We’re Exploring: Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach

Gary with Tom Wilson

Gary and I headed to Los Angeles for Memorial Day with a goal to get out of town, lay on a beach and relax for a few days.  He had a bit of work to do while we were there with his production partner in his upcoming project, Latitude Productions, but mainly it was just a little downtime. 

We decide to stay in Hermosa Beach, mainly to stay out of the crazy LA traffic, and be as close to the water and sunshine as we possibly could.  On the way to our hotel we drive through my hometown of Manhattan Beach. 

My first little house in Manhattan Beach

Though I lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for a number of years, I am a California girl at heart and driving through our neighborhood, that I haven’t been to in 30 years, brought back memories as if I had been there yesterday, mainly of walking from our house on Rosecrans over the big hill and down to the beach, with mom carrying her shiny silver beach mat and a bottle of baby oil and iodine….ahhh…those were the days.  I have been hooked on the sun since, but now use sunscreen instead of baby oil.

Hermosa Beach

After checking in to the charming Beach Hut Hotel we stroll around the waterfront, walk along the Hermosa Pier and check out the local spots finding a perfect place for dinner before we head to The Comedy and Magic Club for the evening performance from one of Gary’s buddies, Tom Wilson who I best knew as Biff from Back To The Future….who was hilarious.

Mediterraneo is in the middle of Hermosa’s main bar/restaurant area and boasted a wide variety of tapas with Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean influences, half of which were half price during happy hour.  Since it was happy hour we opted to take advantage and ordered a variety of their offerings including garlicy hummus with pita and veggies; an egg and potato cake that was a little flat on its own but burst with flavor when you added the creamy anchovy dip on the side; sunchoke and pesto bites; grilled chorizo with red grape skewers, a combo we questioned but highlighted the beauty of sweet and savory, and as Gary often says, anything is better with chorizo; and one of the best warm tomato bruschetta I have ever had.  Delicious! 

Grilled Chorizo and Grapes
Warm Tomato Bruschetta

The bar was better known for their extensive beer selections, probably because beer is a staple among the local volleyball players and tri-athletes, but their wine selection had some interesting picks.  We chose to do two flights of red, one Italian and one French.  The best on the Italian was an earthy Negroamaro, the best from France was a spicy Rhone Syrah. 

Off to The Comedy and Magic Club.  Jay Leno performs here every Sunday night to test his weekly jokes out on the crowd before he delivers them during the week. 

We were excited to see Tom Wilson, but before that we had special surprise performance from Paul Reiser, who was looking to test some jokes out on the audience.  Painful…..panful….like a first time, wanna-be comedian, getting his big shot on stage only to find he really isn’t a very funny guy….His last words were that we weren’t a very helpful crowd…. 

Luckily that was followed by an unbelievable magic show, every show includes a magic act…hence the name…and then Tom, who can poke fun at himself as much as anyone on the front row, and rips off a quick handful of funny Back To The Future stories so no one will ask. 

Over a bottle of Fog Dog Pinot Noir, a favorite of ours from Sonoma, we laughed through the night. 

Sitting on Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach Pier in the distance

Next day was sun day….and indeed we did get too much sun, but it was beautiful on the beach with white sands, big waves, salty air, a cool breeze and bright sunshine.  Over a sushi dinner that night at ROK Sushi we both cursed ourselves for not putting on more sunscreen.   Overnight a huge Memorial Day arts and crafts fair has popped up in Hermosa, and as we strolled through the Hermosa strand through vendors selling everything from chocolate covered blueberries to tie-dye dresses to Mexican pottery to tri-tip sandwiches (quite popular on the strand) to picture after picture of Hermosa and Manhattan Beach scenes, which reminded me of a picture my mom had on her bedroom wall  in Arkansas of the Manhattan Beach Pier, there since the day that we moved from this laid back beach, breezy community. Cheers!!