Another whirlwind of a weekend in Los Angeles. This time I have to give a shout to Wife’s brother who acted as an incredible tour guide this weekend. He basically took everything I love and compressed it into a long weekend. Thanks buddy, it was fantastic.
Here are some highlights.
The weekend started with cocktails at Ray’s & Stark at the LACMA (5905 Wilshire Blvd). Before I even saw a menu I knew the place was legit. Its outside under the cover of the museum with decor that looks modern in a 1960s lounge sort of way. The bartenders were all very interested in helping us select cocktails and were friendly enough to just hang out a little. As you likely guessed, I went with the (Far) East of Manhattan, which is masala-infused rye, Amaro Nonino, Sweet Vermouth, bitters. Wow. I ended up having a couple of them. Dangerous, dangerous stuff. The bite of the rye is almost neutralized by the flavor but you can still feel it in your throat. Great stuff.
The next day, after I slept off my cocktails, some Jameson and some cask beers from Daily Pint, we headed to Downtown LA. A part of LA that I had never really checked out. You can see there is a lot of change going on but the grit is still there. We decided to go for a french dip and an old fashioned at Cole’s (118 East 6th Street near Los Angeles st.). You step inside this place and its like stepping back in time. Black and white tiled floor, deep brown woods, a huge wooden bar, vested bartenders… yeah this is my kind of place. I ordered a pastrami french dip and garlic fries. Holy garlic fries! They were amazing but they stayed with me all day long. Wife let me know plenty of times. The sandwich was great but the most memorable part of this stop was the old fashioned. I went to the bar with Wife’s dad to order them. The bartender really took his time and put a ton of care into these. The drink came with a giant block of ice that he chipped away himself. Again, very old school. Again, this could have gotten dangerous. Fantastic spot, not to mention its been there since the magical year the Cubs won the World Series!
Walking distance from there, we headed to the park from 500 Days of Summer. Wife and I had to get a picture. While there were a ton of bums passed out around the park there were also a lot of young couples hanging out. I guess that is a perfect example of Downtown LA being in the midst of change. The bench is located in the Angels Knoll on Olive street.
From there, we headed to Santa Monica for some afternoon beers at Bru Haus (11831 Wilshire Blvd near Westgate). Aside from the great beer list, the draw of this place was the timing we were there. In a room with less than 20 people at the time, we were five of them. The waitress was fantastic knowing her beers, despite admitting she hated beer! Impressive stuff. Any way, we tried a few different Belgians, English brews and some tater tots (with beetchup!?) and called it a day. As it got later and more crowded a different group of wait staff came in and you could see the whole dynamic of the place changing. It was time to go.
Looking forward to getting back to LA to hit some of these spots and seeing more!
A few other highlights:
WP24- small bites and great view at LA Live, could be a great date spot
Daily Pint- for the beer lover in you, I would say more but thanks to the (Far) East of Manhattans, I don’t remember much!
Pat’s Topanga Grill- great breakfast spot. I felt more like I was in a mountain town than LA!
About a month or so ago, Wife and I headed to her hometown, Los Angeles. One of the things I had always said about our trips out west, is that we always seemed to end up at the same places over and over again. This time, she and her dad decided that would absolutely not be the case.
We started out in Los Feliz at a spot called Little Dom’s (2218 Hillhurst at Avocado). Wife’s brother made a video to help promote the restaurant that I have placed down below. He told us we had to check out the pancakes, so I did. They were the best pancakes I have ever had in a restaurant (don’t worry, Grandma Mikey!). Seriously. The batter has ricotta cheese and blueberries baked into them. They were a perfect cripsy outide and fluffy inside. I also had a side of wild boar sausage. Fantastic breakfast. To be honest, I was so into my food that I don’t even remember what Wife had. We had a seat outside because we had the dog with us. The girls sitting near us had a dog with them named Mariah Carey and the waitress said they have a regular who’s dog was named Burt Reynolds. Awesome.
That night, we went out with some of Wife’s friends from college at a great sushi spot in Mid-City, Izaka-ya by Katsuya (8420 3rd st, near S. Croft Ave.). I guess this place is a spinoff of another great sushi spot, this is just the more laid back version of the original. Any way, the food was great. The stars of the show were no question, the creamy rock shrimp tempura and the tuna with crispy onions. Both were great. The bottle of sake we ordered was quite nice as well.
After dinner, we took a short walk next to the opening of a new bar where the owner knew Wife’s friends. We went to The Churchhill (8384 3rd st, near S. Orlando). We happened to be there for their first night open to the public. They made a mean old fashioned. The thing that I loved about this place is half was out side, half was inside but the entire wall was opened. There was then a fenced in outside area in the front of the bar. The music was great (LCD Soundsystem, Friendly Fires) and it was pretty crowded. It was a pretty fantastic looking space. They called themselves a gastropub, but since we just had dinner we didn’t try the food and I don’t remember seeing a menu, maybe because it was the first day.
The next day, Wife, her dad and I went to our traditional stop every time we are there for a drink. Tavern (11648 San Vicente near Barrington) in Brentwood is a great place to grab a drink. They have a quality scotch list, make a nice cocktail, have a few off the beaten path beers and boast some awesome french fries. Every time we are in LA, the three of us spend part of an afternoon just having a couple drinks and some french fries while catching up. We almost missed it this time, but all three of us insisted we must go. The bar area of has a very New York feel to it. It is all dark woods and old school looking while the dining room is in a very bright almost like you are outside. The bartenders are also always very nice and willing to help you figure out what you want, even if you have to taste everything behind the bar!
We decided to go to Umani Burger (500 Broadway at 5th) at the Fred Segal in Santa Monica. We parked the car and it immediately smelled amazing. We stepped to the bar while waiting for a table and I was shocked by their amazing beer list. They had a ton of Belgians, not what I was expecting in a Santa Monica high end designer clothing store. Any way, we tried a couple of the beers and had some great burgers. The burger was a bit small for my liking but it was damn good. I went with the hatch burger, which is a cheeseburger with four types of green chilies. Very good. The fries and homemade ketchup were fine but the burger is the reason to go.
Last, but certainly not least, we stopped at Blue Plate Oysterette (1355 Ocean Ave.). It wasn’t quite warm enough to sit outside but I think we knew we would rather sit at the bar anyway. You sit at the bar, order a beer from a quality selection and then choose form a whole list of oysters they have. We decided the east coast were better than the west coast for our taste and just enjoyed. The restaurant reminded me of one of the less pretentious family spots in the Hamptons. The waitress/bartender was amazing. She was friendly, funny, helped us with decisions and did all of this without being over baring or snarky.
We did more than this while we were in LA but I wanted to share my greatest hits form the trip. I recommend hitting any or all of the above!