LWD Flashback :: MB Post

LWD Flashback :: MB Post

September 2014’s outing (see Eating Chicago on why this post is up so late) was a relatively hasty and spontaneous one. By the time we decided to go at the 11th hour, there were only three of us, but the die-hards never let numbers (or lack thereof) stop us from exploreating. We wanted to go somewhere beachy, but out of the LBC. Not too far away. And I remembered that for a couple years now, I’ve been wanting to try the much touted MB Post. And so with three, it was a LWD Date.

We arrived in almost no time, our drive north on the 405 a quick one with the slower traffic on the other side. We’ve learned nothing about calling head, making something called a reservation in all these years, but we were luck to be early and small – we got a table with no wait at all, just before a quite Tuesday evening became jam-packed and alive.

MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurantsMB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurantsMB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants

To drink, I sucked down the Mil Mascaras, a frothy pisco sour that gives a wink to autumn with a surprising blend of watermelon, horchata, cinnamon, and allspice. It proved a perfect start to my meal.

MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants

The rest of the menu gave me a lot to think about, keeping me unsure of my selection even just seconds before placing my order (usually, I’ve studied a menu ad nauseam, entering with my mind made up from cocktail to dessert). Just as I was set to go with the spiced chicken thigh with jalapeño hush puppies when the waitress told us about another chicken dish – a special: fried chicken. She had me at fried chicken. I’m not a habitual fried chicken kind of girl, but the choice just sound right to me on this particular day. And a good choice it was, equal parts crispy and juice, finely seasoned and sweetly succulent. Yummy too was their mac & cheese and their bacon cheddar biscuits – you know I don’t eat bacon…unless I eat bacon…and I ate bacon because I couldn’t let those biscuits just sit there (my table mates ordered them) without me trying one. Or two and a half.

MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurantsMB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurantsMB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurantsMB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants DSC_0343 MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants

The three of us packed in so much food that we were all done before dessert (although William did get a cone from the ice cream shop down the street), so I left without trying the salted caramel tart I’d had my thoughts on since arriving. But all the more reason to return. MB Post a terrific and tasty getaway from the LBC that I surely hope to visit again this year. Or make a visit to MB Post’s seafood sister-wife of a next door neighbor, Fishing With Dynamite – love the name.

MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants MB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurantsMB Post || on www.dianderthal.com :: #MBPost #manhattanbeach #restaurants

MB Post
1142 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach

Ladies Who Dine :: Komo’s Cocina

Ladies Who Dine :: Komo’s Cocina

It’s been a while since the Ladies have gotten together for an outing. We’ve had babies, promotions, band concerts, PTA meetings, work trips, and fall vacations that have kept our nights and weekends full, so it’s been challenging to assemble a critical mass. But Christmas Eve eve proved to be a splendid night for a fair number of the Ladies to sip cocktails and indulge our bellies while chilling in Naples.

DSC_0488 DSC_0535

You see, the LWD restaurant club launched with seven co-workers, all of us wanting to experience food beyond our Chili’s/Mimi’s Café/CPK lunch rut. Since its start in 2011, we’ve taken on other career opportunities, added new Ladies, and created LWD spinoffs (such as Ladies Who Wine and the Boozy Book Club) that included yet additional peeps. Since many of us no longer work together, the catching up part of our outings has become just as important as the food. So at Komo’s Cocina, we were so happy to see each other, so consumed with chatting that we forgot to eat. We drank (margaritas and wine). We appetized (guacamoles, grilled corn, queso fundido, carnitas chilaquiles). But none of us ended up ordering an entrée with the exception of Mario, who’d quickly requested the mussels with chorizo from the waitress upon his late arrival, thinking the rest of us had already ordered.

DSC_0509 DSC_0504 DSC_0479DSC_0539 DSC_0537

Perhaps the margaritas did it, so potent that three of us lagged leaving with the others in need of some sobering up time, offering us an excuse to get dessert – the churros, all cinnamony and sweet, perfectly crunchy yet gooey and soft on the inside, stood out as my favorite bite of the evening, especially when double dipped in the warm chocolate and butter sauces served alongside of them.

DSC_0550 DSC_0551

Komo’s is indeed a bright new spot among the expanding collection of boutique restaurants that LB locals are thrilled to have nearby. Also billed as a tequila bar, Komo’s offers tequila flights and a long list of inspired cocktails. The attentive and welcoming staff only help seal the deal in making Komo’s a hot spot for elegant, simple Mexican cuisine. My big regret is that I didn’t get a taste of their enchiladas. Luckily, Komo’s is but a hop and a skip from my daughter’s volleyball practice gym, so if ever I decide to ditch my run (how I prefer to spend part of the two-hour block of her bump/set/spike/block sessions), I may just mosey over to Naples for more of their zesty, hearty food. I’ll just be sure to skip the margarita so my kid won’t have to wait for me to sober up before getting her.

Komo’s Cocina
5730 E. 2nd Street in the Naples neighborhood of the LBC

Ladies Who Dine :: Taco Asylum

Ladies Who Dine :: Taco Asylum

If the name didn’t clue you in, the choices at Taco Asylum are quite demented. It’s a place my fellow LWDer Sandy has been chatting up since it opened back in 2011, though her fear of the menu kept her from trying, with options back then for tacos stuffed with grilled octopus, lamb, beef heart, curried paneer, and duck. While perhaps gourmet, I wasn’t interested – those unusual fillings did not get me hankering.

IMG_3859

Enter Summer 2014, an adventurous and tasty summer for a more courageous me. It was William’s pick for our August outing, one that he did not seize, instead over-analyzing, debating, second-guessing. As Sandy and I mused aloud as an assist to him, Sandy again threw out the idea of Taco Asylum. Remembering their menu, I didn’t immediately co-sign her suggestion, giving instead a non-committed maybe, determined to come up with a better pick for William when I had some Googling time. But at some point, I thought it might be fun to look up Asylum’s menu to see what had had me so scared of this place years before.

IMG_3870

To my surprise, I found that TA had had a change. The duck taco was still there, and too was the paneer, but there’d been additions. Playful, less intimidating tacos, like the Bacon PB & J with carrot ginger jam; or the Fried Chicken with a watermelon-feta salad and a Fresno chile hot sauce. Although my palate has come a long way in the last couple of years, their new menu was just my speed. So it was only then that I seconded Sandy’s idea for William’s choice (basically, he let us wrestle his choice away from him), and the rest was history.

With five us us there, we were able to order plenty of tacos and several mixings of flavors, textures, and heat. The Banh Mi was tangy and citrusy, the Wasabi Shrimp surprisingly (at least to me – I didn’t read the description first) luscious and sweet to temper the heat of the wasabi, I suppose. But it was the chile sauce from the Fried Chicken taco that, while perfectly unctuous and flavorful, got me sweaty, caused me to chug down my ice water faster than I did my chilled cider.

IMG_3863IMG_3864IMG_3865IMG_3867IMG_3866

Speaking of hot, William ordered the Firepig, a Ghost chile-braised pork taco that comes with a warning to its consumers. He told us his reddening skin was due to his beer, blaming his ethnicity; but I think it was the taco, which he said was pretty darn spicy. Torrid.

IMG_3869

My favorite taco of the night was the BBQ Chicken, with peach salsa and scallions. It was initially forgotten by the kitchen so I had to wait for it, but that turned out to be a good thing as it was served fresh and steamy. There was a slight crispiness to the chicken that I really appreciated and the sweetly acrid sauce made me dance in my seat. Full as I was, that taco went down in a couple-few minutes. Next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll surely pick up another one. Or seven if my husband’s treating.

IMG_3868

So our last LWD outing of the summer ended with a fiery bang wrapped inside a toasty flour tortilla. And a little bit of shopping, thanks to all the boutiques at The Camp, where Taco Asylum lives. Hope your summer’s been as tasty as ours.

IMG_3862IMG_3860IMG_3872IMG_3871

Taco Asylum
at The Camp, 3947 S. Bristol St. in Costa Mesa

What we tried:
Bacon PB&J
Banh Mi
Meat & Potatoes
The Shortrib
Fried Chicken
Firepig
Shrimp Pad Thai
BBQ Chicken
Paneer (Indian Style Cheese)
Mushrooms and Brie

Corn Off the Cob
Brave Potatoes

Ladies Who Dine :: Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap

Ladies Who Dine :: Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap

It’s only been open for a couple of months, but I’ve been craving a taste of Bo-Beau (fun to say, right?) for a long while, ever since spotting the sign announcing its arrival as a construction crew worked to transform the site of previous LBC classics, Smooth’s and Mum’s. I was quick to Google the name, learning about the existing Bo-Beau locations in San Diego and La Mesa, and the owners’ hopes for starting a revitalization of our downtown, bringing an SD Gaslamp District vibe to the area. I can only hope.

DSC_0612

From my first evening here, Bo-Beau seems primed to start a Pine Street revolution. The Ladies had invited our big (tiny) boss to join us for this month’s LWD outing a few weeks back. She’d received an invitation for Bo-Beau’s official grand opening, asking if we wanted to pre-eat there – that’s my kind of boss! The celebratory evening was also a chance to raise funds to benefit Children Today, a local agency that serves families experiencing homelessness. There was to be a sampling of Bo-Beau’s offerings, live music, and hosted drinks, all on the restaurant’s rooftop bar. These and an opportunity to help others? That’s what I call a good night. The Ladies agreed – Bo-Beau was on.

As the date for our outing approached, the synergy seemed to quadruple about Bo-Beau, with folks slowly dismissing themselves from the actual restaurant for the night, Pier 76 (which was okay because my son and I still wobbled our way over to get our fish on – see Dinner Date :: Pier 76 Fish Grill). But that was fine – as LWD Prez, I made the executive decision to make Bo-Beau our July LWD pick.

DSC_0631

And how wonderful it was. The Ladies got their eat on and their drink on, mingling with the seemingly connected crowd (I’m sure the Ladies weren’t writing the biggest donation checks of the evening) and chasing down any staff person with a tray. Our menu for the evening?

  • Lamb meatballs with dill Greek yogurt
  • Wild mushroom arancini with truffle oil
  • Duck fat deviled eggs with cornichon and smoked prapika
  • Salmon tartare with an herbed crouton
  • Chorizo stuffed baked mussels with a lemon aioli
  • Seared scallop with smoked broccoli coulis and balsamic strawberries
  • Caprese skewer with a balsamic port reduction
  • Mini croque monsieur
  • Cherry cheesecake with a snickerdoodle crust
  • Roasted s’mores stuffed pretzel puff with peanut butter

Additionally, they served two signature cocktails:

  • The Bo-Beau Sour: Old Forester Bourbon, Bigallet China-China, lemon, and house syrup
  • Pine & Roses: Peyka vodka, Giffard’s Pamplemousse Rose, yellow chartreuse, lemon, and house syrup

I lost track of how many glasses of Pine & Roses I drank. And how many globes of mushroom arancini I ate. Same with the salmon tartare. I can say with certainty that (unfortunately) I only had one of the s’mores desserts – I’d hoped to lose track of how many of those I ate too. I want to use better adjectives, verbs to make your mouth frothy with envy; to help you verbally taste my experience. But its all a succulent blur now, though the pleasant acridity of the Pine & Roses still gives me flashbacks. I can’t wait to go back for more. It will be harder to lose count when I’m paying for them. But boy will I pay for them; to go along with the fancier fare Bo-Beau serves in its downstairs space, or the bar menu available on the rooftop.

When the party ended, we still weren’t quite ready to call it a night, so we ordered their crispy Brussels sprouts, one of the best I’ve tried. I told executive chef Katherine Humphus this month when I got the chance to say hello to her as she made her way around the festivities. If the rest of their plates are as amazing as the ones we tried at the opening, I’ll surely be spending lots of time and dough at Bo-Beau. Cheers to another LWD outing, and welcome to Bo-Beau – the Ladies are very happy to have you in the LBC.

Bo-Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap
144 Pine Avenue in Long Beach and other locations
(Oh yeah, and they also have 50+ craft beers on tap and a martini bar with over 100 vodkas)

*The Ladies have adopted Children Today as it’s official charity this year. With each outing, we’ll forgo a drink or a dessert or dish and contribute money to a fund that we’ll donate to the organization at the end of the year. Thanks, Bo-Beau, for inspiring us to be the Ladies Who Give!

DSC_0649DSC_0639DSC_0635 DSC_0630DSC_0627DSC_0620DSC_0681DSC_064720140727-181848-65928649.jpgDSC_0641DSC_0655DSC_0665 DSC_0667DSC_066920140727-181849-65929050.jpgDSC_0676

Ladies Who Dine :: Bestia

Ladies Who Dine :: Bestia

Once upon a time, the LWD crew thought we would drive up to the big city of Los Angeles and amble our way right up to a seat at one of the hottest tables in the Southland – Bestia. We’d been warned of the wait, up to a couple hours long for the steadfast, the single-minded. We were rookies then, not savvy enough to have made reservations weeks in advance. Needless to say, we did not make it into Bestia that evening, although our bad planning helped us discover the gem that is Colori Kitchen (and even there, we had to promise to eat speedily as they’d need to turn our table for a 7:00 reservation).

Several months later, we’d try it again, agreeing to a Monday 5:30 slot, those of us able to make it promising to get to work extra early so we could head out an hour before our time. There was a frisson in the air all eight hours we worked, our appetites already in Bestia mode.

DSC_0479 DSC_0444

Though our original party of six had shrunken to three by the time we made it there, the staff still accommodated us at a smaller table (don’t worry – I called first; I’m not a complete reservation novice, though originally over the phone they’d said our smaller party would have to be cool with sitting at the pizza bar) since the place was still relatively quiet at the time we arrived (though that would change considerably within the hour).

Bestia is that rare place that finesses the balancing act of splendid fare, standout service, and that ineffable cool factor. They pull it off well, which I suppose is what the fuss is all about. For my wallet and me, it’s definitely an occasion/celebration kind of place – certainly not cheap. But you wouldn’t want to go to Bestia and skimp. A cocktail, a couple of courses followed by dessert will keep you on a food and drink high for days.

One of the best things about LWD is the sharing. We strive for diversity among our individual orders so that we can sample several disparate items during an outing. This sometimes leads to plate envy, comparing your final selection to the person’s choice next to you, wishing you could take home her leftovers instead of yours. At Bestia, it was a win-win situation for us all as everything we tried was so soulful and satisfying.

Like my cocktail. As lovely as all the drinks on their menu sounded, I couldn’t pass up the Granita Applebum (does Tribe know about this place?), a scintillating concoction with tequila, vermouth, thyme, and nuggets of apple granita. The drink came to life at the table when our waitress added apple soda, which didn’t compromise the iciness of the granita bits. Amazing. Also yummy were Sandy’s choice, the Bellevue Swizzle, and William’s aptly named Refreshing.

DSC_0449 DSC_0452 DSC_0453 DSC_0454

For eats, we went everywhere – from a creamy potato-spiked polenta to a calamari-octopus salad to spaghetti with a seafood-based sauce and a pasta dish with braised oxtail as its star. I have to say, the oxtail thing scared me, not just because I’m rarely a non-poultry meat eater, but really – the oxtail? The only thing I can recall about oxes is that Paul Bunyan had a blue one named Babe. But after Bestia, I now know not to fear the ox.

DSC_0456 DSC_0457 DSC_0468 DSC_0465 DSC_0463 DSC_0461

We finished the evening as scrumptiously as we started with two desserts. The coffee ice cream & doughnuts and a strawberry pastry would have been my favorite part of any other meal. But at Bestia, these fine desserts simply extended a phenomenal experience for us.

DSC_0472 DSC_0469

Perhaps one day, LWD will find a fairy godfather (or just a sugar daddy) to sponsor our outings and get us into keen spots like Bestia on the regular. But maybe not, as keeping these types of dinners infrequent makes them more special, more memorable. The experience from our Bestia outing will happily remain ever after in our memories. The End.

Bestia
2121 7th Place in Los Angeles

Our Eats

Granita Applebum
Refreshing
Bellevue Swizzle

Creamy polenta
Veal tartare crostino
Grilled octopus & calamari

Casarecce al pomodoro
Spaghetti rustichella
Agnolotti alla vaccinara

“Coffee & donuts”
Seascape strawberry crostata

Ladies Who Dine Flashback :: Simmzy’s

Ladies Who Dine Flashback :: Simmzy’s

Simmzy’s was my pick a couple of years ago. I wanted to make up for my first LWD pick, a well-established and known LA spot that underwhelmed the taste buds and sickened at least one member of our party (perhaps more – she was the one brave enough to tell me). I also wanted to keep it local, so Belmont Shore became the destination; and Simmzy’s, the place.

DSC_1251

Simmzy’s was relatively new at the time, taking over the corner location where the beloved (by some, like my husband) Shore House Cafe once plated up comfort food into the teeny hours of night. Now, walls have been replaced by ginormous sliding windows; long, communal tables & benches taking over for vinyl booths; brick in favor of wood. The menu slid to contemporary as well, with pizzas, burgers, and a rotating selection of craft beers. It’s just the kind of place Long Beach needed.

I have to tell you that Simmzy’s changed my life.

It was at Simmzy’s that I first tried one of my now favorite foods: Brussels sprouts.

DSC_1252

I’ve since tried plenty of other Brussels sprouts dishes (including my very own roasted balsamic Brussels sprouts that I’ve served the last couple of Thanksgivings), but Simmzy’s remains the bar for which I compare all others.

DSC_1259

These days, Simmzy’s is a standard lunch spot for me and my fro-workers. We’d probably do Happy Hour too if it weren’t so difficult to park around 2nd Street. My favorites remain their Spicy Que pizza, the fish tacos, and their Mixed Bag – both sweet potato and shoestring fries served with garlic aioli and avocado buttermilk sauce, both super delicious.

DSC_1264

So check out Simmzy’s – with your own Ladies Who Dine, for lunch, for Happy Hour. Just be sure to feed that Belmont Shore meter so you don’t get a ticket.

DSC_1268

Simmzy’s
5271 E. Second St.
Long Beach, in addition to Seal Beach and Manhattan Beach locations

Ladies Who Dine :: Atun Sushi

Ladies Who Dine :: Atun Sushi

Although I’d already been, my selection for February’s LWD outing was a local one since we now have a couple of mommies with little-little-little ones. This proved to be a good strategy as we had seven Ladies dine – our best turn out in months.

Atun is relatively new, and it still seems like they’re getting themselves together [looks like they have liquor limitations so the cocktails need a little work (all made with sake), and food took a little long coming out from the kitchen]. Still, we had a good time and left satisfied with our selections.

cheers
Sake cheers!
My Drink - a Ty Ku Mojito
My Drink – a Ty Ku Mojito

It was share and tell for the most part, the Ladies sampling each others’ dishes and drinks. Except for me, of course (only child syndrome).

Seafood tempura
Seafood tempura
IMissedTheNameOfThis Roll
IMissedTheNameOfThis Roll
Miso
Miso
Garlic Edamame
Garlic Edamame
Asparagus Yakitori
Asparagus Yakitori
Rainbow//Crunchy Rolls
Rainbow//Crunchy Rolls

Another fabulous LWD outing. Let’s do it again next month – yes?!

Atun Sushi
4262 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807