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|| News Item: Posted 2003-09-29

The Road Warrior: Workshop & Luau Dining Guide
By Mongo Johnson

Photo by
This is actually a an updated composite (think Walski) version of last years, Eat, Drink, and be Merry in Manhattan Beach and Mongo's Luau Party Guide.

YEOW! The luau is only about a month away, and although the schedule is cram packed with sessions all day and all night, you gotta eat sometime.

Well let's see now, what's changed since last year? Restaurant closures? Bars remodeling? Well duh, dinning establishments open and close about as fast as Apple has to update and fix their OS.

(Or "dude I don't have a car, where can I go?")

***Walk out the front door of the Marriott and look to the right. (east)***

See the cluster of buildings with the green terracotta tile roofs, about 150 meters away?

That's your dining destination.

$5.00 to $10.00
An upscale yuppie supermarket for the wealthy, healthy, bronzed bodies of the beach. Besides the regular market fare of fresh fruits and vegetables, this place has the most amazing deli / restaurant, serving everything from Beef Wellington, to Sushi, Brie stuffed strawberries to Southwestern duck quesadillas. If you're a wine or beer snob, they have over 30 different beers and a wine selection to bust anybody's wallet.

This is one of the few places you could take the entire student contingent of Brooks and find something for everybody, veg heads and meatheads alike. If you have a big group, this is the place to go, because there's a nice outdoor deck next the market where you can all break bread together. (hint, hint, this would be a cool place to hang out after the luau ends Sat evening)
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Panini sandwiches.]

$4.00 to $6.00
This is a fast food teriyaki grill. It's pretty run of the mill and the white rice is nothing to write home about. (Only slightly better than uncle bens) If you're on a diet, try the skinless chicken teriyaki bowl.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Yakisoba noodles.]

$4.00 to $6.00
Guppie Mexican food, kinda like a Baja fresh but without the chain restaurant stigma. Still it's a lot better than most strip mall taco joints.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Black bean burrito.]

$3.00 to $5.00
In a hurry? On a budget? Work for those cheap bastards at the AP? Guess you'll be eating here.

$3.00 to $5.00
Can't bring yourself to ingest a coffee and Danish for breakfast? Get healthy and step into Jamba Juice.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Orange dreamsicle.]

$10.00 to $20.00
Chic, Chic, Italian food. If you're looking for the quintessential California / Italian dining experience, this is the place to go. Featuring an excellent selection of salads, pastas, pizzas and sandwiches, this is a favorite haunt of the studio execs from the neighboring Raleigh studios.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - homemade chicken sausage with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, pine nuts and mascarpone cheese, sautéed in olive oil and garlic, tossed with Cajun penne.]

$10.00 to $25.00
Red meat eaters rejoice! You have found your home! Savory steaks & prime rib, and spare ribs so tender that the meat falls off the bone. Don't miss the spinach dip!!!! BEWARE, they don't take reservations and the wait can be an hour long on FRI or SAT nights.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - prime rib (rare).]

$4.00 to $7.00
A blast from the past. Ever hear your parents talk about the good old days? Well this is the kind of place and food they were reminiscing about. Killer hamburgers, chilli fries, and shakes.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - St. Louis burger.]

***Out the front door of the Marriott, look straight ahead, 200 meters across the street. And you'll find***

$6.00 to $12.00
South of the border food transplanted to south of the airport. If you were a Mexican national eating here, you'd bitch about the bad translation of you're country's food. Think of a fancy taco bell that serves tequila and you kind of get the picture.

$10.00 TO $20.00
An upscale combo of diner, home cooking, and Cali yup. Meatloaf, to Sauteed Sandabs. You could find something of interest for everybody. Yeah it's a chain, and there are lots of them, so one of them has to be good. (let's hope it's this one)

$7.00 to $15.00
Expensive yuppie Chinese food for White Folks. Don't get me wrong, the food is EXCELLENT and some of the dishes are almost imaginative. But it's a chain, so a Chang's in Salt Lake City is just like a Chang's in Manhattan Beach. (Gee and you wonder why all Orientals look alike?)
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Beef ala Sichuan.]

$10.00 to $25.00
Seafood, Seafood, and more Seafood. On an average night this place has over 30 different varieties of fresh fish on hand. Broiled, baked, grilled, seared, steamed, or deep-fried. Yes it's a chain like Chang's BUT it's consistently GOOD.

$8.00 to $20.00
The Real Deal in Japanese cuisine, served in a ultra hip and trendy atmosphere. Soba or Udon noodles, bento box style lunches, donburi and sushi, it's all here. This is jap food even Hanashiro likes.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Chilean seabass kasuzuke.]

$5.00 to $6.00
Hands down the BEST fast food subs on the planet. Once you have a Quizno's you'll NEVER set foot in another Subway. Good salads and soups too.
[MONGO's FAVORITE - Honey bacon club.]

MONGO's LUAU PARTY GUIDE (or dude I've got wheels, let's rock!)

***** HERMOSA BEACH *****

Located a scant 4 miles south of the hotel, lies Hermosa Beach, the crown jewel of beach party life.

Immortalized in song and video by the Beach Boys and David Lee Roth, this sleepy bedroom community by the sea, transforms itself into PARTY CENTRAL every Friday and Saturday night.

Your destination is the PIER AVE. party zone, a (1) block radius area jam packed with bars and restaurants.


Out the front door of the Marriott to ROSECRANS BLVD. Left turn onto ROSECRANS, stay in the left lane and turn left onto SEPULVEDA, go south on SEPULVEDA for 2.8 miles till you get to PIER AVE. turn right onto PIER AVE and follow it till it dead ends. This is about a 10-minute drive. If it takes you more than 10 min. then you fucked up and are now lost.

Parking is a BUGGER in any of the beach cities. The time you waste trying to find a parking space could be better spent partying. Do the smart thing and take a cab, then everybody can get gassed.

>>>WARNING <<<
Parking is a BUGGER, no really I mean it. Even if you do manage to find a parking space, chances are you won't have enough change to feed the meter. THE primary revenue stream for the city of Hermosa Beach is parking citations. The parking Gestapo pilot the latest 3 wheel INTERCEPTORS, which can do 0 to 60 kilometers per hour in 3.6 seconds. When time runs out on your meter, a micro GPS transmitter sends a signal to the closest meter maid and ZOOM they're on your ass with a ticket written and on your windscreen quicker than you can say "god save the queen".

Take an old world English tavern, add in a beach front location, a second story sundeck with views from Malibu to Catalina, mix in a bunch of bronzed, bikini clad babes and you have Wally Skaliji's favorite beach hideout. Good burgers and be sure to try the fish and chips.

One of the oldest jazz clubs in Los Angeles. Before the House of Blues was even a marketing concept, the Lighthouse was packing them in.

A pale imitation of Hennesy's tavern.

Raging babe fest! And the fish tacos are pretty good too.

Raging babe fest! The Tapas are the best in the Southbay, you should go here with at least 4 or more so you can order lots of different plates.

Good jazz club with passable Cajun food.

Good pool hall. Don't play with anybody that has their own stick.

So you want the chic LA club scene but you don't want the drive? Check out Club 705. It's got good sound and comfy couches. Stay away from the sushi bar. You can do better with a can of tuna and some saltines.


There's a smattering of small very EXPENSIVE supper clubs and bars scattered throughout Manhattan, but nothing to compare to Hermosa Beach.

(Besides we don't want any of your ilk hanging out in our backyard.)

There are a couple of dining establishments you will want to know about:

Located at the corner of Manhattan Beach Blvd. and Highland Ave. Open 24 hours a day, this south bay fixture has been feeding the post 2:00 am party hordes for decades. EXCELLENT breakfasts, good sandwiches, salads, and soups, this place is 2 big steps UP from your typical Denny's.

Located at 916 N. Sepulveda Blvd, that's the east side of the street, is Hanashiro's favorite Hawaiian dinning experience. If you need an authentic island style meal, this IS the place.

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