“Mrs.T” is an imaginary consultant for the confused, advising diners and Valentiners on the best meal for the best deal at this loving time. Though the letters are admittedly fabricated, the issues are authentic, based on questions presented to Entrée Columnist Gretchen Williams by Random Lengths News readers.
Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which saves my hide but not by much. I am on the schedule to work on the holiday itself, so no one is too disappointed, but I will have to play catch- up later in the week. Festivities like Valentine’s Day can really stretch a popular bachelor’s wallet. Local lobster dinner is the request of each of my lovely lady friends. I know the roses and chocolates routine, but where to check out the local crustacean action?
Handsome Harbor Worker
Stick to the harbor and pick up to Tommy Amalfitano’s San Pedro Fish Market and Café. Hard by Ports O’ Call Village and right on the main channel, Tommy’s has been offering the freshest fish and seafood available for over 30 years.
The Café is the cozy indoor part of the seafood complex, with comfortable seating and good house wine. Local artists’ works grace the walls and the tanks are full of local spiny lobster. The ultimate in “localvore” fare, the crimson beauties are steamed and served with butter dipping sauce, soup or salad, steamed vegetables and potatoes and toasted garlic bread, for $34.95. House signature clam chowder or house spectacular salad with greens, garbanzos, olives, slivered carrots, red onion slices, cherry tomatoes and terrific house made vinaigrette dressing are both great choices. Toasted garlic bread uses Tommy’s garlic spread and house seasoning sprinkle for colorful crunchy bread fingers. In decades past, local spiny lobster was a viable commercial harvest. Even with a diminished fishery, the price is right. Keep pumping, Romeo.
Venue: San Pedro Fish Market and Café, Ports O’Call Village
Location: 1190 Nagoya Way, San Pedro
My darling is a local musician, known for friendly music and musical friends all over town. He has a keen fashion sense, and is especially fond of Hawaiian shirts, both vintage and modern. I would like to add to his fine collection of Hawaiiana, as well. Any ideas for my Valentine?
Merry Wife of Rocker
Venture to downtown to visit charming Darka at Drop In Gifts on 6th Street. Her assortment of classic and today Island shirts run the gamut from simple cotton to very refined silk, rayon and linen. Sizes range from children to 4X men’s.
Darka’s shop is also known for a myriad assortment of greeting cards, memorabilia from old California and San Pedro, intricately beaded jackets and hand appliquéd T-shirts. Enjoy the warm welcome on 1St. Thursday evenings, when Darka’s Drop In gifts is host to a bevy of beautiful Darka’s gorgeous friends. Rock On.
Venue: Drop In Gifts
Location: 385 W.6th St., San Pedro
My potential Valentine is a vegetarian and I am decidedly not. Do you have any suggestions for luncheon al Fresco?
“Steamed” is cute as you would expect a veggie place to be. The plant- lined patio space is private from busy 3rd Street, but open to the sky. Help yourself to refreshing cucumber flavored water. Try the mushroom and jack cheese quesadilla with fresh spinach leaves and whole grain corn tortillas. The tab seems stiff until you see the size of this wonderful monster. The average quesadilla pales by comparison. Even the most devoted meat eater will love to share this quesadilla and ponder the meaning of a universe without violence or barbecue sauce.
Venue: Drop In Gifts
Location: 801 E.3rd Street Long Beach
Visiting Europeans will come to enjoy the winter sunshine next week and they are a bit snobby about food and drink, though they just love a great U.S. style steak. Are there any places around the Harbor that would measure up to European cuisine and service, as well as a good bar?
Proud Pedro Girl
J.Trani’s Ristorante on 9th Street is serving spectacular steaks and seafood, and with Dustin in the kitchen, the legacy of decades of Trani service endures. Bartender Greg is the familiar smiling face behind the cocktail shaker. The appetizer of cold-smoked swordfish carpaccio is phenomenal. Add a dry Beefeater martini. Life is worth living again, and your Europeans will be warm and cool and will never want to leave.
Details: (310) 832-1220
Venue: J.Trani’s Ristorante
Location: 584 W.9th Street San Pedro
I know that my Valentine will say yes, and I would really like to pop the question at the most romantic spot in the Harbor.
Dear Mr. Coming Attractions,
Step out to The Sky Room in Long Beach for the view of a lifetime, encompassing the entire harbor complex. Look out to sea to spy Catalina, study the inner workings of the port and hold hands. Love your dove from this perch high above the skyline. Order stunning cocktails. Kiss kiss.
Venue:The Sky Room
Location: 40 S.Locust Ave., Long Beach