Whether it’s just me and Irene or the whole famiglia, we like us some dining out! And my only rule of thumb is, unless it’s in the fast casual category, no repeating (too many restaurants, too little time is my motto)! So without further ado, please enjoy a few words on some recent restaurant outings:
Seasons 52: Located in the old Houston’s space at Westfield Century City, we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit here — an early dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day one Day early. As their name implies, S52 uses only fresh, seasonal ingredients and prepares them with rustic techniques like oak-fire grilling and brick oven roasting to highlight natural flavors. Exhibit A was my caramelized grilled scallop dish – on a creamy lemon risotto with English peas and roasted asparagus ($26.95). Troy’s lobster and mozzarella flatbread with roasted sweet peppers, slivered scallion and lobster sour cream was the epitome of a high-end pizza ($15.95) while Irene and Miss A dug into a mega-fresh sesame grilled salmon salad with organic greens, pineapple, mango, jicama, lemongrass sauce in a toasted sesame dressing ($18.50). We all shared two awesome appetizers: Duck Wing Lollipops with a spicy Korean Gochujang red chili glaze and sesame seeds ($10.50) and a Shrimp Scampi Skillet with roasted plum tomatoes, parsley, garlic butter and bruschetta ($10.95). The icing on the proverbial cake was the unique dessert offerings that were brought by our table and ready to eat on the spot: an assortment of classic sweet treats served in shot glasses! We chose a s’mores glass, a raspberry cannoli glass and my favorite, a pecan pie glass!
Sunny Spot: Muh-F K’ N Mofongo! That aptly-named app just about sums up this eclectic gem in Roy Choi’s mini restaurant empire in L.A. Irene and I savored every bite of this hummus-like dish that is made up of mashed ripe plantains, applewood bacon, fennel garlic, rum, cilantro, chili vinegar and ginger oil. Following that was a tapas parade that included a grilled octopus salad, jerk chicken pizza and a roasted beet salad with housemade ricotta, rum-spiced honey, cashews, pickled strawberries, orange segments, spicy gremolata and lime juice. It’s ingredient combinations like this that really sets Choi’s food apart. Paired with rum cocktails from an extensive “rum guide” and a kick-back patio table, we really enjoyed our 17th wedding anniversary celebration here.
Enterprise Fish Company: With only a single child in tow (Troy was on a class sleepover retreat and Miss A was at her gymnastics class), we thought we’d try a Happy Hour and Enterprise did not disappoint. Among the reduced-price apps that we tried were the steamed mussels ($8), calamari ($6), mini lobster roll ($12) and oyster shooters ($2 each), all very tasty. Drink specials included $6 cocktails and wines by the glass and $7 martinis – enhanced by some nice patio seating and festive atmosphere.
Hermosa Beach Fish Shop: There’s excellent, fresh seafood to be had at this South Bay establishment on Pier Avenue just off the PCH. A posted menu board greets guests before they even enter the building to help formulate a meal just prior to ordering. A three-step process lists the choices of fish, marinade and “style”; for example, Irene got her mahi-mahi with a teriyaki sauce on a salad with veggies while I went for the smoked salmon sandwich on a sandwich with garlic butter. The kiddies were also very happy with their popcorn shrimp (X), fish ‘n chips (T) and grilled salmon salad (A).
Gilbert’s El Indio: Just a few minutes from our house, we had never been to this popular neighborhood spot so decided to check it out on a Taco Tuesday night. We’ll definitely be back for the $1 street tacos (beef, chicken, etc., on corn tortillas) that this authentic Mexican spot serves up. Great margaritas too.
Umami Burger: This one was a boys night out so T, X and me went to see if these burgers lived up to their hype. Turns out they were well worth the $8- to $15-price range. I had the original “Umami” (roasted tomato, shiitake mushrooms, parmesan crisp, caramelized onion and house ketchup) while Troy and Xander devoured the “Cali” (butter lettuce, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, house spread and Cali cheese) and the “Manly” (house cheddar, bacon, smoked-salt onion strings and house ketchup), respectively. Great service, with multiple locations in L.A.