Tasty Places :: Working Class Kitchen

Tasty Places :: Working Class Kitchen

Working Class Kitchen is the newest gift to Long Beach from Michael’s Restaurant Group. The folks that brought the southland’s most celebrated pizza to my city (from Michael’s Pizzeria if you didn’t know – now, you know) – in addition to the elegant Michael’s on Naples and new Naples favorite, Chianina Steakhouse – now offer an every day kind of place for people like me – I certainly am what you’d call a working class kind of gal.

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A sort of gastro-butcher, WCK packs sandwiches with fresh meats brought in daily from local sources. You can pick up a sandwich stuffed with smoked ham, meatloaf, or corned beef, or grab a freshly butchered rabbit or a pork shank as fixer uppers of your own. For lunch, the gang and I were on our way to Los Compadres (as usual) when I noticed a sign for WCK parked on the sidewalk near the Walgreens on the corner of Redondo and Anaheim. Seeing the word “kitchen,” I had to investigate further, Googling the place instantly and deciding that I’d try it out the next day. Sandy agreed to go with me, so the two of us left behind our Los Compadres leftovers the following day, ready to add something new to our lunchtime repertoire.

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I really wanted to try the Chianina burger, which received high praise from those sharing about WCK online. But deciding to postpone a Burger Quest mission to a day when I’d have more time to savor, could pair my burger with a beer, I went instead with the grilled cheese, a wonderfully crisp and melty construction, enlivened with roasted red peppers. Sandy got the smoked ham, a good choice, she said, balanced and rich. My favorite find here, however, were their frites – you know I’m not just a fly girl; I’m a fry girl. And these fries did it for me, greasy and chewy and fluffy, the way fries are meant to be. Can’t wait to have more of these with my burger when I return.

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I was glad their food met my expectations (which were high) but also, the place has a cool factor that is digable. Industrial and bare and rustic, the vibe says it’s a place to sit, to hang, to revel. It’s just what we working class people need. Their motto Sine Labore Nihil is Latin for Without Work, There is Nothing – a stance WCK seems to take on with pride, and one I appreciate, especially when I can treat myself to local spots like these using my hard earned money.

Working Class Kitchen
1322 Coronado Avenue in Long Beach

Ladies Who Dine :: Michael’s Pizzeria

Ladies Who Dine :: Michael’s Pizzeria

Yah, yah, yah. So we cheated a bit this month, going to Michael’s Pizzeria in downtown Long Beach. Cheating because it was a place that each of us (at least the Ladies who made it for our June outing) had been to before. Kind of. Sort of. We’d been to Michael’s Pizzeria in Naples for lunch. But this outing was slightly different because, a) there was wine, b) we were at the downtown location, seated outside, and c) well, because it was LWD, of course – and at Ladies Who Dine, we always have a good time.

Michael's makes Kristina smile
Michael’s makes Kristina smile
Sandy makes Ivonne smile
Sandy makes Ivonne smile

And, we always have wine. Three of us enjoyed their rosé – Gaglioppo Cirò Rosato – which was just sweet enough for a sunny evening. My kid was with me (as LWD President, sometimes I break the rules) and she picked out our seats, the sturdy, large fire-pit table, which may have inhibited conversation in other company. But the Ladies are loud – we were able to hear each other just fine.

My freshly poured glass of rosé
My freshly poured glass of rosé

This is the kind of place that makes me appreciate Long Beach. Located on the Promenade right next to Beachwood BBQ, it gives us suburban LBCers a taste of city life. And the pizzas at Michael’s can hang with the big boys, ranked up there with those from the critically acclaimed Mozza as authentically Italian and wonderful.

Pizze Margherita DOP (Denomination of Origin Protected)
Pizze Margherita DOP (Denomination of Origin Protected)
Pizze Proscuiutto e Arugula
Pizze Carbonara
Insalata di Finocchi
Insalata di Finocchi

That’s right – I’ve posted about Michael’s before. And yes, I’ve gotten the same thing every time I’ve been. But my go-to order – the Pizze Margherita and the Affogato (this time, with Stracchiatella instead of the usual Hazelnut) – is the bomb-diggity. I’m hesitant to try something new when this meal is so complete and satisfying. But when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Or, you should go to Michael’s yourself and tell me what to try next.

Affogatto!!
Affogatto!!

Still, chances are that when it comes time to order, I’ll be asking for the Margherita once again. What can I say? The Ladies are stubborn!

Michael’s Pizzeria
210 E. 3rd Street, Suite C
Long Beach, CA 90802

Tasty Places :: Michael’s Pizzeria, Naples

Tasty Places :: Michael’s Pizzeria, Naples

I know it’s called Naples, but never did I expect to find authentic Italian pizza there, just a 10 minute drive from work. At least I’m told it’s authentic since the closest I’ve gotten to Italy is Mulberry & Grand in Lower Manhattan. Whatever the case, it was magical, just the experience I was craving after weeks of Lean Cuisines, fast food, and leftovers.

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It was all going stunningly well, my Pizza Margherita drizzled with oil, oozing with rich mozzarella and zesty basil, when my dining companions said yes to the Affogato.

What’s Affogato? I’d heard of it before, but didn’t know what it was; learned today that the word means “drowned.” Michael’s version is made with two scoops of house-made hazelnut gelato topped with a piping hot shot of espresso. It blew my mind, this dessert. Plus, there was the bonus of my afternoon buzz – kept me working hard the rest of the day. Well, all I have to say is brava, Michael’s Pizzeria. Brava, and I’ll be seeing you again very soon. Happy new year to you and the family! Only the best for 2013!

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