Sand. Beer. Mariscos.
Call them the Holy Trinity of SoCal beach life.
At Día de Campo in Hermosa Beach, all three are in plentiful supply.
Día de Campo's dining room
One short block from the shortline, it's both the result of and an homage to intersecting worlds of Mexican and Californian surf cultures, housed in a sort of stylish Baja-inspired lodge. Colorful poncho blankets draped over leather couches offer respite from the sea breeze. The smell of seafood wafts from the kitchen's wood-fired grill.
As he did with Southeast Asian cuisine at Little Sister, here chef Tin Vuong amplifies and tweaks Mexican-American flavors with unrestrained gusto. This probably isn't the place to have discussions about authenticity.
Trio of tacos
What you will discuss are the wonders of ceviche with hot-from-the-fryer tostadas, whether it's the lively Alvarado Street Shrimp Cocktail ($11)--a tomato and lime-blasted campechana that nods to ostionerias in Westlake--or the oddly captivating jellyfish ceviche ($9), softened in kumquat juice and decorated with julienned radishes and charred green onion.
The menu is almost too expansive: There are fish tacos, pambazos, empanadas, huaraches, enchiladas, taquitos and pineapple-topped queso fundido with pork belly. Some dishes are overwhelmed by conflicting flavors--the chile verde chimanga covered in yellow mole ends up as a saucy mess--but most dishes temper meaty, cheesy richness with acidic slaws and snappy pickled vegetables to pleasing effect.
But don't overthink it, brah: Just chill out with pico de gallo-topped oysters and an icy Pacifico.