Category Archives: Manhattan Beach

14 Best Peanut Butter Treats in LA for 2018


I am a peanut butter fanatic, a peanut butter fiend, a peanut butter junkie. I am nuts about peanut butter and I love it more than almost anything else. If a restaurant or bakery has a peanut butter dessert on the menu, I automatically order it. And I always keep a jar at home in the fridge for snacking or adding to other desserts. After years of dedicated research, I share with you my 14 current favorite peanut butter treats in Los Angeles (in no particular order).

Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie 'n Burger

1. Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger (913 E. California in Pasadena) This is one awesome pie. Creamy and delicious peanut butter pudding in a delcious butter crust topped with meringue. They serve it every other day, alternating with Butterscotch Meringue Pie.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Mashti Malone's

2. Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream (1525 N. La Brea Ave. in Hollywood) This frozen treat is rich and creamy with chunks of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s surprising that a store famous for their Persian rosewater ice creams and sorbets would make the best peanut butter ice cream in the city, but they do!

“Old School” Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich from PBJ.LA

3. “Old School” Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich from PBJ.LA (317 S. Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles) The hippest new stall in Grand Central Market is a purveyor of old school goodness, including this round sandwich of house-made peanut butter and house-made jam on two slices of soft crustless white bread which have been pressed together around the edges to form a pocket.

The Huell from Stan's Doughnuts

4. The Huell from Stan’s Doughnuts (10948 Weyburn Ave. in Westwood) Stan’s actually makes three amazing peanut butter doughnuts: a Peanut Butter & Banana Doughnut, a PB&J Doughnut and “The Huell,” with chocolate chips and peanut butter, named after local TV celebrity Huell Howser.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from Charcoal Venice

5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from Charcoal Venice (425 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey) If this rich, moist layer cake made with chocolate and peanut butter wasn’t decadent enough, it’s served with a generous scoop of McConnell’s incredible Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream.

Peanut Butter Popcorn from California Frozen Poppers

6. Peanut Butter Popcorn from California Frozen Poppers (7138 Shoup Ave, West Hills) If you’ve never had frozen popcorn, this is a good place to start. The Peanut Butter flavor at this awesome store is crunchy, salty and perfectly sweet.

Peanut Brittle Cookie from M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica

Peanut Butter Cookie from M Street Kitchen

7. Peanut Butter Cookie from M Street Kitchen (2000 Main St, Santa Monica) This is my favorite peanut butter cookie in town. It pairs well with a nice glass of milk.

Peanut Butter Chip Cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes

8. Peanut Butter Chip Cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes (9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills) This is my all-time favorite cupcake. Chocolate chip-studded peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting covered in chocolate sprinkles. They only have them on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cakewich from Cake Monkey

9. Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cakewich from Cake Monkey Bakery (7807 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles) Happiness is a yummy yellow cake sandwich filled with peanut buttercream, housemade marshmallow and coated with bittersweet chocolate.

Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery

10. Susie’s Nutty (Whoppie Pie) from SusieCakes (Locations in Los Angeles, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Studio City, Brentwood, Manhattan Beach and Marina del Rey) Who wouldn’t love two chewy peanut butter cookies sandwiched with peanut butter buttercream?

Susie’s Nutty (Whoopie Pie) from SusieCakes

11. Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery (8389 W. 3rd Street in Mid-City) This is one of several peanut butter offerings from one of my favorite bakeries in the city. It has a super light, creamy and delicious filling which sits atop a denser crust. I can devour a slice in about five seconds flat.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do

12. Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do (315 E. 1st St. in Little Tokyo/Downtown) This sweet shop has some of the best mochi in town and my favorites are these soft and chewy mochi disks stuffed with peanut butter. It’s the Japanese equivalent of an Abba Zabba bar!

Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar

13. Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar (11915 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City) Top Chef’s Antonia Lofaso has created this dessert sandwich of peanut butter, marshmallow and bananas on sweet brioche, which is covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried until golden. It’s wicked good!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich from Diddy Riese

14: Diddy Riese Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich (926 Broxton Ave. in Westwood) There always seems to be a line outside Diddy Riese, which bakes up delicious cookies. I love their ice cream sandwich made with Dreyer’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and peanut butter cookies. At $2.50, the price can’t be beat!

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Downtown, Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City, West Hills, Westwood, Woodland Hills

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 12.23.02 AM
2013 was a year of unrestrained action and fervid movement; a year of twerking and not treading lightly. We experienced the exuberance of the Harlem Shake, the fury of the Red Wedding and the whirlwind of Sharknado. And the Los Angeles restaurant scene was no exception. 2013 saw the continued meteoric rise of Los Angeles as one of the dominant food cities in the world. Of all of the offerings from LA culinary movers and shakers that I wrote about in 2013, the following are my ten favorites.

Hannosuke Tendon
10. Tendon (Tempura Rice Bowl) with Fresh Salt Water Eel from Hannosuke. This stand in the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Mar Vista is the only place in LA that serves the kind of tempura that you would find in Japan. Their Tendon is a glorious pile of golden brown, crispy, salty and unctuous tempura with a slightly sweet sauce piled high on a bed of rice. Plus there’s a tempura soft-boiled egg to break open and mix with your rice. Need I say more?

Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare from Fishing With Dynamite
9. Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare from Fishing with Dynamite. I wouldn’t normally get that excited about tuna tartare, but Chef David LeFevre’s unusual version of the dish at his fun new South Bay seafood joint is exceptionally good. It has complex layers of flavor, a nice kick of spice and it’s served with two giant crispy shrimp chips.

Pulled Pork Sandwich from Roadside Eats
8. Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich from Roadside Eats. This unexpected discovery in Hollywood is my favorite new sandwich of the year. It’s overflowing with a mixture of crispy, tender and sweet shredded pork, vinegary coleslaw and pickle chips.

Shaved Mushroom Pizza with Gruyere, Melted Onions, Black Truffle, Torn Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme from Stella Barra Pizzeria
7. Mushroom and Truffle Pizza from Stella Barra Pizzeria. This is hands-down my favorite pizza in the city. With Stella Barra’s new second location in Holllywood, Eastsiders who won’t schlep to Santa Monica can now experience umami pizza greatness.

Chocolate Soup (served with Vanilla Ice Cream and Baklava) from Tagine
6. Chocolate Soup from Tagine. This is the only dessert to make my list and it’s incredible. Served with vanilla ice cream and baklava, this “soup” is the crescendo of an incredible meal of modern Moroccan cuisine. Its rich flavor reminds me of Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity in NYC.

Chubby Pork Belly Rice Bowl from Chego
5. Chubby Pork Belly Rice Bowl from Chego. Roy Choi is a genius at elevating street food and the rice bowls at Chego are no exception. My favorite thing to order there is the comforting yet complex “Chubby Pork Belly,” an insanely good combination of kochujang-lacquered Kurobuta pork belly, fried egg, pickled radishes, water spinach, Chinese broccoli, cotija cheese, peanuts and steamed rice.

Anticucho de Pulpo (Grilled Octopus with Roasted Potatoes and Jalapeno Sauce) from Mo-Chica
4. Grilled Octopus with Roasted Potatoes and Jalapeno Sauce from Mo-Chica. This is my favorite of all the new dishes introduced by chef Ricardo Zarate when he moved his Modern Peruvian eatery to its new location on 7th Street Downtown. It’s a sublime mix of savory flavors and textures, and easily the best octopus dish I’ve ever eaten.

Chicken Liver Toast and Date Jam from Alma
3. Chicken Liver Toast and Date Jam from Alma. There are so many dishes I love at Alma, but if I had to pick just one, this would be it. I love the combination of sweet and savory, and this pairing of the most delicious chicken liver mousse I’ve ever tasted and toast covered in a delectable date jam is total perfection.

Potato Pulp
2. Potato Pulp from Trois Mec. Trois Mec was the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year and the incredible food and intimate dining experience I had there certainly lived up to the hype. The Potato Pulp has quickly become the restaurant’s signature dish and combines potatoes, brown butter, onion soubise, Salers cheese and bonito flakes into a plate of transcendent awesomeness.

Lamb Neck with Creamy Oats from The Gorbals
1. Lamb Neck with Creamy Oats from The Gorbals. Tender, juicy, incredibly flavorful and falling right off the bone, this is the best lamb dish I’ve ever eaten. Uber-talented chef Ilan Hall serves it atop a risotto-like bed of deliciously creamy oats. It’s wonderfully rich and decadent and it’s my favorite dish that I wrote about this year.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Downtown, Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Mar Vista, Santa Monica

Boom Goes the Dynamite

Maryland Blue Crab Cake
If there was a Justice League for LA’s top chefs, David LeFevre would be included as “South Bay Man” or perhaps would just be known as “The Beachcomber.” He would travel on a turbo-charged beach cruiser, his flapping cape adorned with an “MB” shield and his utility belt replete with oyster knife and spatula. His superpower would remain the same: bringing kick ass cuisine to the impoverished palates of bronzed surfer dudes and beautiful volleyball babes in Manhattan Beach.

After opening the South Bay’s first great restaurant, MB Post, a couple years ago, LeFevre has now brought a second excellent eatery to the Beach Cities. Fishing with Dynamite is a tiny but bustling Eastern Seaboard-style oyster bar and seafood house located just a stone’s throw from the Manhattan Beach Pier. It’s a fun place to enjoy a cocktail such as the “Original Gangster” (Boulevardier with White Dog Whiskey, Aperol, Vya Sweet & Grapefruit) or the “Branding Iron” (Beer Flip with Oro Acholado Pisco, Egg, Vanilla, Nutmeg & Witte Bier), while slurping down Mattaki Oysters or indulging in some Peruvian Scallops or Little Neck Clams. The menu also features an array of delicious seafood concoctions such as Black Miso Cod, Maryland Blue Crab Cake (pictured above) and a truly spectacular Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare. For those concerned with sustainable fishing practices, don’t get bent out of shape over the restaurant’s playful name. There is no actual dynamite fishing with regard to the seafood served by LeFevre; superheroes don’t condone that sort of thing.

Fishing with Dynamite is located at 1148 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach. Reservations are taken for only a couple tables; everything else, including seats at the raw bar and cocktail bar, is for walk-ins.

Oysters on the Half Shell with Horseradish, Lemon, Cocktail Sauce and Ponzu Sauce

Oysters on the Half Shell with Horseradish, Lemon, Cocktail Sauce and Ponzu Sauce


Chef David's Mother's Cape Cod Squash Rolls with Rosemary Butter

Chef David’s Mother’s Cape Cod Squash Rolls with Rosemary Butter


Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare

Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare


Beer Battered Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage and Spicy Crema with Lime and Cilantro on Housemade Corn Tortillas

Beer Battered Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage and Spicy Crema with Lime and Cilantro on Housemade Corn Tortillas


Maple Pudding with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Candied Pecans and Rosemary Sandies

Maple Pudding with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Candied Pecans and Rosemary Sandies


A tiny place with a party atmosphere

A tiny place with a party atmosphere


Chef David LeFevre

Chef David LeFevre


A second great restaurant for Manhattan Beach!

A second great restaurant for Manhattan Beach!



Fishing With Dynamite on Urbanspoon

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The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2012

Best LA Eats
2012 was a banner year food-wise in the City of Angels. Angelenos have never before had so many amazing restaurant options and I have tried to cover many of them on this blog. Of all the dishes that I wrote about in 2012, the following are my ten favorites; the ones that I happily dream about and crave pretty much all the time. Some of them were introduced at exciting and cutting-edge new local eateries this past year, while others are things that I have loved for years. Most are not “healthy choices,” so if you’re planning to make a New Year’s resolution to watch your weight, get to work; you only have a few days left to indulge!

Beef Roll

10. Beef Roll at 101 Noodle Express I’m crazy about this Northeastern Chinese delicacy made of thinly sliced and braised fatty beef with fresh chopped cilantro and sweet bean sauce rolled in a fried doughy Chinese pancake. It’s salty, crispy, beefy and incredibly delicious!

Papa Rellena

9. Papa Rellena at Porto’s Bakery & Cafe This Cuban treat (which I finally wrote about this past year) is essentially a ball of mashed potatoes which has been filled with seasoned ground beef and deep fried; kind of a spherical mini Shepherd’s Pie. Muy delicioso!

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuit

8. Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuit with Maple Butter at MB Post Even if you live in the Valley or the Eastside, these biscuits are reason alone to travel to Manhattan Beach. Served hot out of the oven with soft and sweet maple butter, they are outrageously good.

Maple Custard Pie

7. Maple Custard Pie at The Pie Hole The only dessert to make the list, this is possibly the best pie I have ever had. It is the perfect combination of a sublime buttery not-too-sweet crust and an incredible caramelized custardy filling. I only wish they sold it year round!

Fried Clams

6. Fried Clams at Sonny McLean’s Irish Pub I went on a mission this year to find authentic New England-style battered and fried “whole belly” Ipswich clams (not strips!) and was surprised to find the real deal at this little Boston Irish sports bar in Santa Monica. They’re wicked good!

Cuban Torta

5. Cuban Torta with Pork Terrine, Prosciutto, Provolone, Pickled Jalapeno & Mustard at Sunny Spot Of all the amazing dishes at Chef Roy Choi’s creative Caribbean-themed restaurant, this mouth-watering, non-traditional version of a Cuban sandwich is my favorite.

"Philly Cheesesteak"

“Philly Cheesesteak”

4. “Philly Cheesesteak” at The Bazaar The Bazaar is one of my favorite restaurants in the city and my favorite dish is this playful take on the Philadelphia classic sandwich. It’s made with “air bread” and cheddar cheese, and covered with thin slices of Wagyu beef and finely chopped chives.

Steak Tartare and Mustard Ice Cream

3. Steak Tartare and Mustard Ice Cream at Eat Drink Americano Savory and spicy mustard ice cream may not sound appealing on its own, but once mixed with a delectable steak tartare, the resulting flavor combination is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before and out of this world!

"The Toron" Bäco

2. “The Touron” Bäco at Bäco Mercat Each of Chef Josef Centeno’s original sandwich creations called “Bäcos” are works of culinary genius. However, the best in my opinion is The Touron with oxtail hash, pickle, potato & cheddar cheese on Bäco Mercat’s signature flatbread.

Gougere Sliders

Gougere Sliders

1. Gougere Sliders with Fried Oysters, Tartar Sauce, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Arugula” at Little Bear These little sandwiches on Greyere cheese puffs combine cheese, dough, bacon and fried oysters, so it’s not a total surprise that they are my favorite dish of the year. I love them!

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Filed under Alhambra, Arcadia, Burbank, Culver City, Downey, Downtown, Glendale, Manhattan Beach, Mid-City, Santa Monica, Venice

Going Postal


Great restaurants have not been what comes to mind when thinking of Manhattan Beach, or anywhere in the South Bay for that matter. A beautiful beach, bike-riding, blondes and bars are usually what I associate with this coastal community. But an unexpected and amazing restaurant opened recently and it’s now the first thing I think about when Manhattan Beach is mentioned. MB Post is the first truly spectacular restaurant to open in the South Bay. The restaurant’s name was inspired by the postal office that originally occupied its space and in homage to such origin, upon being seated, you are presented with an envelope with your name on it which contains your menu folded like a letter. As a self-described “Social House,” MB Post has a fun and vivacious atmosphere. Many of the tables are communal and a lively bar serves up delicious original cocktails.

Like Bäco Mercat, which I reviewed a few months ago, the creative and rustic cuisine prepared by genius chef David LeFevre (formerly of the Water Grill) defies classification. With Asian, Moroccan, Mexican and Italian-inspired dishes, the restaurant’s seasonal menu reads like an exotic trip around the world. The dishes are all small plates and are meant for sharing. Everything I have had at MB Post has been excellent, but the one menu item that is an absolute must-have is the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits with Maple Butter. These biscuits are beyond incredible and the maple butter is insane! Other dishes I love are the Vietnamese Caramel Pork Jowl (pictured above), the Spring Pea Rissotto, the Diver Scallops with Shrimp-Ginger Dumplings and Katsuo Dashi Broth and the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Emmental, Hazelnuts and Sage. If you read this blog regularly, you know how much I love peanut butter, so it’s no surprise that I highly recommend for dessert the “Elvis,” a wonderful mess of chocolate pudding, peanut butter mousse and bacon brittle.

MB Post is located at 1142 Manhattan Ave. in Manhattan Beach. If you don’t live near Manhattan Beach and think it would be too much of a schlep to drive down there for dinner, trust me, it is well worth it.

Yummy Cocktails!

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuit served with Maple Butter

Spring Pea Risotto

Diver Scallops with Shrimp-Ginger Dumplings and Katsuo Dashi Broth

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Emmental, Hazelnuts and Sage

The "Elvis" (chocolate pudding, peanut butter mousse and bacon brittle)

Spiced Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel Sauce

Manhattan Beach finally has a truly great restaurant!

MB Post on Urbanspoon

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