Long Beach, California

Merriam Webster defines torture as “something that causes agony or pain.” I define it as visiting an incredible barbecue restaurant after having oral surgery. This is what happened to me last August when my dad took me to Lucille’s two days after I had my wisdom teeth removed. I was starving, everything smelled good, and my unfailing love of barbecue pushed me to attempt a bite: a very painful bite. Immediately I felt searing pain and resigned myself to the (still delicious) mashed potatoes. Go here with a healthy appetite for lunch. The lunch menu is cheaper and they’ll give you the best cuts of meat. Dinner guests risk eating the tougher cuts that are leftover. And they are serious about their sauce. Oh. My.

A long time ago I dated a guy I didn’t really like. I was bored, he liked me, I figured why not. One of the few perks in dating him was that we went on pretty good (on paper) dates. Our second date we went to Tantalum, saw a movie, and milled around Barnes and Noble before the movie started. Tip: don’t take a lit major to Barnes and Noble on a date. She will ignore you. Tantalum was easily the best part of the date. The place is just sexy. It’s set on the water with a bar that wraps around the back so that you see the marina and the passing boats as you sip your drinks. I ordered the seared tuna and it was so good, I ate way more than any self-respecting girls should eat on a date. When I took Chad there (bwahahaha I stole your date restaurant, dude!) he loved his lamb chop and we got a free appetizer and I got free wine. No further endorsement needed, right? Ask your server what they recommend. The chef changes the menu frequently but doesn’t seem capable of culinary mistakes or culinary monotony.