by Richard Foss
At the beginning of 2021, I wasn’t expecting any improvement in the local restaurant scene. The 2020 openings were better than expected, but these projects were already in the pipeline and few new ones might be expected to be planned. Surely investors would be wary of the indoor food ban, staffing issues, and all of the other COVID-19 issues.
I was very wrong. Over 50 restaurants have opened in our area and it has been very difficult to decide which one is in the top 10.
As always, there were some judgments. Dash Dashi opened so late in the year that I moved it to 2022. I would have added Little French Bakery to my list of the best restaurants for their excellent sandwiches and snacks, but I want to give them a Honorable Mention because the menu is limited and these are a small part of their operation. El Goloso on the Pacific Coast Highway also deserves an Honorable Mention for its excellent food and modest price, but it hasn’t brought any particular innovation to the area, and all of the winners did. I also took into account the value for money, which drove out some places that offered very good experiences, but at prices much higher than comparable experiences in pre-existing locations.
I’ve listed these in various orders over the years, alphabetically, top to bottom, and so on. This year I’m going north to south. The dollar signs stand for inexpensive, moderate, and high-end. There are worthy places in every price range.
Chef Scott Cooper has run several restaurants in South Bay for the past three decades. Nomad Eatery is by far its most successful. The menu is based on ideas he has gathered while traveling in Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, and Cooper gives each of the dishes on this diverse menu a personal touch. The indoor and outdoor atmosphere of the restaurant is serene, the cocktails are imaginative, and the prices are modest for the quality. The vacancy in office buildings on Rosecrans has put all restaurants there at risk, but Nomad Eatery has the culinary skills to attract local support.
$ – $$. 2041 rose cranes # 190. Nomadeatery.com.
The odd little room next to the Kettle on Highland Avenue was home to some strange concepts, but despite an inadvertent change in style, a sense of purpose is evident in the current tenant. Un Caffe Altamura was conceived as a wine bar, but has not yet received a license. Even so, the place attracted a loyal following before the first glass was poured. It’s currently open for breakfast and lunch, and does an excellent job of both using top-quality ingredients. Owner Alexa Altamura comes from a family well known in the real estate business, but her sense of culinary aesthetics is highly developed. The interior is small but airy and pleasant and will soon be expanded to include the wine bar and will then open in the evening and serve Italian pasta and desserts. If they’re as good as the current offerings, I predict further success.
$$. 1140 Highland Ave. No website.
The exterior of the Esperanza was amazing when it was first unveiled, and a year later it’s still a stunner. The interior offers a mix of mid-century elements and contemporary elements, and you might expect an avant-garde menu with no roots or culture. Instead, the food has Mexican roots but very modern ideas for showcasing the flavors of meat, vegetables and seafood. Sauces are lightly flavored with balanced herbs, vinegars and heat. They let you taste familiar objects in new ways. The price range is broad – there are classic Mexican combinations for under twenty dollars, but also unforgettable steaks and lobsters that run twice or three times as much. The cocktails are superb, the surroundings busy and noisy but not over the top, and the service has been excellent on multiple visits. Esperanza has been jam-packed since the day it opened, bringing in the crowd one meal at a time.
$ – $$$. 309 Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Esperanzamb.com.
I was hesitant to forgive Pa-Do this year or move it to next year’s roundup because they were just open for the month, that’s my minimum, and still serve from a shortened menu. I decided they deserve the nod because the food, drinks, and service are already as stable as restaurants that have been open much longer. Chef and owner Al Kim has been cooking at the private 900 Club for years and has opened this restaurant to serve Asian fusion dishes with noodles and filled dumplings. The dough in each has the springy quality that you only get with very fresh pasta, and they are offered in both traditional and modern forms. Both the vegetarian and the meat versions of the soup broths have intense aromas, which are sometimes accentuated by the deliberate use of chillies – with the exception of the “habanero spice bomb”, it is more about delicacy than sharpness. Cant wait to see what they do when they serve their full menu, but they are quite remarkable.
$$. 1017 Manhattan Avenue.
In the entire time he cooked at Darren’s in Manhattan Beach, Chef Darren Weiss never showed his appreciation for British food. Whether this has always been his personal secret or whether he got a taste for it after founding Fox & Farrow with his brother Seth Weiss, he knows how to make this underrated kitchen shine. The former Chelsea is reminiscent of the drawing room of a British mansion. The meal includes hunter’s pie, ginger-glazed pork, and pheasant sausage. Since this is Darren, these are all made with a California sense of taste, the vegetables and spices are a bit stronger in the mix. The Brussels sprout leaves dusted with curry powder are an addicting snack that combines these sensations, and if you’re not feeling anglophile about your visit, you can try some of the favorites from Darren’s previous ventures. Fox & Farrow is an unlikely success, a merger you won’t know you want until you try it out.
$$. 1332 Hermosa Ave., upstairs. Foxandfarrow.com.
Whoever decided to release Chef Drew Adams at the Vista made a bold decision. Anyone expecting a chowder house or similar tourist spot in the former mermaid was likely to be shocked. The South Pacific / Tiki fusion here is unique, the flavor combinations are based on citrus, sweetness, and spices, and emphasize unusual combinations of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. There are elements of Chinese, Malaysian and Vietnamese food here, but also Mexican and contemporary American, and somehow it all comes together. There is room for improvement in the rather sterile and noisy indoor environment, but work is being done on this and there are outdoor tables with an incomparable view of the beach.
$$$. 11 Pier Avenue. Vista-hb.com.
This is more than just a vegan date night restaurant. It is a destination for anyone who appreciates fine Italian food and wants to see what happens when a master cooks it without animal products. Chef-owner Tara Punzone honed her skills at her restaurant of the same name in West Hollywood and was finished with an exciting and innovative menu from day one. The pizzas use a vegetarian mozzarella that is just as filling as the classic. The ricotta with freshly baked bread was better than usual. Some items differ from Italian village originals, which rely on seafood or a wealth of meat, but almost everything works on its own. Fine wines and well-informed waiters complete the picture at this remarkable and successful place.
$$$. 320 S. Catalina. Puravitalosangeles.com.
I knew Barans 2239 had done good business in breakfast burritos during the pandemic, but I was surprised when they announced they were opening a taqueria in a former Marie Callender takeout. The space was tiny, the menu short, and it seemed like a strange idea. Six months later, and the tables outside are almost always occupied, the to-go orders are pouring out at high speed. The customers are here for spicy, lemony ceviche made from high-quality fish, turkey carnitas crispy in hot duck fat, real pastors like at a Mexican street stall or the best Impossible burger tacos I’ve ever eaten. This is the highest standard street food from Chef Jimmy Tapia who had a taco cart in Venice. Losing this beach is our gain because we now have the cool tacos.
$. 1223 PCH. Tigresfuego.com.
South Indian food is not very well known in our area, and I admit I would probably see whoever brought it to the Beach Cities as positive. Nevertheless, the Copper Pit Indian Grill exceeded my expectations in almost every way and brought an extensive menu from this region to Redondo and implemented it very well. These include products that are very different from the meaty kebabs and wheat breads of the north, such as dosas, the tenderly crunchy sourdough crpes, and laksa, a seafood stew with Southeast Asian influences. Copper Pot is a playground for those who want to learn the depth and intricacies of Indian cuisine, although they need to upgrade their menus with better descriptions to make it easier to find out what you are ordering. Talk to your server and trust them, order a mix of things you know and what you want to try, and enjoy the ride.
$ – $$. 1511 A. Pacific Coast Highway. Copperpotla.com.
Chinese dumplings are an up-and-coming cuisine on-site, with three specialists in the type opening last year. Jiayuan was the first and has the greatest allegiance to traditional cuisine. This is not a place for fancy Asian fusion cuisine, but if you want the closest you can get to Chinese home cooking this is the place. The small restaurant is known for fresh noodle dishes and its Xiaolongbao, the dumplings filled with rich soup. Sometimes they are so busy that you have to wait a long time for these handcrafted items. Go a little earlier, be patient, and give the Shi family the time to cook and serve their specialties. It’s worth the wait.
$ – $$. 1904 S. Pacific Coast Highway. Jydumplings.com. IS
Guiding the way to thrive
Jan Juc naturopath Rebecca Winkler has always found joy in the practice of cooking nourishing meals for others.
That pastime spilled over into developing recipes and it was during lockdown that her culinary passion led her to become a qualified plant-based chef and a raw dessert chef.
Now the mum-of-two has expertly thrown all of her skills into the mix to achieve a long-held goal of producing a book.
Released as an eBook, with a print version to hopefully follow, 14 Day Whole Food Feast is a comprehensive two-week meal plan designed to nourish the body and delight the tastebuds.
Within its pages are recipes for whole food snacks, lunch and dinner meals, lunchbox ideas, and time-saving tips.
14 Day Whole Food Feast by Rebecca Winkler is available now as an eBook.
“My motivation was both personal and professional,” Rebecca says.
“On a professional note, I found so many patients were having difficulty finding family-friendly, whole food recipes to help them navigate various dietary needs.
“The recipes are easy to follow, a shopping list is provided and time frames are taken into account so slower cooked meals or more time-consuming recipes are saved for weekends.”
Rebecca says the eBook can function purely as a recipe resource or be followed meticulously for a 14-day reset.
“Food prep guidance is given at the start of each week in order to get ahead and be organized as possible.
The eBook includes lunch, dinner and snack ideas, as well as shopping lists and naturopathic advice.
“Dinners are often incorporated into leftovers for lunch the next day and naturopathic guidance is provided around ways to maximize your time by incorporating regular exercise and practicing self-care.”
The idea for the book began to brew in 2019 during a solo trip Rebecca took with colleagues which gave her the space to establish a clear vision for the content she wanted to share.
“I began developing and refining recipe, enlisting a beautiful photographer and graphics team to allow my dream to be realised.
“The long-term plan is to release a number of other eBooks and, eventually, print a hard copy, real-life book to be loved and to splash your chocolate and bolognaise sauce on. The kind of recipe book that you find yourself grabbing time and time again.”
The eBook is filled with nutritious recipes and much more.
So, what are some of Rebecca’s personal favorites featured in her carefully curated eBook?
“Ooh, that’s like trying to choose a favorite child,” she laughs.
“I know it might seem boring, but the slow-cooked bolognaise with hand-made gluten-free fettucine is an absolute favourite.
“We make it weekly in my house and every time my kids exclaim ‘this is the best bolognaise ever’.”
The slow cooked beef pie, kafir lime chicken balls and whole food cranberry bliss balls are also hard to pass up, she says.
Rebecca avoids listing ideal ingredients for people to incorporate into their diet, instead saying the most beneficial ingredients are those that make you feel at your best.
“Not everyone tolerates grains, some don’t tolerate fruit, others have difficulty digesting meat and protein.
“My advice is to listen and take note of how your body feels when you eat.
“Are you bloated, do you have pain in your gut, loose stools, headaches or fatigue?
Rebecca is a qualified naturopath, as well as being a plant-based chef and raw dessert chef.
“I am more inclined to advise people to source good quality ingredients, grow what they can, and cook from scratch as much as time and money allows.
“Eat three meals a day and snack only if you are hungry, growing, pregnant or exercising.
“Try to consume 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight. Add plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, variety and colour.
“Our gut flora thrives on variety, so mix up your veggies, fruits, grain, legumes and proteins. Eat the rainbow.”
To get the most out of the eBook, the author suggests reading it from cover-to-cover and choosing a 14-day period where you are at home and have minimal social engagements.
Rebecca is passionate about naturopathy which she describes as a holistic, comprehensive view of the body in its entirety and “a wonderful adjunct to Western Medicine for patients as it ensures medical due diligence is exercised, adequate diagnostic testing where appropriate and an individualized approach to restoring health”.
Rebecca’s advice is to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to healthy food choices.
She says many of her clients are seeking ways to regain optimal health following extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic.
“There is no doubt that most of us found ourselves allowing more in alcohol and comfort foods over lockdown, which is nothing to feel ashamed about.
“In such a difficult, confining and overwhelming time, we sought comfort where ever it may lie for us.
“This is not a failure, it was merely a way for so many to cope. I never judge anyone’s choices, I merely try to support, understand and listen.
“Often we already know what we need to do to rebuild or move forward, simply sharing and being heard without shame or judgment is therapeutic.
“I cannot describe to you the genuine joy that seeing people thrive provides.”
14 Day Whole Food Feast retails for $19.95 and on the Rebecca Winkler website. Discover more and contact Rebecca via her Facebook page, Instagram @rebeccawinklernaturopath or email [email protected]
Get to know farro and other superfood whole grains
By Casey Barber, CNN
Quinoa has reached a level of superfood status not seen since the great kale takeover of the aughts. Equally embraced and mocked in pop culture, it’s become the symbol of the grain bowl generation. It’s not the only whole grain that’s worth bringing to the table, however.
The world of whole grains is wide, and if quinoa and brown rice have been the only grains on your plate, it’s time to expand your palate. Here’s an introduction to whole grains, along with tips for cooking and enjoying them.
What’s a whole grain?
The term “whole grains” encompasses all grains and seeds that are, well, whole. They retain all their edible parts: the fiber-rich outer bran layer; the carbohydrate-rich endosperm center, which makes up the bulk of the grain itself; and the inner core, or germ, which is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats.
On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and all-purpose flour have been milled to remove the bran and germ, stripping away much of the fiber, protein and vitamins, and leaving only the starchy endosperm.
“A lot of people don’t realize that whole grains contain several grams of protein in addition to vitamins and antioxidants,” said Nikita Kapur, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. With every serving of whole grains, “you get a ton of minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which is especially important for good health.”
So-called “ancient grains” fall under the umbrella of whole grains, though the phrase is more of a marketing term than a marker of a more nutritious option. Ancient grains refer to whole grains like millet, amaranth, kamut and, yes, quinoa that have been the staple foods of cultures for several hundred years. They are not hybridized or selectively bred varieties of grains, like most modern wheat, rice and corn.
And though quinoa has gotten all the press as a whole grain superfood, there’s good reason to try others. Trying a variety of whole grains isn’t just a way to mix up your same-old side dish routine. It’s also a chance to get a wider portfolio of minerals and more into your diet.
“Suffice to say, we need to have a more diverse plant-based diet” to get the full complement of recommended nutrients in our meals, Kapur said, “and we can’t get it from the same 10 or 20 foods.
“One grain might have more manganese, another more zinc or magnesium, and another more protein,” she added. “Try one as a pasta, one as a porridge — you do you, as long as there’s a variety.”
Familiar foods like oats, corn, brown and other colors of rice, as well as wild rice (which is an aquatic grass), are all considered whole grains, but there are many others you’ll want to add to your regular repertoire.
Some whole grains to get to know
amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that can be simmered until soft for a creamy polenta-like dish, but it also makes a deliciously crunchy addition to homemade energy bars or yogurt bowls when it’s been toasted. To toast amaranth seeds, cook over medium heat in a dry pan, shaking frequently until they begin to pop like minuscule popcorn kernels.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and botanically related to rhubarb, but these polygonal seeds (also called groats) don’t taste anything like fruit. You might already be familiar with buckwheat flour, used in pancakes and soba noodles, or Eastern European kasha, which is simply toasted buckwheat.
Faro is the overarching Italian name for three forms of ancient wheat: farro piccolo, or einkorn; farro medio, or emmer; and farro grande, or spelled. The farro you typically find at the store is the emmer variety, and it’s a rustic, pumped-up wheat berry that’s ideal as a grain bowl base. Or make an Italian-inspired creamy Parmesan farro risotto.
Freekeh is a wheat variety that’s harvested when unripe, then roasted for a surprisingly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Freekeh’s taste is distinctive enough that it steals the spotlight in your meals, so use it in ways that highlight its flavor. It’s fantastic in a vegetarian burrito bowl paired with spicy salsa, or in a warming chicken stew.
kamut is actually the trademarked brand name for an ancient type of wheat called Khorasan, which features large grains, a mild taste and tender texture. It’s a good, neutral substitute for brown rice in a pilaf or as a side dish. Or try this high-protein grain in a salad with bold flavors like arugula, blood orange and walnut.
millet is a gluten-free seed with a cooked texture similar to couscous. Teff is a small variety of millet that’s most frequently used as the flour base for Ethiopian injera flatbread. Try raw millet mixed into batters and doughs for a bit of crunch, like in this millet skillet cornbread recipe, or use either teff or millet cooked in a breakfast porridge.
How to cook any whole grain
While cooking times vary for each grain, there’s one way to cook any whole grain, whether it’s a tiny seed or a large, chewy kernel: Boil the grains like pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of kosher salt. Add the grains and cook, tasting as you go, until tender. Small grains like amaranth and quinoa can cook fully in five to 15 minutes, while larger grains like farro and wild rice can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour — so keep an eye on your pot and check it frequently.
Drain well in a mesh strainer (to catch all those small grains) and either use immediately or allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for later meals. Cooked whole grains can also be portioned, frozen and stored in airtight bags for up to six months.
If you want to cook your whole grains in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, this chart offers grain-to-water ratios for many of the grains mentioned here.
The CNN Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. foods Stories.
Travel: A quaint county seat with Mayberry charm | Lifestyles – Travel
I finally ventured out for my first road trip of 2022 earlier this month. It’s been way too long since I took a little trip and it was long overdue. My last little getaway was in Chicago the week of Christmas. The day I returned I wasn’t feeling very well and an at-home test confirmed that I had COVID — again.
The first time was in November 2020 and it was a severe case that landed me in the hospital with pneumonia and difficulty breathing and then many months of recovery. Luckily this time around it just lasted a couple of weeks. At the same time I was pushing through COVID we were in the process of moving. And my Dad, who had tested positive for COVID not long before me, passed away. So, it’s been a heck of a start to 2022. A getaway was much needed.
It was a brief 24 hours in the Indianapolis area, but as always I packed a bit in and had a lot of good food. On our way down we stopped off in Rensselaer for lunch at Fenwick Farms Brewing Co. and took a little walk to check out the murals that are part of the Ren Art Walk. That evening I attended a media opening of the newly reopened Dinosphere exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
People are also reading…
It’s a place I adore and still enjoy visiting even though my kids are teenagers and young adults now. I love being greeted by the huge Bumblebee character on the way in from what is probably my favorite action move, “The Transformers.” The largest children’s museum in the world has so much to see and I’ve loved having the chance to explore it both with and without my kids.
After the event it was a quick overnight at Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, and in the morning we headed to Danville. Danville is the county seat of Hendricks County. I adore county seats with downtown squares and this is one of my favorites. On an earlier visit there we were in town for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, which had lots of activities related to the classic TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” that was set in the fictional town of Mayberry.
Danville definitely has that charming, inviting, friendly small town vibe that feels like it could be a sitcom setting. We ate at the Mayberry Cafe where old episodes play on television screens and the menu is full of down-home, made-with-love comfort foods, with a specialty being “Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken.” I tried it and it was very tasty. The whole place made me smile like Opie after a fishing outing with his dad.
This time our dining destination was The Bread Basket. I had tried their desserts at a few events, but it was my first time dining in. It’s located in a house that was built for the president of Central Normal College in 1914 and is cute and cozy. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot, so plan to go early and be prepared for a wait during peak times (but it’s well worth it).
My Dilly Turkey Sandwich on fresh wheat nut bread with an Orchard Salad was delicious. I loved that they had a combo option where you could pick a half sandwich and half salad or cup of soup. But the desserts are the real star here. I stared at that dessert case for several minutes — and I wasn’t the only one.
I was seated next to it, and watched intently each time they removed a pie or cake from the case to cut a slice. I tried the Hummingbird Cake, which was a perfect treat without being too rich, and then noticed another that was so unique I had to get a slice to take home — the Blackberry Wine Chocolate Cake. If you go there and are overwhelmed with choices, go with this. You won’t regret it.
After lunch, we made our way over to the Hendricks County Historical Museum & Old County Jail, which is just off the square. For someone like me who loves history, this was a wonderful stop to incorporate into our day. It was built in 1866 and used as a jail all the way up until 1974. You can go into the old jail cells (two on the female side and four on the male side) and tour the sheriff’s home.
An exhibit has information and artifacts from when Central Normal College existed (later Canterbury College). There’s also a temporary chronological exhibit about music and musicians, featuring many Hoosier hitmakers.
After the visit, I took a breezy little walk around the square, where I was reminded that there is a nostalgic old movie theater. The historic Danville Royal Theater dates back to the early 1900s and shows current movies for just $5 a ticket.
It was then getting close to dinner time, so we decided to eat before we headed back home. A place in the nearby town of North Salem had been recommend to me and I am so glad we took time to visit. I chatted for a few minutes with Damiano Perillo, owner of Perillo’s Pizzeria. He’s a native of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The food is authentic and almost all of it is made fresh daily, including their garlic rolls, marinara and alfredo sauces. The New York-style pizzas are perfection.
They even have a nearby garden where they grow many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. They have gluten free pastas, too, and the lady at the next table had some and was raving about it. We also tried the homemade Sicilian cannoli and the limoncello flute, and trust me when I say to definitely not skip dessert.
There was one last food stop. Although we had just eaten, I realized we’d be driving right by Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and just couldn’t pass it up. I made my husband pull in and pick up some food to go. We got the brisket and their house made pimento cheese, chorizo and kielbasa and took it home. I was introduced to it last fall and there is a reason they have been voted Best BBQ in the Indy area four years in a row. I loved hearing about how this eatery located next to a railroad literally stops trains in their tracks to get food from this award-winning BBQ joint.
All three of these places — The Bread Basket, Perillo’s Pizzeria and Rusted Silo are ones that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area.
Start exploring magnificent places with our weekly travel newsletter.
Guiding the way to thrive
Expert’s nutrition tips for runners
For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News
Is Pasta Bad for You? A Registered Dietitian Explains
Wheat Bread Vs. White Bread: Which Is Healthier?
A dietitian’s guide to the ideal office lunch
Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta12 months ago
Is Pasta Bad for You? A Registered Dietitian Explains
Whole Grain Benefits1 year ago
Wheat Bread Vs. White Bread: Which Is Healthier?
Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients12 months ago
A dietitian’s guide to the ideal office lunch
Whole Grain Benefits11 months ago
This Diet Has Been Linked to Sudden Cardiac Death, Study Shows
Whole Grains Health1 year ago
Hot Lemon Water Before Bed: Benefits, Risks, and Nutrition
Whole Grain Benefits1 year ago
What is the best bread for acid reflux?
Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta1 year ago
What’s new in the dairy aisles in May
Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta1 year ago
The 7 Best Dog Foods for Senior Dogs in 2021