Where to eat, what to eat? Part deux

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inspiration has been hard to come by and life has been filled with mundane and routine things, but the search for good food is a constant in my life.  This city is not lacking in food options, but that also means mediocrity is rampant.  There's a lot of sifting that needs to be done, so, dear readers, I am attempting to do that for you one mouthful at a time.  Where has my stomach taken me over the past few months, please read on to find out.

Let's start with my favorites:

The BF and I have been indulging in oysters recently and The Hungry Cat did not disappoint with its selection.  We ordered a beautiful seafood platter with 3 different types of oysters, shrimp, lobster, crab, mussels and clams, which were not my favorite. The oysters were fresh and cold and a delightful way to begin our meal.  A crisp and delicious panzanella salad and tuna tartare were the accompaniments.  This unassuming restaurant is tucked away in a corner of the Sunset+Vine shopping center, and can be easy to miss, but  don't underestimate the quality of its food because of the simplicity of its decor.   I also hear they have one hell of a burger, for the non seafood types.  I, however, don't waste my burger allotment on anything but In N' Out. 

Blue Plate Oysterette is on my favorites list not because their seafood is the freshest or the tastiest but because of its location (on Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica), its tasty and varied oyster selection and because we ended one of the best Saturdays I've ever had there.  Imagine a beautiful day spent hiking in the Santa Monica mountains then lounging and playing in the sun in Palisades Park with friends and our dogs with intermission at the top of the Shangri-La hotel to enjoy the sunset and then dinner on the patio of BPO.  The menu is pricey considering how casual the restaurant is, but the service is friendly.  This is one of those places where you go for ambiance, but be prepared to wait - they don't take reservations.

Friday night; long day at work but happy it's the weekend; hanging out with friends you haven't seen in a while; not in the mood for all the hoopla that comes with LA eateries - where to eat, what to eat is definitely the question.  I may have found two places that fit the bill - Dominick's and Public Kitchen and Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel.  Neither of these places may stand out for their cuisine, even though both spots offered and delivered fresh, briny and smooth on the palate oysters (can you tell I like oysters?), but they did provide the perfect backdrop to a laid back evening, SoCal style of course.  Be sure to sit on the back patio at Dominick's and order the baked provolone with sundried tomatoes, if it's a special that evening.  They have a very nice selection of well priced bottles of wine and they do a $15 Sunday dinner.  The St. Germain bellini at Public Kitchen and Bar is the only way to drink champagne/prosecco )(I'm not a big fan of the bubbly otherwise).  They also offer a variety of curated mixed drinks, so you are sure to find something that fits your fancy.  The best part of the evening, however, is the fact that you can sit for hours enjoying the company you're with, eating good food and not paying an arm and a leg for the experience. 

My second chance offers go to :

Another New York City mainstay has found its way to the West Coast.  Fig & Olive gives us a modernized Mediterranean menu in an open and airy space on Melrose Place.  I can't give this place an effective review because I went there for Mother's Day, and even though the ambiance (there's that word again) was perfect for the day, I can't properly judge a restaurant by its prix fix menu.  We did, however, order the beef carpaccio off the regular menu - the magnificence of a drizzle of truffle oil to the dish was undercut by the overabundance of balsamic vinegar, next time I will ask that they skip the BV. 
Salt's Cure was a discovery of the BF's - he'd been wanting to go for a while because of their very interesting and constantly changing offerings.  When their website says "small" menu, they mean it, both in number of options and portion size.  You can't be a picky eater and must be willing to try smoked fish, pork terrine, lamb and so forth.  We ended up going there on a very random night right before they were set to close (bad idea because some of the items were sold out).  We were the only table, and when trying somewhere new, I dislike being the only customers, I like to see what others around me have ordered.  Even with these not so good circumstances, I'm looking forward to going back because it was clear that they don't skimp on quality or creativity.  Plus, after reading the reviews on Yelp or this one by the LA Times, I have to believe our experience was a fluke. 

Would love to hear your thoughts if you try or have tried any of these places or any discoveries you've made.

(all pictures courtesy of Yelp)

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