I just returned from California to Massachusetts this past Saturday, and I want to thank everyone that supplied me with the medley of chowhound eating places near LAX.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to try all of them, but I'm keeping the list for my next venture out to the west coast.
The two restaurants that I did try out, Chef Hanne's in El Segundo and Joe's on Abbot Kinney, had magnificent California homecooked cuisine.
I tried out Chef Hanne's on my arrival at LAX. There was plenty of parking on the street albeit was a Tuesday evening. The place was small but quaint with a nice small town atmosphere. They did accept reservations for my wife and myself which was a plus. Yes, there was a bit of noise in the place, but it's no surprise that the place gets crowded when it serves up reasonably priced excellent food.
When I returned to L.A., after making an intermediate stop in San Francisco, I spent Friday morning and afternoon in the Venice Beach area and had lunch at Joe's. The place had about twice as much seating as Chef Hanne's, without even considering the closed section that is currently undergoing renovations.
The food here, however, was magnificent, a real hidden gem for locals. Once again the food was reasonably priced considering the gourmet quality of the cuisine.
I had a mixed seafood grill that was a special for the day, and my wife had the grilled shrimp risotto seasoned with saffron. She was so overwhelmed by her dish that she asked the waiter for the recipe.
But the best part was the dessert. It was as good as any dessert ordered in an expensive New York French restaurant, if not better. I had the creme brulee served in a bowl twice the size of the usual creme brulee cup. The crust was a perfect caramelized, not burnt, hard surface. That vanilla flavor throughout was a perfect strength, not overwhelming. Then there were two chunks of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bread pudding encrusted in the concoction. The whole thing was garnished with whole hazelnuts. M-m-m-m-m-m!
And my wife had this out-of-this-world raspberry/blueberry tart with a French designer appearance. All this greatness was for average American luncheon prices.
In comparison to dining at Granita's in Malibu, where my wife took me the night before to see celebrities, I think the food was somewhat tastier and the tab was less than half as much at Joe's.
You guys could make a dining guide that would put Zagat's out of business. Thanks once again for your excellent dining advice, chowhounds!