Saturday, May 30, 2015

Occasionally one walks into a restaurant and after viewing the ambiance and menu thinks "why did it take me so long to come here?"  This is exactly what this Writer thought after experiencing the 22nd St. Landing Seafood Grill & Bar in San Pedro.
Actually the 22nd St. Landing is celebrating a 25th anniversary this year.  It is no secret why this restaurant has been a magnet for customers for so many years.  The dining room, on the second floor, shows a fine view of the Yacht Marina in San Pedro.  The menu is large and the selection of seafoods wondrous.
We were there for lunch and opened with fried calamari and herb seared rare ahi.  Then followed with the California Seafood Cioppino and grilled scallops.
This was too much food but Chef Roberto Flores wanted us to taste some of the favorites that have achieved fame for the restaurant. Chef Flores has been at the 22nd St. Landing for sixteen years.
For those not wanting seafood there is a selection of Angus beef steaks as well as chicken and a long list of pastas.  The fresh hot breadsticks were excellent.
There is also an excellent dessert menu but alas after all our "tasting" we had to mournfully decline.
22nd St. Landing is located at 141 22nd Street in San Pedro with ample free off street parking.
For more information call 310 548-4400.

Friday, May 22, 2015

We have long known and visited the Enterprise Fish Company restaurant in Santa Barbara and enjoyed not only its outstanding seafoods but also the ambiance.  But until last evening a visit to the Enterprise restaurant in Santa Monica had eluded us.
So finally the opportunity arrived for us to dine at the Santa Monica restaurant and we were not disappointed in any way.  The service casual but most professional and we thought our waitress outstanding.  The menu is long and of course lists almost every seafood available in season.  Steaks and burgers are listed but you go to Enterprise for seafood.
My dining partner opened with a cup of Manhattan chowder and then ordered the scallop risotto, a house favorite.   We decided on  fish n' chips also  listed as a house favorite.  Our plate was huge with three large portions of fish as well as a plate covered with sweet potato fries.
My dining partner had nothing but praise for both the chowder and the scallops but could not quite manage to clear her plate,  I couldn't my plate either.
Enterprise Fish Company in Santa Monica is located at 174 Kinney Street.  Telephone 310 392-8366.
The Santa Barbara location is on State Street adjacent to the Railroad Station. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

While moving through the Inland Empire we discovered an outstanding restaurant called China Point.  It is located at 9028 Archibald Ave. in Rancho Cucamonga.
China Point shows a large menu featuring both Mandarin and Szechwan cuisines.  Judy and Simon Chang are owners with Simon in the kitchen as chef.  He shows an interesting style, all his own, with full flavors in every dish that we tried that evening.
Noodles at China Point are made on premise and we noted some items not often seen today on Chinese menus such as Egg Foo Young and Moo Goo Gai Pan, one of our long time favorites and a list of Moo Shu dishes.
The menu is large here and everything is cooked to order.  A prominent sign reminds customers that some of the restaurant's  specialities take time in preparation so some patience may be necessary.
China Point Restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays.  Hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Telephone 909 466-8766.
Last year the Southern California Restaurant Writers rated China Point four stars.

Friday, May 15, 2015

In May one of my  activities is presenting scholarship awards to Southern California Community Colleges with culinary arts programs.  For four decades the Southern California Restaurant Writers has each year set aside funds to encourage students to enter culinary arts programs.
It is called the Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund in honor of our late founding member.
I am scholarship chairman and my assignment is to present the checks to the chosen schools.  The students for scholarships are chosen by the school.
At San Bernardino Valley College a honors gathering took place earlier this week and I was present to present the school with a $1000 scholarship check.
It was my good fortune to meet one of the students who won one of these scholarships.  She is Wendy Davis and is preparing to become a pastry chef.
The students prepared an exciting buffet for the Honors Reception which was held in the Sun Room.
Adjacent is the College's culinary arts classes which currently has some 300 students.
Three other schools that received $1000 checks were Orange Coast College, Riverside City College, and Harbor College in San Pedro.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Pacific Dining Car Restaurant and Bar in Santa Monica is celebrating a 25th anniversary this year.
The decision to establish a second Dining Car Restaurant was made and acted upon in 1990.
The original Pacific Dining Car Restaurant has been serving and delighting the people of Los Angeles since 1921.
So one night last week we visited the restaurant in Santa Monica and it proved to be a memorable evening.
We dined with Isidro Pineda, who is general manager at Santa Monica as well as his wife Bertha and renewed our acquaintance with his daughter, Nadine, who is an assistant manager and Hostess at the restaurant.
The menu is an exact duplicate of the downtown Pacific Dining Car and the policy of being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year also holds true.
Isidro Pineda's career with the Pacific Dining Car extends some 38 years.  Starting downtown washing pots and pans, then Bus Boy and moving on to Waiter.  He was named G.M. at Santa Monica eight years ago.
This long time relationship between owners and employees is a tradition at the Pacific Dining Car.  We first became acquainted with the Pineda family when we met Nadine, who was representing Pacific Dining Car, at the recent Awards Banquet of the Southern California Restaurant Writers.
Our review of this evening can be found in the Summer issue of Vittles, Vintages & Voyages.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Last evening I was at Harbor Community College in Wilmington to present a $1000 scholarship on behalf of the Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund of the Southern California Restaurant Writers.  For decades it has been the practice of the Writers group to present these scholarships to students participating in  community college culinary arts program.
Harbor College Culinary Arts Department is one of four community colleges that will receive scholarship checks this year.
The check was presented last evening to Chef Giovanni Del Rosario who is director and executive chef at Harbor College.  The event was one of several dinners presented by the students during the school year, each dinner representing a different cuisine.  The dinner we attended was Mexican Cuisine and about one hundred people dined in what is called the Harbor Bistro.
The student team that planned and prepared the dinner were all from the third semester Culinary Arts class.
It was a five course dinner with students also acting as servers and included a salad, two soups, a watermelon intermezzo, then two entrees followed by dessert.
Last week the dinner was Chinese cuisine and next week it will be Italian.

Monday, May 4, 2015

We had the opportunity to become acquainted with the wines of Beckmen Vineyards when we attended a dinner presented by the Ventura County Chapter of Wine Investigation for Novices and Oenphiles, W.I.N.O.
The dinner took place at the acclaimed Cafe Zack and the wines were presented by Neil Redmond, Tasting Room and Sales manager for the winery. 
Beckmen Vineyards was founded in 1996 by Tom and Judy Beckmen and their son, Steve.  Located near Los Olivos with vineyards in the Ballard Canyon area, the winery produces wines from the Rhone varietals which are particularly suited to the region's terroir.
Zack owners Hector Gomez and Alvonso Bello matched the Beckmen wines with a five course dinner.
The wines included a 2014 Rose from Grenache followed by a 2014 estate Sauvignon Blanc which was produced in stainless steel.
We gave high points for the Beckmen 2012 Cuvee Le  Bec which is a Rhone Red Blend.  Impressive was the 2012 Syrah which showed its barrel aging with strong but smooth flavors.
Leader of the WINO group, now in its fourth decade, is Jeanne Bartlett.
Cafe Zack is located at `1095 East Thompson Blvd., Ventura.  Telephone 805 643-9445.  More about Beckmen Vineyards can be found on a well done website,

Friday, May 1, 2015

The beauty and history of France is nowhere better illustrated than the Loire Valley.  As the geographic center of the country it has always been a center of heritage and culture.  It also produces some of the best white wines in France and some excellent reds as well.
This was well demonstrated to us when we attended the 'Spring to Loire! The Loire Valley Wines' Day in L.A.'  This tasting of Loire wines took place at the Millwick located in L.A.'s Arts District.
The Loire Valley has several wine appellations some famous like Vouvray, Pays Nanais, Pouilly-Fume, and Saumur-Champigny.
Some well known grape varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc for white wines were originally from this region.  For some reds as well, Gamay, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.
Seventeen importers were on hand to show their vintages at the tasting accompanied by some most tasty appetizers.
The Loire Valley event started at noon and continued into the evening.  We arrived early and after tasting a few select vintages and enjoying some interesting discussion left early to miss the ever present traffic.