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Strand House Shows Off Fireworks In Style

Dec 15, 2014 01:06PM ● Published by DigMB Staff
What locals know about the annual Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks show is that it's not just a 15-minute event with bombs bursting in air.

It's a street party. It's a neighborhood happening. It starts long before the first shots off the pier, and ends, well... later. (How much later is up to you.)

 

For those with a home, or office, near the pier, it's one of those days of the year when everyone kind of expects you to host a soiree of some sort.

For restaurants or watering holes right near the pier, everyone knows it will be a busy night.

Now, with its first "Light Up the Night" event, The Strand House restaurant has raised the bar for pierside pyrotechnic partying in Manhattan Beach. 

For this gathering, the Strand House crew cleared out most tables and chairs, creating a wide-open space, especially on the main restaurant floor on the second level. Though we're sure there was demand, they didn't sell too many tickets, keeping the rooms and hallways flowing and lines for food and drink to a manageable minimum. (Tickets were $100 each.)

The crowd was upbeat and definitely a step or two above beach casual for the occasion. Everyone had the full "run of the house," in contrast to prior occasions where upstairs and downstairs hosted separate events. Security officers in tuxes communicated with one another via earpieces, keeping a safe handle on the scene.

Servers coursed through the crowd constantly to offer exquisite, bite-sized appetizers. We tried the spicy tuna tempura, falafel, pork belly sliders, fried gnocchi and mini pretzel dogs. Each item was light, but flavorful. 

We also grabbed some tri-tip from the carving station. The steak had a deep, wooded, smoky flavor. Baked rigattoni with cheese and basil found a way onto our plates, along with a selection of salads. 

We visited the antipasto station, and took another turn upstairs to find oysters on the half shell and large shrimps. Too. Much. Good. Stuff.

Guests inclined to imbibe saw both the upstairs and downstairs bars operating at a good clip, with minimal waits and extra stations serving beer and wine. 

 

Two full tables were set up with desserts, almost too many to contemplate. We'll 'fess up for now to sampling only two: cheesecake pops and chocolate peppermint tartlets. (Notice how we didn't say how many of either?) 

Did we mention fireworks? 

The Strand House has 2 small outdoor balconies, but the best views come from the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout The Strand House. They framed the evening's explosive extravaganza perfectly. Again, the right-sized crowd helped: We were just 2-3 deep along the windows, and everyone could see the show. 

As the fireworks ended and the downtown crowd dispersed, suddenly, there we were again, at a snazzy restaurant with a good crowd, a live band beginning to play, and, really, no rush to go anywhere.

Well, maybe to the dessert table... 

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Blogger disclosure: DigMB received two complimentary tickets to "Light Up the Night." We were not otherwise compensated for this post.

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