Monday, June 17, 2024

Long Beach Food Scene Intel: Ackee Bamboo slowly inching to open; Nook, Moonbridge open; 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. To join his food group of over 60,000 members on Facebook, the Long Beach Food Scene, click here.


Chef Giuseppe Musso—longtime leader of Michael’s Downtown—leaves for Katella Deli

Michael’s Downtown is undergoing a big change as its owner, Carl Dene, focuses on his efforts up in Napa and, as of Feb. 2, kitchen leader Chef Giuseppe Musso formally departs to make way for Katella Deli.

“He simply didn’t want to work under new leadership, which is completely understandable,” Dene said, who also noted that he has partnered with Martin Howard and the owner of Ubuntu, Felipe Esteves, to eventually turn the space into a second location for Ubuntu.

Look for that full story in the coming days.


Signage for Broken Spirits Distillery goes up in the rain

The signage for Broken Spirits Distillery has officially gone up in the rain after the removal of the former Portuguese Bend signage started earlier.

When it was announced in October of 2023 that the group behind Orange County’s wildly popular Smoke & Fire and Villains Brewing concepts would be taking over the former Portuguese Bend space, there was a huge sigh of relief: Portuguese bend was wrapped up in bankruptcy and drama following its abrupt closure in the beginning of 2023, marking the downfall of the city’s first formal distillery.


Ackee Bamboo’s Long Beach location is not dead in the water—just very slowly moving forward

The famed Leimert Park legend that is Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine has been facing its own slew of uphill battles in getting their Broadway location open in the former Cafe Piccolo space—but owner  Marlene Sinclair-Beckford assured that “all is going well. Things are slowly but surely moving forward [with our new contractor].”

After Cafe Piccolo closed their space on Broadway following decades of service, the owners of Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine announced their move-in last year. Owners Marlene Sinclair-Beckford and Delroy Beckford told me earlier this year that, praying construction follows through as planned, the restaurant hoped to open in May. Then they hoped to open by the fall.

Send them all the good vibes…


Moonbridge Doughnut Studio soft opens

Every day from 7AM to noon, you can experience Long Beach’s latest take on donuts via Moonbridge Doughnut Studio, with owners Anabelle Brown and Kim Gros saying there has been a consistent line outside the shop since its opening Feb. 4 each morning.

Introductory flavors? Vietnamese coffee, almond citrus poppyseed old-fashioned, everything bagel, blueberry pie, apple fritter, smoked maple, and salted citrus.

“What a rush of excitement it was! We loved seeing familiar faces who came yesterday too and all the new faces today! We sold out of doughnuts in about two hours but we kept our top tier coffee program going until noon. Thank you for all the warmth!,” the pair said on Instagram.


Colossus brings back Michelin Starred pastry chef Cecilia Tolone for semlor popup

“Last year’s semlor pop-up was so fun we are doing it again.” These are the words of the Colossus Bread team as they invite three Michelin Starred pastry chef Cecilia Tolone (who also happened to be a Long Beach native but works professionally in Sweden at Frantzén) to make semlor on Feb. 13, from 7AM to noon.

“Semlor are traditional Swedish buns flavored with cardamom and filled with sweet almond paste and freshly whipped cream,” the announcement on Instagram read. “They have been eaten for Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French, Fettisdagen in Swedish) for centuries. They are now so popular in Sweden that the “semla season” stretches from the beginning of January to almost Easter.”

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Here’s what you need to know:

  • Pre-orders for boxes of 4 are available on the Colossus website
  • Pre-orders will be cut off 2 days prior OR when sold out. Order now so you don’t miss out!
  • Individual semlor will be available first come first serve on Tuesday 2/13.
  • Semlor will only be available at the Belmont Shore location: 4716 2nd St.

Breakfast joint Nook opens in Signal Hill

The Lomita-based Nook Breakfast Spot has officially taken over the former GD Bro Burger spot in Signal Hill at 1798 E. Willow St. The spot is a straight-forward, breakfast-all-day joint that highlights the classics: From house-made biscuits and gravy to a seemingly endless variety of omelettes.


East Village Cafe (formerly Village Grind) set to have grand reopening

The space which was formerly Village Grind—now East Village Cafe—has been in operation in DTLB for 15 years and, in the coming two weeks, the space will be redoing its menu, and “changing our interior and re-strategizing our operations,” said Jennapheaur Martine.

“We are launching our soft reopening February 16th through 18th. We are changing our focus to our bagels and focusing on bringing artisan bagel and cream cheese items to the East Village.”


ICYMI: Long Beach’s ReMix Kitchen Bar to partner with ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ runner-up Chef Benvenuti in hopes to permanently rebrand space

It could be one of the most dramatic transformations of a Long Beach restaurant in a long while: Chef Ross Pangilinan’s ReMix will have Hell’s Kitchen runner-up Chef Johnathan Benvenuti take over the space across a series of popup dinner services throughout February.

Dubbed ‘Bar Becky’—after the chef’s late mother—the series will be a launching pad for Benvenuti’s debut in the Long Beach food scene and, should they prove successful, become the permanent branding for the space.

To read the full story, click here.


ICYMI: Long Beach Mardi Gras festival—West Coast’s largest free party dedicated to Fat Tuesday—returns to Shoreline Village

The Long Beach Mardi Gras festival and parade—the West Coast’s largest free party dedicated to Fat Tuesday and an annual tradition that has been kept alive for years—returns to Shoreline Village to bring a sense of NOLA to DTLB come Saturday, Feb. 10.

For the full article, click here.


ICYMI: Port City Tavern’s literary-centric cocktail menu proves its one of Long Beach’s coolest bars

Port City Tavern, East Long Beach’s highbrow-meets-lowbrow bar that was once Iguana Kelly’s, is becoming one of Long Beach’s most creative cocktail spaces, allowing its array of bartenders to explore their creativity in ways that few, if any, bars are doing.

Just take a look at their latest menu of libations: From “Catcher in the Rye” and “Curious George” to “Holes” and “The Hobbit,” Port City asked their concoction creators to write a liquid poem to their favorite books.

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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