I've lived up and down the coast of California. Currently I reside in a little community that is nestled up against Puget Sound just North of Downtown Seattle, called Magnolia. But that is neither here nor there. This post is about California, more specifically, Manhattan Beach.
According to Forbes, Manhattan Beach is one of the most expensive beach cities in the country and understandably so. It is wedged between El Segundo and Hermosa Beach - a perfect little slice of real estate heaven - a truly magical place.
I was lucky enough to live in the 90266 zip code. Yes, my tiny studio was located behind the garage of my landlord's home in a space that barely fit my bed, a mini fridge, and a microwave - but hey, it was 4 blocks from the beach and I could walk to work every morning. I miss those mornings when coffee almost wasn't necessary because the salty ocean air awakened my senses more than any amount of caffeine ever could.
The wonderful part about working as a consultant is that I get to travel back to Manhattan Beach a couple of times a year to work on menus. This was my first trip back since moving to the Pacific Northwest and so about two weeks before the trip, I began mentally mapping out a foodie crawl. Here is my list of must-eat-while-I-am-in-town places for use as a reference guide should you find yourself in the area:
1. The Kettle : open 24 hours a day... always there for you...sort of like a best friend
Must Order: Honey Bran Muffin, House Crab Cake Benedict, anything that you can dunk in the 1000 Island Dressing, French Onion Soup, Roasted Garlic & Bleu Burger, Blackened Salmon Sandwich, Delirium Tremens Beer, and the Carrot Cake.
2. Simmzy's : if you are looking to see and be seen...this is the place
Must Order: Allagash White on Tap, Spice & Vinegar Pulled Pork Panino, Fearless Caesar Salad, haystack fries, 15 Minute Wings, and Chocolate S'more Pudding
3. The Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya: traditional sushi bar...tiny and simple inside
Must Order: Pitcher of Kirin Beer, Bonsai Salad, Miso Cod, Seared Albacore with Crispy Onion, Toro with Shaved Truffle, and the Baked Crab Roll.
4. Los Panchos: a mexican time machine ....don't miss karaoke night
Must Order: Naughty Maggie Margarita, Chicken Mole Dinner, Guacamole, Queso Fundido with Jalapeno and Artichoke Hearts, and Pork Chili Verde
5. Sashi: not-so-traditional sushi bar....prepare yourself for mood lighting and house music
Must Order: Sapporo on draft, Dreamy Cloud Sake, Shishito Peppers, Bikini Roll, Yellowtail with Jalapeno, Kalbi Robata, Gindara Robata, Black Tiger Prawn Tempura, and Spicy Miso Chilean Sea Bass
6. North End Caffe: tiny place in el porto (north MB) ...usually a surfer sighting or two
Must Order: Zachary Breakfast Sandwich, Huevos Divorciados, and anything that comes with their breakfast potatoes and that wonderful spicy garlic aioli-ish sauce that they splat on top of them
7. Manhattan Beach Farmer's Market : strollers and nannies galore...watch your toes
Must Get: Fresh Berries, Cherry Tomatoes, Baby Greens, Flowers, Citrus Fruit, and Vendor Food for lunch - Gyro with extra Tzatziki Sauce
8. Tin Roof Bistro : the closest thing to Napa without actually leaving Los Angeles County
Must Get: Spicy Tuna Spring Rolls, Pizza Bianca with Prosciutto, Delmonico Pork Chop, Meyer Natural Beef Short Ribs, Baby Golden Beet Salad, and the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes.
*Note: This is all my opinion and therefore it has great validity (naturally).