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Foodie Biz

photos by Ben Brown, courtesy Ajenda PR and Localite LA

Bite at the Beach: The Coolest Little Food Festival in the South Bay

The 4th annual Bite at the Beach, hosted by the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, showcased some of the South Bay’s finest food and drink. Taking place at Manhattan Beach’s MBS Studio Lot, this small food festival may have been small in size, but carried on with enormous character and uplifting ambiance.

Food providers ranged from family-owned favorites to hip-and-trendy newcomers, as well as large chains and retailers. Baran’s 2239, Second Story, Lido di Manhattan and Zinc at Shade all prepared fine bites, while The Ripe Choice Catering put on a four-course menu that allowed guests to sit down for a novel experience amidst the food festival atmosphere. On the drink side, The Dudes’ Brewing Co. brought some all-star selections, such as its pecan pie, orange and wheat beers. Rekorderlig poured a variety of ciders and Manhattan Beach Pressed Juicery gave guests a healthy break from the indulgence.

This event also put an interesting spin on the traditional food festival where food and drink vendors are sprawled about with little rhyme or reason. Bite at the Beach paired food and drink vendors together, allowing guests to enjoy a distinct pairing menu at each stop. Add in excellent live entertainment and a beautiful sunny day for a lovely ambiance.

All-in-all there were about 15 food-and-drink pairings, just enough to give guests they variety they were looking for and to keep lines at a minimum. The only critique would be the small size of the venue, which created some congestion among guests. But hey, at $55 a ticket, Bite at the Beach remains a steal.

For more information on Bite at the Beach, visit ManhattanBeachChamber.com/bite-at-the-beach.

Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival to Take Place
Sept 30 – Oct 1

The Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival returns to the contemporary Newport Beach Civic Center on September 30 and October 1.  Tickets are now on sale for the weekend of festivities, kicking off on Friday, September 29, which will include tastings from 40 top Orange County restaurants and their executive chefs, 250 varieties of world-class wine, spirits, and brews, celebrity chef cooking demos and dinners, Master Sommelier tasting panels, VIP events, live music and a new “Havana Nights” after party.

The weekend kicks off on September 29, with a Top Chef women’s all-star dinner hosted by winner Brooke Williamson and fellow competitors, as well as a separate French Connection dinner hosted by Hubert Keller. Additional events throughout the weekend include a Moet-Hennessy Champagne and Petrossian caviar tasting and a dinner at Nobu hosted by the man himself, Nobu Matsuhisa.

For more information, visit NewportWineandFood.com.

The Rockefeller Does Gastro-Americana in the South Bay

The Rockefeller is exactly what you’d expect to find in a beachside gastropub, making a pleasant addition to both Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. Fun spins on American comfort classics, a rustic feel with a beachy undertone, and a price point that reminds you it’s a special occasion without breaking the bank. From the plaid-clad friendly service staff to the list of beers both on tap and incorporated in the menu, The Rockefeller beckons for the energetic crowd that pours in through its doors.

What seems like a small menu at first glance has something for pretty much everyone. The Rockefeller’s largely classic American selections embrace touches from Italy, South of the Border and the Far East. The appetizer selections embodies this trait more than anywhere else on the menu. The allagash queso, for instance, which has all the elements of the Tex-Mex favorite but goes a step further with added chorizo for a pleasantly smoky character. The truffle mac ‘n’ cheese is a heavenly, creamy compilation with bacon in tow. Add meatballs, flatbreads and ceviche to the mix and you still don’t have the full list of options available.

Burgers are certainly the focal point here, and at that epicenter is the Rockefeller burger, the restaurant’s luxurious namesake with ‘wagyu’ beef, truffle bacon jam, taleggio and garlic aioli for a rich, hearty finish. The everyday diner can still relish in the basics, however, with the American Prime burger being an excellent [and economic] option.

For more information visit EatRockefeller.com.

Captain Kidd’s: Dive Dining Meets High-End Seafood in Redondo Beach

Captain Kidd’s has been a Redondo Beach staple for 40 years. What started as a local fish market by a fisherman family has evolved into a locally-renowned hotspot for fresh, sustainable seafood imported from across the world. While this may not be the classiest place for its price point, Captain Kidd’s will assure you an authentic dining experience with quality seafood as its focal point.

Captain Kidd’s, as both a fish market and a restaurant, works in two ways. They have a standard restaurant menu that features your classic fish plates, fish tacos, fish ‘n’ chips, lobster rolls and the like. In addition, they allow guests to choose their meal from the fish market display on the other side of the counter, where Captain Kidd’s staff recommends and executes on the most fitting preparation method. The latter route allows you to venture outside the traditional menu and truly make your own meal from one of the finest seafood selections in the South Bay.

The shrimp here are simply spectacular. Caught in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche and the size of lobster tails, these rare shrimp stay true to Captain Kidd’s claim as ‘simply the best.’ King Salmon from British Columbia are fileted in-house twice a day for maximum freshness. Six varietals of crab range from large to enormous, with several of those varietals also swimming in tanks on the other side of the market.

The traditional menu is much more, well, traditional, with excellent shrimp and fish tacos, killer lobster bisque and meaty New England clam chowder.

For more information, visit Captain Kidd’s at CaptainKidds.com.

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