Thursday, May 30, 2024

Long Beach Food Scene Intel: Plunge, V-Burger close; BBQ fest to return; more

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Missed previous Long Beach Food Scene Intel updates? We got you covered, boo: Click here for the full archive.

Long Beach Food Scene Intel is a series from Brian Addison that will recap food news throughout the city, both news that needs just a quick mention or repeated news where you might have missed the full features.


Plunge closes indefinitely

Perched inside the massive luxury apartment tower on Ocean just a bit west of Cherry sat Plunge, a hidden gem of a restaurant filled with decent food that matched its stellar views of the city’s shoreline—and it is indefinitely closing amid staff shortages.

Owner Randy Kolstad—one of the most down-to-earth folks in the industry—created an enclave for food lovers wishing to escape the concrete metropolis of Ocean and enjoy an almost secretive space but finding steady employees has proved difficult. And it may be hard to gauge what that will mean in the long run considering it isn’t likely you can hire more staff without being open.


V-Burger permanently closes

V-Burger—easily the city’s best vegan burger spot—will permanently close after it was announced on Instagram by owners and husband-and-wife team Paula and Alex Armstrong after unsuccessfully trying to sell their business. Last day of service is likely to be somewhere mid-April.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce we have to close our doors. This decision was not made lightly, and we want to express our sincerest gratitude for your support and patronage over the years,” the post read. “Due to the combination of the rise in prices of all our food service products and the volume of our sales, we are unable to continue operating at this time.”

Opening in the smack dab middle of summer during the smack dab middle of the pandemic in 2020 at 420 Cherry Ave., the Armstrongs have been building a name in the vegan scene as the city’s best vegan burger—and they’ve succeeded in owning that title.


ISM Brewing scores more medals

After scoring their first medal just last month, ISM Brewing—the brewery that over the former Beachwood space on The Promenade in DTLB—had added an additional five medals from the Brewers Cup of California: A gold for their Amberlite Firemist Vienna lager; a silver for their Plough & Harrow saison; and bronzes for their Gulp of Mexico Mexican lager, Lifted Camaro double IPA, and Stable Trestles Belgian session.


Halfway to Halloween Hootenanny not happening this year

Speaking of beer and on a much sadder note, the much-loved Halfway to Halloween Hootenanny beer festival from Long Beach beer veterans Dennis Trilles, Ryan Svab-Hughes, and Martin Svab, will not happen. Their two traditional venues—the Museum of Latin American Art and Rancho Los Cerritos—were both booked through the summer, forcing Trilles to begin booking for the festival next year.


2nd Annual Long Beach Barbecue Festival returns

Tickets for the 2nd annual Long Beach BBQ Festival—hosted by Axiom Kitchen and Noah’s Arc Foundation and in collaboration with LB Living—are now available for the event come May 25 from noon to 9PM at Shoreline Aquatic Park.

It is a massive expansion upon last year—just check out the lineup:

  • Axiom Kitchen
  • Full Send BBQ
  • Brother’s Keeper BBQ
  • Big Brian’s Meats
  • Zook’s Kitchen
  • Good Smoke Better Eats
  • Oso’s BBQ
  • OSO Good BBQ
  • Fat Boys BBQ LA
  • Janer Family BBQ
  • Inglorious Funnels

And this year, alcohol got an upgrade: They all not only have whiskey tastings but a full bar with a VIP lounge section close to the stage, as well as an amateur chili cook off contest. Click here for tickets.


More boba: Hechalou opens in Lakewood

The Long Beach area’s boba options have just expanded even further with the addition of Hechalou in Lakewood on Carson Street near Paramount Boulevard. The Taiwanese-based chain marks the second big chain to come from the Southeast Asian country, following the opening of another bob space, Gong Cha, at Marina Pacifica earlier this year.


ICYMI: Unlimited wine pours from over 20 wineries as LA Wine Fest returns to Long Beach

The 19th annual LA Wine Fest—which moved from Los Angeles to Long Beach in 2019—will once again take over the Harry Bridges Memorial Park space near the Queen Mary come June 1 and 2 with unlimited pours for all wine lovers alike.

Read the full article here.

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ICYMI: Long Beach Last Call draws thousands across 10-day celebration of bar culture

Thousands of revelers—be they dancers or drinkers, in the industry or seeking to support it—came out in love for Long Beach Last Call: 15 events across 10 days of celebration in the name of our bar culture and the people behind one of our strongest social and economic drivers. 

And for me organizing it, it is hard not to make this a personal thank you since this was a special collaboration that involved myself, my partner Samuel Cornejo, Chris Lewis of Nosotros, Scott Lennard of RNDC, and the countless folks within the industry.

For the full article, click here.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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