South Bay Scene

South Bay Guide: El Tarasco

 

Satiation by the Sea

For over 40 years a tasty Mexican counter has fed hungry beach-bound locals and late-nighters alike. 

 

WRITTEN BY CONSTANCE DUNN  | ILLUSTRATION BY JAY BROCKMAN

 

Next time you’re in the North End of Manhattan Beach, and craving a cheese-smothered enchilada or heaping plate of carne asada with rice and black beans, slip into this colorful, sticker-laden shack, just steps from Highland and Rosecrans Avenues, and two blocks from the beach.

Open since 1969, the small, casual spot offers about a dozen seats along the counter, where friendly staff are quick to take your order and serve crisp tortillas and tangy salsa while you wait. Clock the daily specials for price-busting combos like Monday’s deal on the super-popular Jr. Super Deluxe Burrito, a filling behemoth served wet and topped with fresh guacamole and sour cream.

 If a craving occurs later at night, you’re in luck. The local institution—one of four locations but the most homespun by far—is open until 1 am during the week, and as late as 2 or 3 a.m. on weekends.

El Tarasco

316 Rosecrans Avenue
Manhattan Beach,CA 90266
310.545.4241
ElTarasco.publishpath.com

Shanna Shryne

Designer Shanna Shryne creates spaces  to elevate everyday exuberance.

Witten By Constance Dunn

Cruise into Shanna Shryne’s design center on Pier Avenue and you’re guaranteed to bump into a positive message or two. They’re everywhere, from an oversized print declaring “Adventure May Hurt You But Monotony Will Kill You” to a cluster of canvas totes sitting in a striped ceramic bowl urging you to “Kiss Your Life.” Optimism is a persistent theme for this South Bay designer, whose aesthetic veers Modernist, practical and streaked with uplifting color.

Shryne’s tutelage began as a young artist who turned to business when it came time for college. “In my first economics class I discovered that business was not for me at all,” she recalls with a grin. “I decided to get my degree in interior design, plus a minor in construction management.”

She cut her chops at a national design firm for a decade before moving to the South Bay. “Bryce at Curious [a Hermosa Beach home decor shop] hired me, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I first moved here,” Shryne says as we chat away on the store’s sunny deck, adorned with a vivid blue lounging bed and pair of strappy, mustard-hued Acapulco chairs.

Soon, with the owner’s blessing, Shryne was running her own design business from Curious, and in late-2014, staked out her own space up the street. “Now I have a dedicated retail space and a design space,” Shryne says. “And I’m focusing on offering the beach towns a more unique design sensibility.”

“Beach style, with soft colors and all of that, is gorgeous,” she muses. “But I just have, intellectually, a more fun, playful and different take on it.” Therein lies this designer’s distinction. Shryne injects residential and commercial spaces with surprising bolts of color and a sculpted joie de vivre—specialties that take skillful design acumen to pull off, lest they come off looking clumsy or contrived.

Her retail-slash-showroom is riddled with ripe island shades of citrus, fuchsia and blue, often juxtaposed against pure white. Mid-Century Modern pieces dominate, from a hanging pod chair to a lacquered bar cabinet stocked with vintage candle holders. There are playful notes, too, like highball glasses with “Stay Fancy” scrawled on them, a glowing ship’s anchor and throw pillows etched with local ZIP codes.

Shryne acknowledges that running both a design firm and retail store is no easy feat (“They’re two different animals,” she says), but wants to inspire people with the gifts and home items she stocks, plus use the space to showcase her design work, which includes the fabrication of custom drapery, bedding and furniture.

“Items in the store are different than what you see all the time,” says Maggie Serkes, store manager. “I think that’s what people love about us the most. Coming into the store gives a person ideas on how to turn their place into a home just by adding a little color. Or a pillow, or a candle.”

“I’m always drawn to something that’s a little free spirited,” adds Shryne. “I want it pragmatic, and to make sense and be usable. But—what can we do that’s fun?
How can we take it up a notch so you enjoy it a little more? So you smile each time you see it.”

Shanna Shryne Design

205 Pier Avenue, Suite 100
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
310.376.6160
ShannaShryne.com

True Blue: Deep Pocket Jean Company

True Blue

A close shave, a cigar and the perfect pair of denims— Deep Pocket Jean Company celebrates a timeless male trifecta.

 

WRITTEN BY CONSTANCE DUNN  |  PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL JONASON

 

The 21st century hit and men’s jeans took a different turn. Silhouettes got skinny, then skinnier. Pockets shrank past the point of being able to carry the essential triad of the modern man: wallet, phone, keys.

Hermosa Beach resident David Mercer noticed, and consulted with denim designer David Borgatta, who informed him that men’s jeans were being designed like women’s jeans. “Smaller pockets and skinnier legs,” remembers Mercer. “I also noticed that they were not making them in the United States anymore.”

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But Borgatta, who’s worked with Hart & Huntington, Quicksilver and others, assured Mercer that a good-looking and entirely masculine pair of jeans could be constructed in the U.S. for an entirely reasonable price point. Mercer and his team went to work, setting up Deep Pocket Denim Company on Pier Avenue.

While designing the shop, things quickly went beyond just offering jeans. “We started to design the shop,” Mercer says. “And one of the design theme-boards included a barber chair. That looks cool, I thought. Why don’t we put two barber chairs in the store. And some barbers, too.”

An idea was born. Why not carve out a little haunt in the South Bay, a place where guys can stop by for a haircut or leisured shave—old-school style, with a straight razor and hot towel bracer? Have a cold beer or a dram of whiskey while they’re at it, or hang out on the small outdoor patio with a good cigar?

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A few years later and Deep Pocket Jean Company is chugging along nicely. Weekends are typically booked solid for barbers, and along with its mainstay, jeans, the store stocks crisp dress shirts and other masculine accoutrements, from sturdy Kershaw knives to luxury Weiss watches engineered by hand in Los Angeles.

Jeans sport all-American style names like Kentucky, P-51 Mustang and Autry. There is a dedicated phone pocket on each model and hemlines are custom-fit at the store. No matter the silhouette, each model exudes classic ruggedness along with up-to-date polish.

The vibe is masculine, not boyish. In other words, “We don’t have a ‘skinny’ jean,” notes Mercer. “But we do have denim that’s a slimmer cut, all the way to a heftier cut, which is roomier in the legs and seat.”

Beyond the denim and the barbershop is something more elemental that  makes Deep Pocket Jean Company magnetic: community. As a member of  the fairer sex, I find the place to be warm and welcoming, and I’m not alone.  

Besides being a popular local spot for guys to take a breather, grooms can book a dedicated evening to converge with their buddies and spiff-up before the big  day. It’s also a reliable place for women to find quality gifts for their men,  and kids like it, too. “We get a lot of ladies who bring their kids in for haircuts,” Mercer mentions. 

“People like being here,” he continues. “They like the vibe.”

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Deep Pocket Jean Company 

200 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
310.379.5201
DeepPocketJeanCompany.com

Beach Glam Central

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South Bay DIGS stops by popular decor destination Fringe to chat with co-owner Debbie Talosi.

Where do you find such cool, eclectic things?

We [Talosi and co-owner Laura Hofmann] buy from local artists. We attend trade shows, too, but out of town. We add our own twist to things. I was a buyer and a jewelry designer, and did handbags and clothing, too.

The two of us even had a belt buckle company. We’ll be on a buying trip, turn to one another and say, ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ and then we add something unexpected to a chandelier.

How do you decide what to buy?

We buy what we love, not just what we think will sell. We offer things to spice up a house that you can’t find anywhere else. And you can find something for $1 or $1,000.

Is Fringe coming to Manhattan Beach?

Yes, and we’re going to have great stuff. As you can see [Talosi waves to a stack of boxes], I’ve been buying for it.

Everyone’s so friendly and down-to-earth here.

Everyone who works here is a friend. We put people at ease.

Customers don’t think ‘Uh-oh, here comes a salesperson,’ and want to run out the front door.

When not tending the store, where do you hang out?

We all go to Zazou Restaurant next door. It’s like a joke. We walk out the door and automatically turn left.

AS TOLD TO CONSTANCE DUNN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL JONASON

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South Bay Guide: Spa, Shop, Sup

 

Relaxation in residence on Rosecrans Avenue

 

WRITTEN BY JENNY PETERS | ILLUSTRATED BY JAY BROCKMAN

When South Bay house hunting becomes overwhelming, there’s nothing better than a spa break—and no better place for it than Murad Inclusive Health Spa, the neighborhood oasis on Rosecrans Avenue. Here, famed dermatologist, Dr. Howard Murad, and his staff of estheticians and massage therapists will work out the kinks and/or restore a youthful glow to luster-less skin. Their latest aid, the Youth-Building Facial Signature Service, done with Murad’s newest product line, “reprograms” the skin and beats back the signs of aging.

Add in a little shopping spree at the nearby Plaza El Segundo, where we love the cool home finds at Anthropologie and the indulgences at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza—how does a a sip of beer and sup of tapas sound?

By the end of this little spa, shop and sup interlude, you’ll be revved up and ready for that next open house—guaranteed.

GET THERE:
CityGuide_dg

Murad Inclusive Health Spa
2141 Rosecrans Avenue
First Floor Courtyard
El Segundo, CA 90245
310-726-0470

Plaza El Segundo
760 South Sepulveda Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245
310-414-5280

Clams at Fishing With Dynamite in Manhattan Beach

Rocking the Boat at Fishing With Dynamite

 

Special menu items drop anchor at Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach, just in time for some celebrating.

WRITTEN BY JENNY PETERS | PHOTOS COURTESY OF FISHING WITH DYNAMITE

If you haven’t already ventured into chef David LeFevre’s fabulous seafood eatery called Fishing with Dynamite, then get there in the next few weeks for some special dining. For they are celebrating Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras with limited-time menus designed to get you drooling.

The Manhattan Beach restaurant is intimate, with seating for only 35 guests, so to get in on the fun we advise luring in a limited reservation via phone or Open Table now.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, LeFevre has concocted the “Love Boat” seafood platter, filling it with chilled, super-fresh selections: six oysters, two Peruvian scallops, four shrimp cocktail bites and a half-pound King crab—for $48.

Also on the special menu is Steamed Black Cod in Thai Red Curry ($19); Whole Atlantic Lobster with Meyer Lemon Potato Puree and Drawn Butter ($44); and Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake and Raspberries ($9). All is a recipe for a seriously decadent evening at one of the hottest restaurants in the coastal enclave harboring it.

Chef’s got the good times rolling straight through Fat Tuesday (Feb. 17), too, with a hearty Gumbo concocted with shrimp, chicken, linguisa (spicy smoked pork sausage), hot sauce and basmati rice. So don your beads and boas to dinner for an authentic evening out.

And if those specials don’t entice your taste buds, the talked-about toque has (much) more to offer. Don’t miss trying one of his seasonal offerings, especially if you see the whole New Zealand Tai snapper ($48) on the menu. It’s “First Dibbs!” for a reason—and a crunchy delight. The Maryland crab cake is the genuine article, and save room for the pretzel and chocolate bread pudding served with house-made ice cream, a sweet finish to share with your favorite dining partner.

Dine There
Fishing with Dynamite
1148 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310-893-6299
www.eatfwd.com