10 Essential Places To Eat While You're Attending The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
This weekend is The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. If you happen to be attending and you want to get out to see the town beyond what Shoreline Village has to offer, you will want to take a walk to Downtown (trust us: leave the driving to the racers). Here are 10 essential places in Downtown Long Beach this humble food critic thinks is worth the side trip.
Christina Bryson Fresh seafood from Pier 76
Long Beach is full of breakfast joints, but none quite like this. Located in the heart of downtown and serving as the restaurant to the hotel it's attached to, The Breakfast Bar is part diner, part bar, part LGBT and hipster hangout. The diner part makes insane egg dishes such as the thing called The Hungover, wherein a mountain of fresh, hot French fries gets piled with cheese-laced scrambled eggs, sausage gravy, onions and peppers. And if you don't have a hangover yet, they stock an eclectic mix of beer, some good wine, and specialty cocktails made with soju. Take the cucumber lemonade, a refreshingly brisk surge of tart, sweet and coolness which has enough cucumber shavings to qualify as a salad. And when you need more food to fortify your stomach from your third or fourth glass, try their signature omelet casserole, whose recipe was reportedly passed down for three generations and takes 24 hours to make.
70 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 726-1700; the-breakfast-bar.com
For a complete Spanish experience--and I do mean, like, with flamenco dancers and the Gipsy Kings as the constant and only soundtrack--one must go to Cafe Sevilla. Here you will sit in a darkly-lit romantic space evoking the passion of Spanish culture, drink more sangria than you ever drank, and graze on tapas, those bite-sized, meant-to-be-shared "small plates" that were around before every restaurant in America started serving everything as "small plates". The dish everyone orders is the "three tapas" sampler--a long platter with, yup, three generous helpings of the restaurant's most popular tapas dishes. With toothpicks as your eating utensil, you snack on salchicas, which simply means assorted sausages; gambas al ajillo, shrimp cooked with garlic and wine; and patatas bravas, roasted potatoes.
140 Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802, (562) 495-1111; http://cafesevilla.com