Tom’s Southern California Dining

Tom with Bob's Big Boy

One thing that COVID has taken from so many of us is the pleasure of the dining-out experience.  One of the most satisfying aspects of life is going out with friends to restaurants scattered throughout Southern California.  In the past two decades, the So. Cal. dining scene, especially in Los Angeles and surrounding towns, has exploded with numerous incredible eateries.  Sadly, some of these great restaurants have been forced to close, but here are our favorites that are still hanging in there and that we hope to visit again soon.

October 14, 2021

Blairs – Silver Lake (Los Angeles), CA

Quintessential Neighborhood ItalianBlairs – Silver Lake (Los Angeles), CA Italian – Last Visit – August 2021 Blairs is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant, which has been nestled in the Silverlake community for 18 years. We visited about a decade ago, but for some bizarre reason never made it back. When friends […]
September 18, 2021

JOEY DTLA, Los Angeles, California

To Los Angeles … With Love … From CanadaJOEY DTLA • Los Angeles, California Delicious Cuisine For Everyone • Visited July & August 2021 Subscriber Garrett hit another one out of the ballpark with his recommendation for JOEY DTLA, our latest favorite restaurant. Garrett was the one who sent us […]
August 29, 2021

Parkers’ Lighthouse – Long Beach, CA

A Meal Fit For A Queen Parkers’ Lighthouse – Long Beach, CA Seafood – Last Visit: July 2021 Despite Tracy and I living in Long Beach for many years, we never made it to dinner at Parkers’ Lighthouse in Shoreline Village, located on the waterfront near the Queen Mary. Tracy […]
July 9, 2021

LA Cha Cha Chá – Los Angeles, CA

L.A.’s Hottest New RestaurantLA Cha Cha Chá – Los Angeles, CA Modern Mexican Cuisine – Last Visit: June 2021 Ever since LA Cha Cha Chá opened in the Arts District of Los Angeles nearly four months ago, it has been the hottest ticket in town. Reservations are booked weeks in […]
January 30, 2021

Pasadena, CA: The City Where The Cheeseburger Was Invented

“Cheeseburger!  Cheeseburger!” Pasadena, CA: The City Where The Cheeseburger Was Invented I’m proud to hail from the city that is home to the Rose Parade and the “Granddaddy Of Them All,” the Rose Bowl Game. However, the historic event that solidifies Pasadena, California, as an American treasure, is that my […]
January 12, 2021

Millie’s Cafe – Pasadena, CA

On Call Breakfast! Millie’s Cafe – Pasadena, CA Last Visited: December 2020 • Breakfast Every once in a while, everyone needs a great breakfast fix. Fortunately for Tracy and me, we have a nearby restaurant close by that has served us well for the past couple of years.  Millie’s Cafe […]
November 6, 2020

Salazar – Los Angeles (Frogtown), CA

Fabulous Frogtown Fiesta of Food  Salazar – Los Angeles (Frogtown), CA Sonoran-Stye Mexican – Last Visited: October 2020 Ever since we “discovered” Spoke Bicycle Café in Frogtown (an area located near downtown Los Angeles), we’d been hearing and reading of a Mexican barbecue restaurant named Salazar in the nearby vicinity.  […]
October 23, 2020

Bistro 45 – Pasadena, CA

Bistro 45 a Pasadena Icon! Bistro 45 – Pasadena, CA New American/French-Style Cuisine – Last Visit: August 2020 Situated in a charming, retro Art Deco building in Pasadena, Bistro 45 has provided us with many a memorable meal over the past 25 – 30 years and has consistently served delicious […]
October 4, 2020

The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA

Beignets & Breakfast By The Beach The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA Last Visited: September 2020 When we get together with intrepid travel companions and friends Kim and Mary, we try to pick some place half way between our homes. Unbeknownst to us, the Beachcomber at Crystal […]
August 25, 2020

Fia – Santa Monica, CA

Mamma Mia … It’s Time For Fia! Fia – Santa Monica, CA California Cuisine (with an Italian Influence) – Last Visit: August 2020 Looking online for L.A. County dining establishments where we could enjoy a meal outdoors, we came upon Fia, a Santa Monica restaurant that seemed to check all […]
July 25, 2020

Union – Pasadena, CA

Forming A More Perfect Union Union – Pasadena, CA Italian – Last Visit: July 2020 In 2015, Union in Pasadena garnered the coveted Mai Tai Tom Restaurant Of The Year Award.  Union’s menu, which features a number of homemade pasta dishes, had been the creation of Chef Bruce Kalman, who […]
July 15, 2020

Alcove Café & Bakery – Los Feliz (Los Angeles)

A Patio Oasis Alcove Café & Bakery – Los Feliz (Los Angeles) Last Visit: June 2020 Breakfast When outdoor dining was finally allowed again here in California (seems to change by the hour), we decided to meet our friends (and traveling partners) Kim and Mary, along with their daughter Macaire, […]
June 22, 2020

Formosa Cafe – West Hollywood, CA

Historic West Hollywood Hangout Formosa Cafe – West Hollywood, CA Last Visited: June 2020 Asian Fusion I’m confident there’s not another restaurant in the world where John Wayne cooked eggs one morning in its kitchen after passing out the night before, Ava Gardner danced in the aisles, Elvis sipped a […]
March 10, 2020

When Mai Tai Tom Met Tracy: A Night at L’Opera – Long Beach, CA

It Had To Be You! When Mai Tai Tom Met Tracy: A Night at L’Opera – Long Beach, CA Visited: May 1990 & February 2020 As I recall, it was a beautiful spring evening in May 1990. I had been researching police documents and perusing personal interviews for an article […]
January 31, 2020

Granville – Pasadena, CA

Great Dining … Plus A Rooftop Bar! Granville – Pasadena, CA Modern Casual Last visited: January 2020 When Granville opened in the spring of 2019, boasting the only rooftop bar in Pasadena, we knew this was a place we had to visit!  Granville is a small Southern California chain of […]
December 19, 2019

Hippo in Highland Park, CA

Mai Tai Tom’s 2019 Restaurant Of The Year! Hippo – Highland Park, CA Cuisine: Cal-Med Visited: February, March & October 2019 The votes have been tabulated, and Mai Tai Tom’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year is now ready to be unveiled.  In the closest vote in history, Highland Park’s Hippo […]