Monthly Archives: March 2017

Best Restaurants in Long Beach

March 31, 2017

The Long Beach Restaurant Guide

While I love cooking in our petite maison, it’s nice to get out of the kitchen every once in a while and go out for dinner.

As I mentioned recently, Long Beach is going through a renaissance. First came the artists and now the creative chefs have followed. As a result, we’ve had many a date night eating delicious food that ranges from re-invented Latin American to modern Vietnamese and classic Italian.

A few things about our tastes: We seek what I call the Diner’s Trifecta, which is good food, good service, and good design. This means we are probably every restaurateur’s biggest nightmare. Also, most of these places are in the mid-to-high price range, but you can spend less if you forego drinks.

Alright, it’s time to get to zee list. Enjoy and bon appétit!

Social List | 2105 E 4th Street, Long Beach CA, 90814
Located in the heart of the Art District, this small gastro pub offers up modern European tapas. The menu rotates but croquetas, mama’s meatballs, and the butternut squash toast are all solid favorites. Wine and beer list is all about quality over quantity so it’s hard to go wrong with a choice from their selection.

Padre | 525 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802
With Chef Frank DeLoach at the helm, this place is churning out creative Latin-American inspired dishes like a modern take on lomo saltado, fried chicken tacos with watermelon salsa, and street corn in a bowl. The food is just as delicious as the artisanal cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juice.

Nick’s on 2nd | 4901 E 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA 90803
Reinvented classic American fare, like steaks, fried devil eggs, and prime rib dip, never tasted so good. Genuinely good hospitality and the cozy-yet-modern atmosphere are just icing on the cake. This restaurant is high on everyone’s list so make reservations or prepare for a 45-60 minute wait.

Saint & Second | 4828 E 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA 90803
Just across the street Nick’s, this beautifully designed, two-story restaurant is giving them a run for their money. Choose from one of the many whiskeys lining the floor-to-ceiling wall behind the bar or order a traditional cocktail to go with your duck meatball appetizer. After that, any main dish will blow your mind. Plus, the service is just as great as the food.

Restauration | 2708 E 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814
Chef-driven American bistro with a creative menu that changes along with the seasons (as it should, non?). Be a rebel and choose at random from the menu because it’s all seriously good. Whatever you order, be sure to enjoy your meal in the modern farm-house atmosphere of the outside area in the back.

Pizzanista | 1837 E 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90813
Housed in a humongous mid-century home painted midnight black, this place serves up pizza with a side of punk rock. Grab a canned craft beer from the refrigerated case, order a slice of thin-crust pizza topped with macaroni and cheese (or a margherita for the purists), and head to the back patio to devour.

Number Nine | 2118 E 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814
A modern take on Vietnamese food served in a friendly and casual atmosphere. The pho is made with fresh ingredients and the banh mi is stuffed with free-range meat and quick-pickled carrots. Food and service are great, but I have to admit, the white walls, succulents, and modern décor help push this place to the top of my list.

Beachwood Brewing & BBQ | 210 E 3rd Street, Long Beach, CA 90802
Prepare yourself for a food coma because the vittles here are addictively delicious. If you’re extra hungry, the pulled pork is a solid choice, but you’ll be just as happy with a few appetizers (like the fried pickles, deviled eggs, and tater tot casserole). Wash it all down with one of the house-brewed beers, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

La Parolaccia Osteria | 2945 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803
A rustic Italian place where the food is pretty darn authentic for lack of a better word. The pizza? Wood-fired thin crust with the freshest toppings. The pasta? Perfectly al dente with a homemade sauce just like nonna used to make.

The Attic | 3441 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803
Housed in the cutest craftsman bungalow, this restaurant serves up Southern-inspired food with a twist. Start your brunch with the bloody mary and then spring for the eggs benedict or French toast. Non-breakfast folks will love their famous mac ‘n’ cheese topped with Hot Cheetos. It’s highly suggested that you share plates as as portions are enormous.

Congregation Ale House | 201 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802
Sometimes getting a burger feels like a religious experience in the holy setting of this bar slash restaurant. The stained glass and waitresses in Catholic schoolgirl outfits are the perfect back drop to all the beers on tap that you’d ever want to drink with the perfect burger and sweet potato fries.

The Perks of Keeping a Dinner Diary

March 14, 2017

The Perks of Keeping a Dinner Diary | Modern French Blog

There’s nothing I love more than wining and dining. Oh wait, I love documenting things in obsessive detail!

As a teen, I wrote pages and pages about boys and best friends. In my twenties, I filled travel journals with adventures in far off places. There was a brief phase where I weirdly kept inventory of my closet in Excel. And now, as a woman in her thirties, I present you with the dinner diary.

A dinner diary is not an entirely new concept.

For many years, hostess books were all the rage. High-society women used them to plan dinner parties keeping details on seating arrangements, shopping lists, decorating notes, and guest preferences. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who keep it simple like Jenny from Dinner: A Love Story who finishes every evening by writing a line about what she just ate.

My dinner diary lies somewhere in the middle serving as part documentation and part soul.

How to Keep a Dinner Diary

First, you’ll need a blank book. I prefer a classic Moleskine journal because I’m an aesthetic snob and a hipster. But seriously, the small version fits perfectly in my purse and the hard-cover keeps it from getting beat up. Ultra minimalists may opt for a digital space to document like the DayOne app, Evernote, or Google Keep.

Each page will detail the who, what, where, and when, plus a few notes about your dining experience. Start with the date at top (aka the when) and a list of who was there. Then, write down where you were dining and what you ate. Finally, finish the page with a few notes about the evening.

Your notes can be functional. For instance, noting dishes that went over well, a cooking tip picked up from a friend, or inspiration from a restaurant menu. You may also choose to write details about the dinner party like funny stories, heated conversations, or tender moments.

It’s best to document everything while it’s still fresh. This usually means the evening of or the day after. Although, sometimes life gets in they way and I don’t update my dinner diary until a week or so later.

Why You Should Keep a Dinner Diary

If you are like me (aka an uber planner and constant chronicler), then keeping a dinner diary will satisfy the deepest part of your OCD soul. For all the normal people out there, keeping track of these details will help you take the guesswork out of entertaining.

You’ll quickly realize which dishes are crowd pleasers and who brings the best bottles of wine. Invite someone over regularly? Now you can remember what you served them last time and a) make it again if they loved it or b) cook something new to switch it up.

If you keep track of when you eat out, the dinner diary is like your very own Yelp. You’ll easily remember your favorite places and the dishes that a restaurant does best.

Hands down, the very best part about a dinner diary is that it’s a reminder of the deliciousness of life.

Things happens at the dinner table, people! There are big moments, small moments, funny moments, and all those in-between. In the last month alone we celebrated my parent’s anniversary, discussed a friend’s potential move across country, watched in awe as my tiny niece spoke full sentences for the first time, and toasted the announcement of a friend’s pregnancy. Not to mention lots of jokes, laughs, and tasty meals, of course.

La vie est belle, non? And flipping through a dinner diary is like taking a trip down memory lane and getting a chance to relive it all.