Hermosa Beach has more bars per square foot than Sacramento has politicians, good ones anyway, so it's impressive that the new Hot's spot (yes, we can and will beat this to death if we so choose) is Hot's Kitchen. Hot's features "small plate cuisine" by exec chef Sean Chaney, also of Hot's Cantina in Northridge. Hot's has 36 rotating craft beers on draft. We usually talk about the beer first and the food as something necessary to soak up the brews. But Chaney's tacos deserve top billing; he also offers excellent burgers, salads and appetizers.
With no formal culinary training, Chaney began home-brewing tacos for friends that were so well received they earned him the nickname "Hot Sauce," later shortened to "Hot" since we are increasingly a monosyllabic society. He became a personal chef for Indy Car drivers Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy, as well as a 12 year stint for pro hockey player Larry Murphy. After that, he opened Hot's Cantina in Northridge in 2003.
Chaney opened Hot's Kitchen six months ago, we're guessing because it's usually 20 degrees cooler in Hermosa Beach than it is in Northridge No Beach, and it has been an immediate hit with locals in a space that has previously seen restaurants come and go like hookers at a Figueroa motel. Chaney offers a mere 55, yes 55, versions of his signature taco -- a dozen chicken, another dozen beef, "ocean" tacos featuring either shrimp, fish, or anything else he can find in the sea, vegetarian, and, our favorite -- exotic tacos. This may sound like something you'd find in the escort section of the Weekly, but no, it's alligator, ox tail, a couple of ducks, and crawfish.
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And now about the craft selection. Mike Siordia is the beer guru/surfer dude, fitting for Hermosa, and our favorite thing about his chalkboard of 36 beers is the one he calls "Mike's Dank Deal." The Dank Deal of the Day is one beer Siordia picks each day to sell for three dollars. A good craft beer for $3 is a surfer-stroke of genius in a beer bar world that increasingly, and sadly, lays claim to $8 and $9 beers. Local favorite 24th Street Pale by Strand Brewing, both the brewer and beer names coming from Hermosa Beach itself, is always on the Hot's board as are an additional 35 other rotating taps, mostly California brews.
Our least favorite thing about the Hot's beer board is Bud Light and too many other masquerading-as-craft beer-selections from the evil Anheuser-Busch InBev empire. But Siordia, to his credit, does his best to offset that deal with the Devil by getting some top-notch, hard to get stuff on the rest of the board. With 36 handles to play with, he has enough left to please discerning craft beer fans.
Siordia has also pulled off a coup in getting Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch to come up Thursday, August 25 for an all-day Stone Tap Takeover event. "There will be at least 20 vintage Stone brews," according to Siordia.
So go for a cold beer at the beach on a Hot's summer day (we warned you) and stay for the tacos. Or come for the tacos and stay for a Dank Deal on a great craft beer. Either way, you're leaving happy.