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STACKED

Christmas Shopping Survival Tips – For the South Bay, anyway

As you probably heard, Thanksgiving is around the corner and based on my server stats that means for most of you the Christmas holiday shopping/spending season will begin Friday. Since I live in Torrance and we are the center of the craft beer explosion in the Greater Los Angeles Area, I figured I should give some tips to those of you that will be coming to our malls; primarily Del Amo Fashion Square and the South Bay Galleria. You are in luck; if you do have to venture to these locations for your Christmas shopping there is quite a bit of good beer available without having to give up your parking spot. Of course, if you can drop the wife off you can take your own mini craft beer tour and avoid the parking situation entirely, but if you have to go inside I have you covered.

I ventured off to the newly remodeled Del Amo Fashion Square and immediately rewrote this article in my head. I had planned one thing but parking was mind blowing and it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at 1:00 PM. My advice is that if you are shopping at Del Amo, find a central parking spot and stick with it. Trying to drive to the other end would just be silly. I don’t visit the mall often, but when I do I find the parking is best on the east side; so you want to get to the southwest corner of Madrona and Fashion Way. When you see the AMC sign, turn south into the parking lot. You may end up having to use the structures, but they are new and I really have no knowledge of how well they are set up.

On the outside of the mall, on the east side, there is a large courtyard area that features places like Starbucks, PF Chang’s and has the entrance to the theaters. Also in that group are three locations that have pretty decent offerings of craft beer and most carry at least a couple local brews. Continue reading

A Visit to STACKED Torrance

Regular readers of my site may recall that back in March I visited a STACKED restaurant in Cerritos for a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing. While we had a very good time exploring the STACKED menu and trying the various craft beers that had been presented, Cerritos is almost 20 miles from my home so the likelihood of my returning just for dinner was not very good. While we were at the Cerritos location I was informed that STACKED has four locations; Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Torrance, which is about five minutes from my home, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime.

As a result of my article the public relations company for STACKED began inviting me to events at their other locations; but as the invites were always to Thousand Oaks or San Diego the distance was just too far to justify the drive. After the last invitation I reminded them that I lived in the South Bay; I was then invited to visit the Torrance location. After a few emails back and forth, I was told to head over to the Torrance location and was given a couple names to ask for when I got there. When we arrived yesterday I found out that the two names were managers at the Cerritos location. This was not a good start.

Tanya and I went outside to decide where we would eat when Ashley Brown, manager for the Torrance STACKED came out and asked what brought us there in the first place. After hearing that there must have been a mix-up somewhere and not wanting to lose the opportunity for some exposure, Brown invited us back in. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tasting at STACKED Cerritos

Last week I was invited to participate in a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing and hosted by STACKED: Food Well Built in Cerritos. I know that I frequently discuss location when it comes to the invitations I choose to accept and Cerritos isn’t exactly next door, it is a little less than 20 miles from my home, but since Craft Beer Guild Distributing has been on my radar lately I thought we would go ahead and deal with the traffic on the 91. We went last night and in retrospect, I am glad we did.

While I do not usually discuss food on this site, STACKED is different than most gastropubs that I visit. The primary difference is that while the menu is made up primarily of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and salads, the customer is the one that designs the meal. Virtually every item on the food menu is “build your own.” The brainchild of STACKED co-founder and CEO Paul Montenko, STACKED provides every table with an iPad and a menu that allows you to drop and drag the items you want on your burger or pizza. While Burger King may have been the first to let you “hold the pickles, hold the lettuce” STACKED takes it further by not charging you for the pickles or lettuce you did not ask for and letting you add any of 18 toppings including pastrami, pulled pork or caramelized onions. They have six bun options (one of which is no bun), six cheese options and even eight different types of meat for your patty. After creating your meal you simply hit submit and a few minutes later you start receiving your order. One of the nice things about this is that you can order your drinks, they have a full bar, and have that delivered while you peruse the menu. If you want an appetizer before your meal, order it up on the iPad and it will show up before the main course. It really is pretty cool.

A couple last words on the food: Candied Bacon. Man, oh man, that is some good stuff. As usual, since Tanya and I typically split meals I let her build our burger which brought up another issue: eyes and their relationships to stomachs. It is really easy to build a burger that is bigger than you will ever fit in your mouth. A gentleman at the table next to us did just that; I suspect that after you have been there a couple times you should be able to figure out how to make the perfect burger for yourself. Tanya really enjoys Mac ‘n’ Cheese so she ordered a basic one to check it out; I have to admit it was pretty tasty. Continue reading

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