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.
Featured in LA's The Place, Ocho Taqueria opened recently in the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. The cooks grill piquant Mexican specialties and south-of-the-border favorites such as tacos, tamales, and burritos. At tables with vibrant, colorful bench seating, diners can enjoy house specialties such as carne asada marinated in adobo sauce or sautéed shrimp served over mexican rice. Bartenders squeeze fresh juices by hand into cocktails and margaritas made with a large selection of tequilas, some made by artisanal distilleries and others made by overachieving agave plants that distill themselves. And to reflect the authenticity of the food, the classic decor includes lively Mexican photographs and figurines lining burnt-red walls.
American Fish Grill's chefs make a splash with high-quality, carefully curated ingredients that range from free-range and organic chicken to generous cuts of saltwater and freshwater fish. The sea-loving chefs also supplement their offerings with seasonal vegetables sourced from local farmer's markets. Such diligent actions pay off in the form of entrees such as pan-roasted tilapia—served with asparagus, green peas, mushrooms, and risotto—and braised port-wine short ribs, which arrive tableside dressed with carrots, celery, onions, and a potato puree. The restaurant also serves up seafood by the pound, allowing patrons to feast like mermen kings on shrimp, mussels, clams, and dungeness crab served with corn on the cob, sweet-potato fries, or boiled potatoes, which are best consumed with a scaled-down trident.
Though Eden's Beer Bar is a self-described dive, it's one that features craft beers and gourmet food. Hearty pub burgers are dressed up with gourmet meats, including kobe beef, ahi tuna, and venison, and sauces such as chipotle aioli. Trendy dishes of brussels sprouts, honey mustard, and chopped bacon vie for taste buds' affections with spicy thai chicken pizzas, made with housemade dough and crisped in a brick oven.
All of this food pairs with more than 20 beers on tap, as well as cocktails made using soju, a distinctive Korean spirit. The artistry stretches past the kitchen and bar and toward the customers, who can belt out karaoke songs or read a nice bedtime story into the bar's microphone.
Japanese Sake & Seafood House by Ryo Zan Paku corners the market on beautifully presented, yet accessible dishes that run the spectrum of traditional Japanese cuisine. At one end, chefs whip up dishes served hot off the grill, alongside traditional noodle and rice plates. Fresh seafood gets sliced neatly for sushi dishes by accomplished chefs rather than a mysterious apprentice with scissors for hands. To complement the flavors of soy and ginger, diners cleanse their palates with sips of Japanese beer and sake served hot or cold.
Busy moms Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna set out to answer a question that has troubled humans for millennia: "What's for dinner?" They wanted to make people's lives easier and allow for more time around the table with families. Dream Dinners was born from Tina's business savvy and Stephanie's experience with assembling ready-to-cook meals for her clan from fresh, healthy ingredients.