Monday, March 12, 2012

MB Post (Manhattan Beach)

As a Hawaii transplant, I often find myself trying to incorporate elements of the beach into my daily life—a vintage Hawaiian travel poster in my living room, a Matsumoto’s Shave Ice tote bag slung around my shoulder or a seashell bobby pin in my hair. Although California’s beaches are decidedly different (*sigh* colder and dirtier) than those in Hawaii, the sea and the vibe around it still signal relaxation and bring a smile to my face. These inclinations led me M.B. Post, located in Manhattan Beach.

MB Post

OK, my beach-loving inclinations AND the promise of sticky buns. MB Post, co-owned and cheffed by Michelin-starred David LeFevre, was designed to reflect elements of the beach community in which it sits. Large windows yielding natural light and a view of the ocean, tables and booths made of reclaimed wood and exposed rafters lend a relaxed, welcoming ambiance to the space. Although the restaurant opened almost a year ago, brunch service—the reason for my visit—is newer, only about a month old. For that month, I ogled photos and dreamed of MB Post’s sticky buns and cheddar bacon biscuits and recently decided to visit with Justin, Tina and Patricia (of Boobs for Food) and Tina’s friend Carla to feed hungry bellies instead of just eyes.

MB Post

MB Post

MB Post

MB Post

Coughlin's Law @ MB Post

Coughlin's Law: Red eye with Tito's, Belgian pilsner, tomato, dill, picante and quail egg ($12)

Old George @ MB Post

Old George: Salty Dog w/ chopin, grapefruit, basil and raspberry pepper jam ($12)

Mo-pho-jito @MB Post

Mo-pho-jito: Mojito with starr, kaffir lime, mint, ginger and housemade coriander honey ($12)

Coffee @ MB Post

As I was feeling a bit under the weather, I opted for coffee instead of booze ($4.50).

Our table got right down to business and began with the two dishes we craved most: the sticky buns and the bacon cheddar biscuits.

Sticky Buns w/ pecan and brown sugar @ MB Post

The Sticky Buns arrived in a piping hot cast iron skillet, which added a homey touch to the dish ($6). Topped with chopped pecans, the sticky buns were delightfully pillowy soft and soaked up additional sweetness and stickiness from the melted brown sugar and syrup pooled at the bottom of the skillet. These buns totally lived up to our expectations.

Bacon cheddar biscuits @ MB Post

Next up were the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits, served with maple butter ($5). The incredibly moist, flaky biscuits provided the porky and cheesy flavors they promised but without being overpowering or gimmicky. This was one well-executed breakfast biscuit—with or without the fluffy maple butter.

Polito Farms Citrus Salad: ruby grapefruit, blood orange, cara cara & pomegranate @ MB Post

We next received a Polito Farms Citrus Salad, courtesy of the kitchen, in which a medley of grapefruit, blood oranges, cara cara navels and pomegranate sat in half a grapefruit (regularly $10). The salad infused our morning with some cool, crisp citrus tang.

French Toast stuffed w/ quince and ricotta, star anise macerated pears and chestnut honey @ MB Post

We ventured back to breakfast sweets with an order of French Toast ($12). M.B.’s version of the breakfast staple was topped with star anise-macerated pears and chestnut honey and stuffed with quince and ricotta. Although the dish read well on the page, our French toast arrived slightly blackened, and the quince was unable to brighten the ricotta, muddling the toast’s otherwise sweet flavors.

Nueske's bacon w/ rosemary, brown sugar and chili @ MB Post

Our table fared better with the Nueske’s Bacon, which arrived next ($8). What’s not to love about thick, glistening strips of bacon seasoned with rosemary, brown sugar and chili? These sweet porky bites with just a hint of a kick were a hit with all.

Chimichanga w/ scrambled egg, chorizo spiced pork, pepperjack, yams and Jimmy's mom's salsa verde @ MB Post

The Chimichanga, colorfully stuffed with scrambled eggs, chorizo-spiced pork, pepperjack cheese, yams and “Jimmy’s mom’s salsa verde” beckoned us first ($13). The chewy deep-fried tortilla held up well despite the hefty fillings, and the salsa verde and sour cream provided just the right amount of moisture the chimichanga needed. Verdict: the only thing that makes a breakfast burrito tastier is deep-frying it.

Truffle honey laced fried chicken @ MB Post

Although it was served sans waffles, we couldn’t resist ordering the Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken with Kholrabi Slaw ($15). The combination of the chicken’s crispy skin and tender, juicy meat provided just what we’d hoped for, but the truffle honey flavors could have benefitted from being kicked up a notch. As pure fried chicken, the dish was a winner; as truffle honey-laced fried chicken, it left me wanting more.

After polishing off the fried chicken, our table of five had worked its way through everything we ordered, and we began congratulating ourselves on reaching a happy—not uncomfortable—level of fullness. We had ordered and eaten well but not gone overboard… The kitchen, however, had other ideas for us. The front of the house noted that we had not originally ordered any egg dishes and promptly placed three of them in front of us. We required no arm-twisting to dig in, especially since all three dishes were ones we had considered ordering.

Poached egg w/ asparagus, polenta and bianco sardo @ MB Post (before)

The Poached Egg perched atop polenta was beautiful in its simplicity—the yellow and white set against the vibrant green of the asparagus topped with bianco sardo (an Italian sheep’s milk) cheese ($14).

Poached egg w/ asparagus, polenta and bianco sardo @ MB Post (after)

Once we cracked the yolk, the dish became even comelier and more delicious.

Frittata w/ weiser farm potatoes, sprouting broccoli, white cheddar and piperade @ MB Post

In the Frittata, fluffy baked eggs mixed with Weiser Farm potatoes, sprouting broccoli, white cheddar and piperade in a deep cast-iron dish ($14). The piperade and fresh produce added refinement to this classic, hearty dish, which I mentally filed away as a (classy) hangover cure.

Eggs benedict w/ bacon cheddar biscuit @ MB Post

Little did we know that the pièce de résistance of our brunch would be not our much-beloved sticky buns but the Eggs Benedict ($13). Here, Chef LeFevre has improved upon the traditional eggs benedict by swapping a standard English muffin and ham for his cheddar bacon biscuits and la quercia prosciutto and arugula. The forkfuls holding egg, hollandaise, arugula, prosciutto and biscuit with its blend of flavors and textures were nothing short of heavenly. To say that we licked this skillet clean is no exaggeration.

All of our brunch dishes were composed and refined while maintaining a rustic and homey charm. Between the food, the setting and the attentive service, I’m already planning my next trip! Special thanks to SinoSoul for the help with our reservation!

MB Post
1142 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 545-5405

MB Post on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gold Standard 2012

This Sunday marked the fourth LA Weekly Gold Standard, an event featuring restaurants hand-picked by the Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. Thanks to Gold's eclectic tastes the vendors at the event ranged from the humble to the highbrow, and, after thoroughly enjoying myself last year, I looked forward to again sampling such diverse bites in one afternoon.

A-Frame @ Gold Standard 2012

Charred baby octopus from A-Frame

Animal @ Gold Standard 2012

Foie gras mousse, satsuma marmalade and toast from Animal

Baco Mercat @ Gold Standard 2012

Pork shoulder baco from Baco Mercat

Bulgarini Gelato @ Gold Standard 2012

Olive oil gelato and peach sorbetto from Bulgarini Gelato

Bulgarini Gelato @ Gold Standard 2012

Pistachio gelato and plum sorbetto from Bulgarini Gelato

Chichen Itza @ Gold Standard 2012

Cochinita pibil from Chichen Itza

Drago Centro @ Gold Standard 2012

Black truffles from Drago Centro

Drago Centro @ Gold Standard 2012

Mushroom agnolotti with black truffle from Drago Centro

Guelaguetza @ Gold Standard 2012

Tamales oaxaquenos (black mole and chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves) from Guelaguetza

Huckleberry @ Gold Standard 2012


Huckleberry @ Gold Standard 2012

I adored the serving platter for the Niman Ranch maple bacon biscuits!

Hungry Cat @ Gold Standard 2012

Pork belly and oyster beignet with celery root remoulade from The Hungry Cat

Michael Voltaggio @ Gold Standard 2012

Chef Michael Voltaggio: "People hate me on Yelp."

Ink @ Gold Standard 2012

Beef tongue and tendon "taco" with horseradish powder from ink

Jitlada @ Gold Standard 2012


Kobawoo House @ Gold Standard 2012

Bossam daikon wrap from Kobawoo House

LaOn @ Gold Standard 2012

Kimchi pancakes from LaOn

LaOn @ Gold Standard 2012

Kimchi pancake and shortribs from LaOn

Le Comptoir @ Gold Standard 2012

Sweet potato veloute from Le Comptoir

Lukshon @ Gold Standard 2012

Rib eye bao with spicy cucumber from Lukshon

Mayura @ Gold Standard 2012

Mayura Restaurant

MB Post @ Gold Standard 2012

Cous cous with pomegranate, marcona almonds, lavender-infused feta and homemade yogurt from MB Post

Mezze @ Gold Standard 2012

Brisket sandwich with homemade pickles and mango sauce from Mezze

Mezze @ Gold Standard 2012

Ice cream sandwich from Mezze

Mozza @ Gold Standard 2012

Butterscotch budino from Mozza

Nickel Diner @ Gold Standard 2012

"Poptarts" and red velvet cupcakes from The Nickel Diner

Night + Market @ Gold Standard 2012

Sausage from Night + Market

NIght + Market @ Gold Standard 2012

"Startled Pig" (grilled pork with bird eye chili, lemongrass, garlic and lime) from Night + Market

Picca @ Gold Standard 2012

Pork belly with sun-dried potato from Picca

Picca @ Gold Standard 2012

Grilled tiger prawn with yuzu from Picca

Providence @ Gold Standard 2012

Pistachio, white chocolate, meyer lemon and rose water from Providence

Short Cake @ Gold Standard 2012

Short Cake

Short Order @ Gold Standard 2012

Short Order

Short Order @ Gold Standard 2012

Short Order

Short Order @ Gold Standard 2012

Sausage with sauerkrat from Short Order

Starry Kitchen @ Gold Standard 2012

Plum confit chicken from Starry Kitchen

Starry Kitchen @ Gold Standard 2012

Lychee panna cotta with elderflower from Starry Kitchen

Starry Kitchen @ Gold Standard 2012

Crazy-ass Nguyen of Starry Kitchen!

Street @ Gold Standard 2012

Mung bean pancake with miso mustard and dark soy from Street

Emereald Palmer @ Gold Standard 2012

Emerald Palmer (cucumber lemonade with green tea and mint) from Street

Sotto @ Gold Standard 2012

Crispy pork belly porcetto with quince mostarda from Sotto

Smoke City Market @ Gold Standard 2012

Pastrami and brisket from Smoke City Market

The Spice Table @ Gold Standard 2012

The Spice Table

The Spice Table @ Gold Standard 2012

Pig tail with smoked perilla, mint, gem lettuce and fish sauce from The Spice Table

Tsujita @ Gold Standard 2012


Zona Rosa @ Gold Standard 2012

Zona Rosa @ Gold Standard 2012

Iced Zona Rosa cappuccino from Zona Rosa

*The ribeye bao from Lukshon-- my favorite dish of the event!

*The mushroom agnolotti with shaved truffles from Drago. Pillowy soft and loaded with truffle flavor, this dish was a close second on my list of favorites.

*The beef tongue and tendon taco from ink. I'm usually too timid to try beef tongue, but I took the plunge and sampled Chef Voltaggio's version. What can I say? Handsome chefs make me do bold things. The cool, crunch dish turned out to be one of the most refreshing bites of the day.

*Chatting with Chef Roy Choi (Kogi, Chego, A-Frame and Sunny Spot) about Hawai'i, its culture and, of course, the food.

*I'm not much of a BBQ girl, but the pastrami and brisket from Smoke City Market rocked. my. socks.

*Brisket sandwich with homemade pickles and mango sauce from Mezze. I've been eager to try this place and loved the tasty teaser I got today.

*The tiger prawn with yuzu from Picca was beautiful and grilled to perfection (and the free drink tokens for the new, soon-to-open Mo-Chica!).

*The beautiful lychee panna cotta from Starry Kitchen

With the J. Gold's upcoming move to the LA Times, who knows what will become of the Gold Standard. Given the event's fun factor and Gold's love for food and sharing his finds with Angelenos, however, I can only hope that the LAT will take up the face-stuffing mantle and continue the event. Please?