One of Jonathan Anzaldi’s earliest memories is standing on a stepstool in front of the stove around the age of four next to his grandmother, a Sicilian immigrant who taught him everything he knows about Italian cooking.

His fiance, George Torres, also remembers his own grandmother, cooking Mexican dishes for the family everyday.

The Laguna Beach couple have now combined their Mexican and Italian culinary heritage, as well as their love for their grandmothers, to open a new restaurant in Redondo Beach called Nanas.

“What we’re doing is celebrating grandmothers all over the world, these women who are strong, the matriarchs of families,” said Torres, who along with Anzaldi opened Nanas as a takeout-only restaurant run from a commercial kitchen in early January with plans to eventually open a brick and mortar location.

The menu at Nanas, written as a plural noun to honor all grandmothers, is made up of dishes that mix both traditions, often in the same dish. The food is cooked by Anzaldi, who went to culinary school in New York, where in 2015 he met Torres.

“It was one of the first things we started bonding over when we first started dating. Even though we’re from different cultures, our grandmothers played a strong role in our lives raising us,” said Torres, who started working in restaurants when he was 16.

And their different cultures also mix well together when it comes to food, with the concept for the menu inspired by a dish Anzaldi has made for years, a jalapeño pesto pasta.

“Pesto is obviously a very traditional Italian dish. I wanted to add an element of heat and thought outside of the crushed red pepper flakes that everyone quickly throws into their dish so I incorporated jalapeño and cilantro as well to give it that Latin influence,” Anzaldi said.

Another popular dish that mixes cultures at Nanas are the Calabrian shrimp tacos.

The shrimp is marinated in Calabrian chili paste, which is made from the Italian pepper, and grilled before being served as a taco with corn, cabbage slaw and cilantro.

“Tacos, obviously everyone thinks of Mexican and Latin influences, but it was really important for me to incorporate some of the Italian flavors within the dish as well,” Anzaldi said.

One direct ode to Anzaldi’s grandma is Nanas tomato sauce, which is used on a couple of dishes and comes directly from an old family recipe that dates back about 150 years, he said.

“That’s my grandmother’s traditional homemade sauce so I can’t tell you what’s in it. But it’s how she made it, it’s how her mother made it,” Anzaldi said.

Nanas

Where: 2617 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach

Hours: 4:30- 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday

Information: 714-338-9250, cometonanas.com

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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