous views to attract customers. I can’t express in words how surprised I was at the caliber of Hozinsky’s cuisine. Fortunately, I took pictures.

Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House

Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House

Amuse-Bouche - Nordic black cod, celery sauce, white truffle

Amuse-Bouche – Nordic Black Cod, Celery Sauce, White Truffle

Second Course Pan Roasted Fresh Norwegian King Crab Brown Butter Broth, Sudachi, Corn Pudding

Second Course – Pan Roasted Fresh Norwegian King Crab Brown Butter Broth, Sudachi, Corn Pudding

Third Course Norwegian Halibut Smoked Sunchoke Puree, Matsutaki Mushroom, Cauliflower,YuzuKosho,Hijiki

Third Course – Norwegian Halibut, Smoked Sunchoke Puree, Matsutaki Mushroom, Cauliflower, YuzuKosho,Hijiki

Fourth Course Venison Strip Loin Huckleberries, Root Vegetable Mille-Feuille, Grilled Chicories

Fourth Course – Venison Strip Loin, Huckleberries, Root Vegetable Mille-Feuille, Grilled Chicories

Fifth Course Fried Brioche with Lingonberry Whiskey Sabayon, Pistachios

Fifth Course – Fried Brioche with Lingonberry Whiskey Sabayon, Pistachios

Sixth Course Warm Almond Apple Cake Geitost, Brown Buttered Apples, Cardamom Ice Cream

Sixth Course – Warm Almond Apple Cake, Geitost, Brown Buttered Apples, Cardamom Ice Cream

Pastry Chef Stephanie Franz

Pastry Chef Stephanie Franz

 

baleen kitchen

Lobster Slider!

Lobster sliders at Baleen Kitchen!

Recently, I was fortunate  to have the opportunity to preview the Valentine’s Day menu at Baleen Kitchen at The Portofino Hotel & Marina. Situated right on the water, the setting is as sexy as the restaurant’s interior. Spanish born Executive Chef, Richard Crespin has an affinity for tapas and is adept at creating balanced seasonal dishes which showcase super fresh ingredients. From appetizers to deserts, Chef Crespin is spot on. Baleen Kitchen is definitely one of Redondo Beach’s hidden gems.

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Duck carnitas and lobster mac & cheese at Baleen Kitchen located in The Portofino Hotel & Marina.

One of my favorite dishes, which, is available year round is the duck carnitas. When people ask me, “What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?” I keep saying, “Duck carnitas at Baleen Kitchen!” They are served with mini crepes, slaw and a blackberry compote. They are juicy, rich and slightly sweet. I want one right now!

These photos courtesy Allen Taylor Photography. Thanks Allen!

These photos courtesy Allen Taylor Photography. Thanks Allen!

The seafood is uber fresh and executed perfectly (not an easy task when serving 20 people). Everyone at the event raved about the roasted black sea bass. The deserts tasted as good as they look in the pictures. I will definitely be going back to Baleen Kitchen. Baleen also offers daily specials and special prefix holiday menus. The 6 course Valentine’s Day tasting menu looks fantastic so make your reservations today!

Baleen Kitchen
260 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
877-BaleenLA OR (877-225-3365)

jackson’s food + drink

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Recently, Brittany and I were invited to attend a 5 course food and wine pairing at Jackson’s Food + Drink in El Segundo. This new location is the brainchild of Scott Cooper, the chef and owner of its prior incarnation in Hermosa Beach.  Scott recently hired chef Matt Strong, formerly of Spago and Patina, to carry on his vision of seasonal, locally sourced and world inspired cuisine. Scott himself, served each of the courses and passionately described them to the table. I love it when restaurant owners are proud of what they are serving and willing to get into the details.

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One of the highlights for me was the handmade corn ravioli with chanterelle mushrooms, English peas, fresh crab, and melted tomatoes. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, the fresh chanterelles elevated the dish so much that they actually rendered the crab superfluous. Don’t get me wrong… I still ate and loved the crab.

I also really enjoyed the fourth course of the night: roasted Moroccan lamb rack with couscous, dried fruit chutney and Harissa. It was perfectly prepared and showcased the chefs inspiration stemming from multi-ethinic cuisine.

Finally, we were treated to a desert called a Pavlova, which, most of us never experienced before. The desert is meringue based with a crisp but delicate crust covering the soft gooey center. It is topped with fresh berries and whipped cream. Again, we were transported to another part of the world, while still being presented with fresh and local ingredients.

We had a great night meeting new people, while, sharing delicious food and wine. We will be back! Thanks Jackson’s!

Jackson’s Food + Drink
2041 ROSECRANS AVENUE NO. 190
EL SEGUNDO CAL. 90245-4788
310.606.5500