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Mussels in LA?

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  • Susan Jul 17, 2001 11:07 AM
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Any ideas about where to get Mussels in a casual, beach like atmosphere? (aside from under the pier!) Tried Seafood Market Cafe in Hermosa, it was pretty good, with big succulent yummy green lipped mussels (my favorites), but small portions. Any other ideas?

Thanks!!

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  1. I had never thought much about this before but, Anthony Bourdain, in his wonderful book "Kitchen Confidential" says that's the one item he never orders in a restaurtant. As a professional chef, I guess he knows that nobody seems to take the time to check them individually before cooking them.

    I had them recently at Le Petit Bistro in Sherman Oaks. They were tasty enough, but I felt ill the next day. I can't say the two events were related, but...

    By the way, Trader Joes sells some excellent frozen mussels in a light butter sauce that are farm raised and imported from Ireland. Definitely worth a try.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob Brooks

      Hmmm . . . TJs, huh? I've never had a problem with Mussels in a restaurant . . . but then, I've never had food poisoning, I think I have pretty much of an iron stomach.

      Why is everybody concerned about mussels and not about other shellfish? Just curious. I read about how 'natural' mussels get toxic during certain seasons, but I thought Mussels served in restaurants were required to be farm grown.

      1. re: SusanB

        If I remember, Bourdain's warning wasn't about the way mussels are raised but about the way they're stored. Apparently restaurants keep mussels -- for too long -- in dark corners in big vats that nobody wants to clean. Bourdain descibes digging your hand in to scoop the mussels out -- gross. Then again he admits he himself orders them when he has a hankering.

        As for TJs, I like the frozen clams (not very tender but good for linguine.) Never liked their fish. But the mussels sound great. Will definitely give them a try...

        1. re: Rafi

          Ewww, that's quite a visual, I get the pic now. Especially since the shells are not removed before cooking, ewww. But hey, I'll probably continue to order them until I get sick once, and then I'll never order them again! Trying to stick to restaurants where that is their main schtik, like Moby Dick on the pier in Santa Barbara.

          I guess I could just give in and cook them myself instead - they are easy to cook, cheap to buy, etc etc . . . I'm just LAZY! ;)

          1. re: SusanB

            You can get sick from shellfish right out of the water.
            I was warned about oysters near Mazatlan because the fishermens hands were dirty, but I knew I was returning to the land of 2 ply-just in time.
            I had farm raised oysters right out of the water near Tweeds Head in Australia. Had deliriums all night.

    2. If you're in the South Bay area you might try the mussels at Scardino's restaurant, located on Torrance Boulevard just West of Anza, north side. This former hole-in-the-wall pizza place expanded their dining room recently. They make excellent seafood risottos and pastas and also a mean bowl of mussels. The Argentine owners are really nice people, and the chef comes out of the kitchen to chat with customers when business allows.

      P.S. The pizza is good too, one of the best if not the best in the South Bay.