MVP's Grill & Patio, a cash-only burger joint in Long Beach, has cultivated an impressive following. Its two locations have inspired more than 600 Yelp reviews combined, many of them 4 stars or higher. Most of the praise goes to its burgers, which are named after George Foreman, including the Big "George Foreman," a burger with two 1/3-pound patties, four slices of cheese, and a bun that can take a punch. Other sandwiches on the menu receive a similar sports-themed treatment, such as the Harry Carey (a triple-decker BLT) and the Chick Hearn (grilled chicken with cajun mayonnaise). To complement the burgers and sandwiches, diners can pair them with fries and soda.
The Red Barrel serves wines from around the world, but takes special care in the presentation: red and white sangria are poured into frosted carafes, and flights of bright white and dusky red wines are served on wooden paddles. Glasses glint off of the low, romantic lighting from candelabra-like wall sconces, and the dark wood tables clustered together invite whispered conversation. On most nights, live music ranging from a Latin jazz trio to a spunky young black-metal band completes the scene.
Knowing that every wine needs a pairing, The Red Barrel's chefs prepare seafood-centric fare in the style of a classic French bistro. The daily menu often changes, but wine-marinated clams, rosemary-crusted lamb chops, and filet mignon with buttered lobster often fill the intimate space with their inviting aromas. At brunch, French classics such as croque madame?french bread with prosciutto and a sunny-side-up egg?pair with refreshing mimosas.
When he was a kid, Joseph Rooney heard a story from his uncle about a duck that was struck by a waterskier near their family's summer home in Illinois. That duck, however, didn't die or even file a lawsuit?it just waddled away with a crooked neck. As the story spread and more neighbors shared their own crooked duck sightings, the legend grew, following Joseph all the way to Long Beach where he named his restaurant after that resilient bird.
Hailed as an "obsessively friendly restaurant that every neighborhood should have" by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, The Crooked Duck welcomes visitors into a casual, oftentimes quirky atmosphere with timeless dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the mornings, the kitchen turns out flapjacks and omelets. The rest of the day, the restaurant's menu overflows with unique dishes such as meatloaf with caramelized onions, gorgonzola bacon burgers, and decadent sweets such as naked carrot cake.
Olives offers up fresh, homemade sandwiches, dinners, breakfast options, and groceries in a casual, welcoming store outfitted with seating for in-store noshing. Snack on sweet and savory breakfast items, such as the Milano panini, a mix of egg, prosciutto, provolone, tomato, and pesto aioli ($5.99), and the Italian Classic, served with nutella on Italian country bread ($3.99). For later eating, the Santa Fe sandwich paints roasted turkey, monterey jack, avocado spread, green chilies, and chipotle aioli on a white country bread canvas ($7.29), and the veggie caprese sandwich stacks fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, basil, and a signature parmesan spread on top of a ciabatta platter ($6.29). With a rotating menu that changes nightly, patrons also can pick up freshly prepared dinner, such as teriyaki salmon with rice and steamed veggies ($12.49) and turkey pot-pie with a dinner roll ($7.99). The Second Street location serves up oven-baked pizzas and features an expanded produce and dairy section.
Faced with an array of plump armchairs, antique tables and couches, and shelves lined with old books under glowing chandeliers, visitors may think they’ve mistakenly wandered into a 19th-century study. That’s when the open laptops, rotating gallery of local artwork, and smell of rich, foamy lattes bring them into the present.
Such is the scene at The Library A Coffee House, one of ABC7’s Top 7 Coffee Houses of 2011 in LA. Here, baristas prepare a menu of drip coffee and espresso drinks. Though americanas and cappuccinos keep eyes wide open to peruse the used books on sale, the Vanilla Goddess is by far the local favorite, featuring a swirl of white chocolate, vanilla, and espresso diluted with steamed milk and served on ice, hot, or in the acoustic guitar of the local bands that play each Friday night. Open from 6 a.m. to midnight regularly, the café's food menus fit the bill at any hour of the day, whole bean coffees leave the store by the half or full pound.