Destination: Hermosa Beach, California
Hermosa Beach makes such an excellent getaway. It is one of the three Beach Cities, with Manhattan Beach on the north and Redondo Beach on the east and south.The town has a remarkable array of boutiques, restaurants and antique shops to wander during the day. It is known for its large beach which is ideal for sunbathing, beach volleyball, surfing and paddle boarding. The sea breezes help keep the smog away almost all year.
We decided to take a weekend away and enjoy what it had to offer. There is a paved path, called The Strand, which runs along the beach from Redondo Beach all the way to Santa Monica, approximately twenty miles away. It is a haven for runners, dog walkers, bicyclers, skateboarders and rollerbladers.
We are beach lovers and found a hotel with a lovely room that faced the beach. There are very few hotel rooms in my travels which I would call "Perfect" and it was startling to find such a room at The Beach House where we sojourned the first weekend in March. First, many of the rooms have a large veranda which faces the ocean. Second, the bed may be one of the most comfortable, spacious and pleasant experiences you will ever know. Third, the bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub (with a rubber ducky), a huge shower with Greek bath products and lots of space to indulge your dreams. The room also has a kitchen area with sink, refrigerator and microwave if you don't want to dine out. There are plantation shutter doors to totally block out the morning sun and a comfortable, deep couch and chair with plenty of lamps for reading. There are two flat-screen TV's and three phones to help you stay in touch, if you must. The hotel offers a delightful complimentary breakfast from 6:00 – 11:00 a.m. The breakfast room overlooks the beach and the ocean. There is also a full-service Spa at the hotel.
At night, when it was time for dinner, we have two places to recommend, both within walking distance of the hotel. You can save the twenty-two dollar fee for valet parking at the hotel by parking your car yourself and stroll the few delightful streets of this town.
We ate at the Union Cattle Company the first evening. It's a find for the menu is huge and the prices reasonable: sixteen appetizers, ten salads, eight Gourmet sandwiches, four chicken entrees and eight steak entrees. There are also seven seafood dishes and twelve side dishes plus seven desserts. the place was teeming with young adults on this Friday night. Here, you can see a mechanized bull in the center of the dining room which offers an opportunity to test your skill. (No thanks!)
Saturday night found us at chef Melba's Bistro. It's one block from the hotel, a small, convivial, intimate restaurant opened two years ago with Melba and her two chefs turning out healthy, freshly-cooked food, prepared to order. The smells, flaming pans, delicious food, and from-stove-to-table service makes this a most remarkable place. The menu has sufficient choices available to satisfy anyone's hunger pangs. Everything is truly A+: the organic spinach soup, the onion soup, the prawn Louis salad (with the largest shrimp you'll ever crunch into) and a seared rare "Ahi" tuna with twelve year old Balsamic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Apple Crostata with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce was a flavorful finish to all that preceded it. Melba's coffee was wonderful. My very highest recommendations go to both places when you visit.
Two theaters are close by: The Hermosa Beach Playhouse and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center – a beautiful theater offering first and second run musical comedies and drama. There, in Redondo, we saw Twice Upon a Time in its preview before going to New York and London. It's gone now but there's more stuff coming.
This was our first time in beautiful Hermosa Beach. I can assure you it will not be our last. And when you go, please do tell 'em Joseph sent you.
1. The Beach House – 1300 The Strand, Hermosa Beach CA 90254, Tel. 888-895-4559: Rack rates: Jan. 1 – June 12 – $249-$379; June 13 – August 31 – $305 – $485; Sept. 1 – Dec. 31 – $259-$389
2. Union Cattle Company – 1301 Manhattan Ave. Hermosa Beach CA 90254, Tel. 310-798-8277
3. Chef Melba's Bistro – 1501 Hermosa Avenue – Hermosa Beach CA 90254, Tel. 310-376-2084
4. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center – 1935 Manhattan Beach Ave Redondo Beach CA 90278, Tel. 310-372-4477
5. Hermosa Beach Playhouse – 710 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach CA 90254, Tel. 310-643-6545