I thought it could never happen to me. I never thought it would. But after years of traveling around town in hopes of bearing witness to the most unique and inventive food that LA's chefs have to offer, it hit me: I am not easily impressed. I thought my palate could withstand the sweet, savory and sometimes scary stuff that I have eaten over the last decade or so, but lately, I haven't felt that "thing." You know, that moment when you close your eyes for just one second after taking the perfect bite, letting the flavors mingle and linger for a bit and realizing that you were tasting something so special. That thing. This weekend, it--my idealism about food--came back, confirming that all it takes to make me flutter my eyelids is that serendipitous meeting of olfactory perfection. The scene: Manhattan Beach Post, just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean and the new object of my affection.
Much like Gjelina in Venice, another LPG favorite, M.B. Post sits at the center of a buzzing beach town. Airy, industrial and rustic, the setting encouraged communal dining and had a laid-back vibe perfect for the lingering, sun-dazed crowd. The menu matched the sophisticated yet sedate clientele, and was a clever mix of seasonal, artisanal ingredients inspired by flavors from all around the world. Like the steamed mussels in green curry served with Chinese sausage and coriander rice. Holy moly. Not only were the mussels the most soft and buttery I've ever had, the curry packed a powerful punch that had me sweating--literally. Luckily, I had ordered the Matchstick Men cocktail, a G'vine Floraison gin collins with kiwi, elderflower and mint, which was hands-down one of the best drinks I've had. Refreshing and sweet, a clever blend of flavors and the most beautiful shade of chartreuse.
After a chance encounter with the Post's famous bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits and maple butter (thank you, oblivious server, for accidentally delivering them to our table), we dove right in to the ricotta-filled squash blossoms, which were delicately fried and served with a red pepper sauce reminiscent of a marinara. I couldn't stop eating the green beans that featured moist, salty bits of pork that elevated the earthy flavor of the veggies. The confit pork belly, a gussied up variation of eggs benedict, was the most daring of the dishes we tried. The meat was perfect and the combination of cholesterol-rich ingredients left me oh-so-satisfied. Fatty meat + egg + Bearnaise sauce...I was in heaven. The chicharrones weren't my favorite, but that didn't stop me from eating them.
If only Manhattan Beach weren't on the other side of town, you would find me there on the daily, lounging in lofty dining room, buzzing in the salty air that I would order if it were on the menu.
|Matchstick Men cocktail and dem biscuits|
|Steamed mussels in green curry|
|Ricotta stuffed squash blossoms|
|Blistering Blue Lake green beans with Thai basil and crispy pork|
|Confit pork belly with grilled asparagus, chicharron, bernaise and fried egg|