Manhattan Beach, LA

Hermosa BeachForgive me for gloating, but I have just had a GREAT weekend. Not only did I escape to the sunny climes of Hermosa Beach in LA for the weekend, but I got to spend it with two of my most favourite people, my mom- and sister-in-law.

It was one of those weekends where nothing mattered, there were no rules, no schedules to stick to, and the fashion of the weekend was our pyjamas. I’ll spare you all the details of our vodka-filled evenings, date-night with Robert De Niro (‘The Intern’ is a great movie!) and hours spent gossiping and laughing on the sofa. What I really want to share with you, is of course, the food! There are so many great places to eat in this area of LA, so I thought I’d give you a run-down of my favourite places to eat…

The Kettle, Manhattan Beach

The Kettle is set a couple of blocks back from Manhattan Beach Pier. This ‘locally famous’ restaurant is open 24 hours a day, every day (except Christmas Day) and serves the BEST food. Sissy suggested going to the Kettle as it has an all-day breakfast menu, which was perfect considering we were ordering our breakfast as most people were sitting down to lunch. But having made the 1.5 mile walk along the Strand from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach, I thought I’d try to keep up the good work and skipped quickly past the breakfast section and over to the salads.

I quickly decided on the Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad and Honey Bran Muffin (the salads come with your choice of muffin – genius!). However, when sissy’s plate loaded with pancakes, eggs and bacon was placed in front of her, I was hit by a wave of instant food envy – “why didn’t I order the pancakes?” I sulked inwardly to myself.

The answer was then placed in front of me – an Everest-sized salad mountain of diced chicken, smoked bacon, avocado and crumbled bleu cheese. Having been instructed from a young age to “finish my dinner”, I set upon my salad challenge with dedication and determination, neither of which were needed as when it was finally time to admit defeat there were just a couple of rather lonely salad leaves and a drizzle of dressing left on the plate. It was now time to turn my attentions to the rather unremarkable looking Honey Bran muffin. “I’ll just take a bite to see what it tastes like” I told myself. BIG MISTAKE – this ugly duckling blossomed into the highlight of my meal! This sweet, sticky, heavenly piece of deliciousness was devoured in super-fast time.

Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, Manhattan Beach

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I am sure most of you will have realised by now that I love love love Mexican food and although we didn’t manage to fit in a visit to Pancho’s during this trip, I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t mention it in this post.

Whether you are searching for authentic Mexican food or a tipple of the finest tequila, Pancho’s will not disappoint. The food is incredible, the ambience lively, and the decor unrivalled, with huge wooden front doors that once belonged to a Spanish castle, colourful stained glass windows and tropical plants throughout the restaurant. And for those who fancy themselves as the next Taylor Swift after a few margaritas (which you must try as they are the best!), there is often karaoke in the upstairs bar.

The Manhattan Beach Creamery, Manhattan Beach 

The Creamery

Fellow sweet-toothers, this place will blow your mind!!!

The Creamery is a Willy Wonker-esque paradise packed full of the most amazing ice-creams, cream’wiches (ice-cream sandwiches), cupcakes, macaroons and candy. As I stood in the centre of the store with my hands clasping my head, (happy) tears in my eyes and having lost the ability to speak, mom and sissy soon realised I was on the verge of complete melt-down at having to choose just ONE thing from the chilled counters of orgasmic lusciousness. So they decided on an Original Cream’wich (chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice-cream), a Strawberry Shortcake Cream’wich (strawberry ice-cream with sugar cookies) and a Frozen Chocolate Banana for us all to share. With all the wonderful ice-cream flavours and other equally tempting treats, I wondered why they would opt for a simple frozen banana, but looked forward to eating the cream’wiches.

My first try was the Original Cream’wich – wow that was good! Then on to the Strawberry Shortcake Cream’wich, which was even better. I could taste the fresh strawberries jumping out of the creamy ice-cream and the sweet sugary biscuit was the perfect complement. Then behold my new foodie crush, THE FROZEN CHOCOLATE DIPPED BANANA – it was head-over heals, love at first bite – I’m banana’s over frozen banana!

What is it with us Brits? We invented the telephone, the steam engine, TV and even the world-wide web, but we still haven’t truly welcomed the frozen banana. It’s healthy (hey it’s fruit right?!!!), oh so easy to make, and is unbelievably DELICIOUS – chocolate and banana is a heavenly taste combination! So here is a Frozen Chocolate Banana Recipe – please spread and share the Frozen Banana love!

To make Frozen Chocolate Banana’s I can recommend using the Tovolo® Non-Stick Baking Mat.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

The Banana Main

Ingredients:

4 Bananas
12oz Chocolate Chips
3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
Sprinkles, Toasted Coconut or Chopped Nuts (Optional)

Instructions:

Line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper.

Insert an ice-lolly stick into the bottom each banana. Place them on the baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate with the oil in a bowl above a half-full pan of simmering water (for approx. 2 minutes). Stir until smooth.

Roll each banana in the melted chocolate, then quickly sprinkle with your chosen topping (if using).

Freeze until the chocolate sets, (for approx. 30 minutes).

Serve or freeze in an airtight container for up to a week.

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