Full disclosure – this is my effort at playing catch up. The year that 2017 follows (I dare not say its name) proved challenging for me, personally and otherwise. Still, there were a number of bright spots to counter the difficulties. I said goodbye to my 15-year family of colleagues at my Health Department job, but I gained a whole new family at Long Beach City College. My I-Phone failed me in innumerable ways during the last part of the year, though I eventually got a new phone (in rose gold, with lots and lots of GBs). I had to savor my last few weeks with the fabulous, witty, charming, handsome, and clever President Barack Obama, but was able to welcome a new, vibrant, and resourceful president…of my daughter’s high school volleyball boosters program. And though orders of over-fried chicken tenders and uninspired noodle dishes made me want to cry, I did enjoy a few great plates and places worth sharing. All in one post. Yep, this is a long one since I sucked at posting on this here little blog last year.

I’ll be brief.

Not really. This might take awhile. (But I haven’t posted in months – so deal with it. I mean, you’ve read this much. I’m guessing you don’t mind hanging out here.)

Playa Amor
6527 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.

The celebrated sister-cousin to Cerritos’ Amor Y Tacos and Redondo Beach’s Ortega 120, Amor Y Tacos’ playful cuisine stands its own ground, giving us much to love. I happily dug in to my standard enchilada pick, though I will return soon for their New Mexico Green Hatch Spaghetti.
Long Beach || Good for Celebrations || Great Drinks || Date Night

Recreational Coffee
237 Long Beach Blvd.

Press and slow brewed coffee, espresso drinks, and tea – and vegan doughnuts from The Caffeinated Kitchen.
Long Beach || Great Coffee || People Watching || Studying/Writing || Lunch with Pals

Rainbow Juices
246 E. 3rd Street

Freshly pressed juices, and a bottle return incentive program. I got a little addicted to the Tangerine Dream (seasonal).
Long Beach || Fresh Press Juices || Cleanses

Rainbow Juices

Working Class Kitchen
1322 Coronado

This is a repeat. Had to share about WCK’s Friday night fried chicken dinners. Fun stuff.
Long Beach || Fried Chicken Fridays || Outdoor Seating

Ocean Market Grill
6332 E. Pacific Coast Highway (next to Barnes & Noble)

Easy place to pick up a couple few fish tacos before your movie.
Long Beach || Tacos || Date Night

Ocean Market Grill | Dianderthal

Food Haus Café
2106 S. Olive in LA

In need of a satisfying burger (I’m willing to drop my “I don’t eat beef” thing when a craving hits), I stopped by this LA spot after a weekend-long volleyball tournament at the convention center. It satisfied damn well (though I went right back to not eating beef when done).
Los Angeles || Burgers || Lunch with Pals

525 E. Broadway

Another rewind, just to share their succulent fried chicken taco. It’s neato.
Long Beach || Happy Hour || Drinks || Tacos || Outdoor Seating

The Pan
3550 Long Beach Blvd.

Cozy Bixby Knolls spot for breakfast, pizza, salads. They serve a nice sangria as well.
Long Beach || Breakfast || Family

5211 E. 2nd Street and other locations

This 2nd Street sweet spot helps to end a boozy night on a high note. Features macaron ice cream sandwiches and other treats.
Long Beach || Sweets || Family || Date Night

5856 E. Naples Plaza

This friendly Italian restaurant in Naples was a filling find during Long Beach Restaurant Week.
Long Beach || Family || Pasta || Date Night

Long Beach Thai
3320 E. Anaheim

Yes, I got the Pad Thai yet again. And I’ve gotten it again. And I’ve gotten it again.
Long Beach | Thai | Lunch with Pals

Eating Seattle

This trip last Mother’s Day should have had Dianderthal blog post written all over it. Instead, I left underwhelmed, sad that I didn’t find a knockout dish, a cool vibe-y space, a phenomenal cocktail. I’m willing to give Seattle another chance, however, figuring that my choices were just wrong. Not all was mediocre, however. I very much enjoyed my waffle (and the atmosphere) at Metier Racing & Coffee, and my pizza slice right next door at Sizzle Pie. However, breakfast at Toulouse Petit looked beautiful but didn’t quite stun in the taste department. And I was very displeased by the service at St. Cloud’s, forgotten for a couple long stretches by our waitress (and my brothy pasta neared a hot mess). I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my filled doughnuts from General Porpoise, but by the time I got to them, my little belly was quite big (following the pizza slice and the waffle) so my the savoring of them was limited. The best eat in my kid’s opinion was the chocolate cake from our hotel’s restaurant, the Hilton Garden Inn Garden Grille.

Pot at the Line Hotel
3515 Wilshire Blvd.

I met up with my friend and former boss across the street from her new office at Pot, Roy Choi and friends’ take on sit down street Korean cuisine. Go with a group.
Los Angeles || Late Night || Drinks || Korean

2708 E. 4th Street

Back again for the charred Spanish octopus, organic chicken breast, and the now retired (according to a friend who recently visited) parmesan churros (cross your fingers they bring them back before your next visit).

Long Beach || Dinner || Date Night || Outdoor Seating

Ballast Point
110 Marina Drive and other locations in San Diego & Temecula

Fast becoming a shining jewel in Long Beach’s craft beer crown, Ballast Point is a wonderful place to just be. To simply exist in their bustling community space is almost enough. On top of that, there’s beer. Lots of it. And some nice bar bites (though they’d probably see me a lot more frequently if the food were tad bit tastier and fun).

Long Beach || Craft Beer || Big Groups || Outdoor Seating

The 4262
4262 Atlantic

This spot close to home took over the space of a past Dianderthal entry, Atun, which closed in 2016. Like my visit to Atun, I stopped in at The 4262 early on, just a week or so after opening. While I really wanted more tang and flavor to my fried chicken sandwich, I’m open to giving them another try, especially thanks to their yummy fries and other promising items on the menu. Plus, it’s so close to me!
Long Beach || Date Night || Dinner

Kafe Neo
2800 E. 4th Street

Heard raves about this place for year. Met friends for lunch one Friday, returned Saturday morning with the husband to try breakfast. Healthy and rich.
Long Beach || Greek || Breakfast || Lunch

South Coast Winery
34843 Rancho California Road in Temecula

Say wine, I’m there. An entire vineyard with a spa? I’ll take a room. This chilaquiles breakfast with mimosa? I’m moving in.
Temecula || Wine || Getaway || Day Trip

That’s my year in food. Who knows what 2017 will bring. At least in food I can be optimistic.