Turquoise seems to be the theme in and around Redondo Beach.
It’s the favored color for commercial interiors, shops, public spaces and restaurants. Most certainly borrowed from the ocean’s hue, turquoise has been infused into the ironwork and medallions on the Redondo Beach Pier; almost every gift and bangle at Fringe, a Riviera Village boutique; the carpeting and accent pieces in the lobby of the Redondo Beach Hotel; and our hotel room overlooking King Harbor.
And just when I thought that universal aquamarine might be a figment of my imagination, we came upon the Turquoise Restaurant.
Located in Riviera Village, a collection of 300 unique shops and restaurants a five-minute drive or 10-minute peddle from the Redondo Beach Hotel, the restaurant focuses on healthy Mediterranean fare. Owner Hameed Fatemi so-named his 8-year-old establishment “just because I like the color,” he said, but he also had a vision at one time. While designing the interior, he envisioned a turquoise accent wall with creative back-lighting. It was going to be gorgeous.
Alas, an unscrupulous contractor dashed that dream, but the wall has become the centerpiece of the sunny dining room anyway.
Its mural was created from a photograph taken by Fatemi while visiting Santorini, Greece.
The rooftop scene is a familiar one, but what makes his photo unique is the moment that he captured. Gathered on one of the rooftops are yoga students of varied races who are standing in a circle holding hands.
“I was born in Iran, and my experience with life in general — and at Turquoise — has been that no matter where people are from, we are all connected,” Fatemi explained.
“Especially in today’s world, it’s important to remember this. It brings me great joy to meet people from all over. The different perspectives from different heritages make the world a richer place. By the way, I call the photo ‘Unity at Santorini.’”
We were grateful for Fatemi’s welcoming attitude and superb food; the hummus and Persian ice cream are both singular and delicious. And our perfectly prepared latte helped fortify us against the brisk, windy February air.
Because of the winds, we had to forego kayaking in King Harbor, but were able to take out a pedal boat — still a challenge because we had to pedal against the wind and surf. We managed to maneuver close enough to the harbor-hugging jetty to hear a committee of sea lions in lively debate.
Perhaps they were discussing Measure C, a controversial and complicated local issue that left me bewildered after learning about it from a shop employee on the International Boardwalk. From what I can tell, it’s not dissimilar to issues faced recently by Carlsbad and the mall-by-the-lagoon.
And as it turned out, the March 8 election saw a victory for the slow-growthers.
The city of Redondo Beach incorporated in 1892 with a population of 688 and soon became a busy shipping port with three commercial piers. Sandwiched between Hermosa Beach and Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach (now home to 68,000) has always been a popular vacation destination, too. Regardless of what the future brings, people will still come to Redondo Beach to enjoy the smartly planned and huge expanses of open space on the pier; attend the annual Lobster Festival in September; ride the stand-up paddle boards and pedal boats throughout King Harbor; try for prizes at the boardwalk’s arcade; watch the sun go down at Kincaid’s Bay House; and cycle and skate down the wonderful dedicated and protected bike path along Harbor Drive.
Spring is a great time to visit Redondo Beach before the summer crush (i.e. no crowds and good deals on hotel rooms) It’s a less-than-two-hour drive, which means it’s great for a quick romantic weekend or a girls’ getaway.
For more photos of Redondo Beach sights, visit facebook.com/elouiseondash.
E’Louise Ondash is a freelance writer living in North County. Tell her about your travels at firstname.lastname@example.org
E’Louise Ondash is a veteran, award-winning journalist who was an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Times Advocate and the North County Times. She has written travel features for The Coast News since 2003.