Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Retreat to Hermosa Beach

My parents escaped the Midwestern winter last weekend, and treated J and me to a few nights at the lovely Beach House hotel in Hermosa Beach. Our oceanfront suite was steps away from the surf, and the room's fireplace, jacuzzi tub, abundance of pillows, and stereo system made for a decadent retreat. Though we could have easily spent the whole time alternating between lazing on the beach and lazing in our rooms, we did venture forth for meals, and we found some standouts.

The best was La Sosta Enoteca, a cozy spot on a residential block right on the border between Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. The Italian, specifically Venetian, pasta menu features a favorite of mine, risi i bisi, as well as gnocchi in lobster sauce, multiple risottos and various homemade noodles. My parents went for the lobster gnocchi--light potato dumplings enveloped in a creamy sauce with small lobster pieces. I settled on the risotto with taleggio and speck (smoked mountain ham). Richly flavored, it was one of the better risottos I've had outside of my own kitchen. I also started with a sweetly-dressed salad of arugula and radicchio, a pleasing contrast to my risotto, simple and satisfyingly crisp. Had we not snacked back at the hotel, we'd likely have ordered a starter of meats and cheese--they have quite the selection. With all the hard surfaces, the place is LOUD and the music playing when we arrived (some kind of thump-thump-thump techno type garbage) didn't help, but the soundtrack soon settled on some Miles Davis, making for a more relaxing meal.

Mediterraneo, right on the pedestrian-only strip leading to the Hermosa pier, was a pleasant surprise. Its shady patio was the setting for a lazy lunch comprised of a handful of tapas (which you order like sushi, by checking off your picks on a slip of paper), a Spanish Cobb Salad (serrano ham, cabreles cheese), a gyro and a chicken sandwich--accompanied by some beers and, in my case, a tasty mojito (that traditional mediterranean drink). The prices were right, the food was flavorful, and best of all, we felt like we were on an exotic vacation, less than an hour away from home.

La Sosta Enoteca
2700 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90254

73 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254


Chubbypanda said...

I love the beach. I love Italian food. Stop living my dream! =D

Fer said...

That sounds delightful! Hmmmmm. I need a mini vaca....and you all ready laid out the hot spots for me!

Carrie said...

At Mediterraneo on Thursday's they have this happy hour where tapas are two for one. It's an amazing deal.

There's also this crepe restaurant up that main street of Hermosa Beach that is just amazing. That other place you're talking about sounds good though, I'll have to try it next time.

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Florida Beach Cottages said...

Mouthwatering pasta galore plus a picturesque ocean view... Sounds like genuine paradise alright. :)