Monthly Archives: September 2009

Leftovers: Fuego at the Maya

The makings of Long Beach’s own Mayan Riviera for the District:


PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES

Fuego looks out onto the Long Beach of everyone’s oceanfront dream, a seaside theater where pelicans dive with hungry, graceful precision and pleasure-seekers boat by on the last winds of summer. It’s a scene so idyllic it’s nearly unbelievable, almost as if it were constructed and choreographed by a television crew trying again to approximate Miami. For Fuego, the newest tenant of the equally new Hotel Maya, it’s fitting, a perfect backdrop for the restaurant’s high-end exploration of coastal Mexican cooking.

But that sublime setting doesn’t diminish the difficulties of upscaling a cuisine so common in Southern California that even less-than-serious eaters possess a passable understanding of its regional distinctions. As a result, successful Mexican fine dining must undeniably out-cook our taquería favorites and also compete directly with modern masters like La Casita Mexicana in Bell and Moles La Tia in East LA. Chef Jesse Perez is, by and large, up to the task.

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Leftovers: Rio Brazil Café

Feijoada and more for the L.A. Times:


PHOTO by JAY L. CLENDENIN / L.A. TIMES

The menu at Rio Brazil Café seems a relic of restaurant protocol, a vestigial document that exists only to fulfill standard expectations. There has to be a menu, right?

But on it are dishes that are hardly reflective of the Palms restaurant’s best offerings. Rio Brazil Café is governed by the caprices of the kitchen, run by chef-owner Luciene Peck, who deftly cooks her way through Brazil’s regional recipes. These don’t always show up on the menu.

As a result, Rio Brazil Café can feel in flux. Even the restaurant’s name is up for revision, as a recent change is yet to be reflected on the sign, cards and website that are all still emblazoned with the old Brazilian Exotic Foods moniker.

The only constant is the cafe itself: half a dozen tables, lime-green walls and a flat-screen TV broadcasting high-definition diversions.

Read the rest here.

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Leftovers: Foggia Italian Market

Serious sandwiches at Foggia Italian Market and Deli for the District


PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES

Sandwiches are the product of industrial circumstance, traditionally inexpensive meals of two-handed utility meant to be consumed in no more than a few hearty bites. Rarely does an expensive, decadent sandwich ever seem truly worth its weight—the humblest creations please the most. But there’s nothing lowly or undistinguished about the sandwiches constructed at Foggia Italian Market and Deli in Lakewood: they’re bold, brash stomach-stuffers descended from a proud East Coast tradition.

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To Do: Wonton Noodle Eating Contest

Advanced notice on this one, but that might just give you enough time to stretch your stomach: Bamboodles is hosting its second annual Wonton Noodle Eating Contest (download an application here) on October 24th at 3pm. The first-place eater wins $2,500 worth of cash and prizes, while second place earns $300 in cash and prizes.

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