Tonya Beaudet was perplexed when a strange sign appeared on the door of her favorite restaurant in 1980. Before long, she deduced that “Here today, gone to Maui” meant that its surf-crazy owner had traded California’s waves for those of Hawaii. Filled with visions of organic feasts, she scrambled to buy the shop, otherwise known as The Spot Natural Food Restaurant. House-made vegetarian fare has ruled the menu for more than 30 years, transforming Tonya into a meat-free eater and converting unabashed carnivores into legume lovers. Sautéed mushrooms and onions crown the restaurant’s veggie burger, whose blend of beans, seeds, and soy cheese the Travel Channel deemed “jam-packed with flavor.” Brown rice and whole-wheat tortillas lend wholesome goodness to hearty burritos, savory garden omelets brim with seasonal produce, and organic ales and purified water refresh palates between bites, preventing diners from plunging into the nearby ocean. To accommodate a wide range of dietary needs, the kitchen can prepare meals without wheat, dairy, or sugar. Tonya and crew’s cookbook helps diners recreate their favorite dishes at home, using healthy ingredients such as garden-grown veggies and raw agave.
Though the name of their business venture has been synonymous with finery and prestige for more than 100 years, the chefs at The Rockefeller never stop looking for ways to add even more weight to the name. Specializing in artisanal pub eats, the chefs whet appetites with fresh, briny oysters, which often serve as a savory prelude to braised-short-rib tacos or apricot-enriched duck confit. Inventive yet selective, the culinary magicians also infuse waffles with bits of bacon, topping each creation with fried chicken and pads of clover-honey butter. Pair any of these eats with any one of the bar’s 24 craft brews on tap and there’s bound to be some magic or nonmagic belches in the air.
Not to be outdone by the back-kitchen specialists, the servers claim domain over a setting that’s as quietly elegant as the offerings on the menu. A stone-pillared, covered patio with skylights contrasts the rich wood tones of the indoor dining room, with both spaces primed for special events that range from the no-frills 99-cent gourmet-burger days to wine Wednesdays. The space also plays host on Thursdays to cult-movie nights, an especially appetizing event for those who enjoy the taste of cheesy celluloid.
After the Inca Empire fell, waves of Spanish conquistadors, African slaves, Chinese workers, and Italian immigrants settled in Peru. Naturally, the country’s newfound cultural diversity manifested in one particularly noticeable way: the cuisine. Today, potatoes, chili peppers, and corn––as prepared by the Incas––share plate estate with beef, citrus fruits, soy sauce, and pasta to create the rich and unique cuisine found at El Pollo Inka.
Native Peruvians Rosa and Salomon Jaime opened the first El Pollo Inka in 1987, beginning their own culinary empire that today consists of six locations across California and one in Miami. The restaurant’s Peruvian-style chicken rotates on a rotisserie spit for hours to achieve the juiciness and tenderness that makes it the crown jewel of the menu. However, El Pollo Inka’s beef, seafood, and vegetarian dishes also vie for palate popularity with the help of cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and an all-star public relations team. The restaurant also matches bites with sips from a wine list that includes varietals from Chile.
With the ocean a glowing, blue line along the horizon just outside the sunlight-filled windows, LYFE Yoga Center maintains a calm, earthy feel. The jade-green walls complement the russet-colored ceiling within the serene elevated studio, where students stretch and strengthen their bodies, almost able to hear the crashing of the waves and the soothing lullabies from a family of seagulls. Drawing from an extensive training program, the instructors lead students through Iyengar classes, teaching the ancient art through movement and postures, as well as Kundallini and Astanga. They uphold LYFE?s philosophy of seeking tranquility through mental clarity in all their classes, which also include yoga styles such as Vinyasa flow, in addition to prenatal yoga and breath meditation. The center caters to smaller class sizes and also offers props and free parking. The team at LYFE Yoga teaches students of all levels but specialize in fostering yoga beginners.
For Paciugo founder Cristiana Ginatta, gelato-making isn't just a passion, it's a family legacy. Paciugo? which means messy concoction in Italian? first opened in 2000, eventually expanding the operation to locations in 16 states. Each Paciugo location still makes its gelatos the old-fashioned way: hand-made daily, using only all-natural ingredients and absolutely no elf labor.
The Paciugo Hermosa Beach location offers 32 daily rotating fresh flavors such as mediterranean sea salt caramel, pannacotta (wedding cake), and amarena black cherry swirl and has more than 300 flavors of gelato and sorbet in their recipe handbook. To complement the chilly eats, Paciugo also serves traditional Italian cafe drinks such as cappucinos, hot tea, hot chocolate, and espressos. The Hermosa location is also known for its freshly made daily cookies, gelato sandwiches, and handmade waffle cones. Customers can also enjoy complimentary wi-fi.
Not every Pilates studio has custom-built reformers named after it. HIP Studio, on the other hand, order their HIPformers from local builders, who construct the machines to be extra-durable, easily repaired, and eco-conscious, primarily composing the frames of recycled wood. While they make plenty of use of their original equipment, they also teach more than just Pilates. They incorporate trampolines, ballet barres, TRX suspension harnesses, and punching bags into ten different fitness classes. All of their innovative sessions take place in their sunny, hardwood-floored studio. Aside from facilitating eye-pleasure, the elegant hardwood flooring conceals a layer of cork that absorbs shock and cushions joints. Dynamic sound systems keep high-energy music pumping through the studio, and broadcasts beats to every corner of the space at equal volume.