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Coastal Spanish on the West Coast

I’ve been spending more time exploring the South Bay, an area south of LAX which can feel too far for some to venture into. Let me just say: it’s worth the drive - especially if you want to explore some beautiful beaches that aren’t tourist-heavy like Santa Monica and Venice. In Redondo Beach is where I came across Gabi James, a restaurant dedicated to Mediterranean cuisine and libations. It’s located on a bustling street with many thriving restaurants, shops and cafes. When you first walk into Gabi James, you’re welcomed by the sleek and modern design. Light-colored wood-top tables and exposed ceiling beams, the earth-toned pixelated backsplash behind the bar, and the enveloping ombré hunter green walls - all of these elements create a wonderful vibe to match their excellent menu. Their dinner offers a more traditional approach to Spanish items like: fideuà, saffron scallops, paella, and pulpo y papa, but I wanted to experience their brunch. I enjoy having brunch - what’s not to love about day drinking by the beach? - and I was very excited to see their eclectic brunch options. The first item that captivated my attention was their ‘Tortilla Española’. Similar to how frittatas are prepared, this thick slice of egg torte was layered with potatoes and topped in a sherry vinegar aioli. The savoriness of the eggs and potatoes with the sharp, acidity of the aioli was a perfect marriage. I paired this with their rosé sangria. It’s dryer and less sweet than the red sangria that they offer. The ‘Papas Verdes’ are paella-spiced crispy fingerling potatoes on a spread of mojo verde - a blend of herbs and greens. It’s also served with chorizo and topped with a fried egg. Another must for me is their ‘Merguez Burger’: a burger with hints of spicy and sweet. It has a tender lamb patty rubbed in Tunisian spices and it’s topped with yogurt, cucumber, date chutney on a homemade brioche bun. It’s paired with a side of shoestring fries that come with a harissa dipping sauce. I was happy to see a variety of options for vermouth and gin, but was even more ecstatic when I saw they carried basque wine: txakolina. I’ve never had the rosé varietal and it was a pleasant surprise. If you’re in the mood for something on the sweeter side, then the ‘Crèpe Pierre’ is what you want. A traditional crèpe that’s filled with chocolate mousse. It’s drizzled in orange syrup and topped with crushed marcona almonds. The chocolate and orange pairing is a familiar flavor in Italian cuisine. The orange helps in downplaying the overall sweetness of the chocolate and the marcona almonds add a level of texture. Gabi James 1810 S Catalina Ave Redondo Beach, CA 90277

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