My boys spent a week at my inlaws so my husband and I took the opportunity to try the restaurants we’d heard about but been unable to try. It was a beautiful Sunday so we started at the beach.
Venice Ale House – Venice Beach
The pub on the Venice Boardwalk was recommended by a friend of mine who also eats gluten-free. She sold me by posting a picture of the pint of Omission beer she was drinking. There aren’t a lot of places that sell gluten-free beer and fewer still who sell it at a reasonable price like Venice Ale House. It was crowded of course because it was summer at the beach, but we managed to find a table right away. We had beers plus we shared, honestly, the best nachos I’ve had in a very long time. The hearty corn chips were topped with grilled chicken, black beans, cheese, salsa, jalapeno, and I added a side of sautéed spinach. Amazing.
We had an arugula salad with citrus and parmesan too, but it was hard to get excited about salad when we had a plate of nachos in front of us, but the salad was good, too. After dinner, we walked along the beach and watched the sunset. We will definitely be going back with the kids next time we’re at the beach. The dishes at the other tables looked amazing.
Hinoki and the Bird – Century City
When I told my husband about this restaurant in Century City, he was skeptical. He had read reviews about the David Myers’ restaurant that said it can be hit and miss. Plus it’s expensive. I responded by sending him the list of Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles pointing out that it was number 19. My husband gave in and we went, which was funny because he ended up liking it more than I did.
The first thing we noticed when we walked in were the hostesses. They were wearing jean shirts like you would see in the 80s expect that in the 80s they would have been required to wear pants with them. The bartenders had pants on and looked like actors playing bartenders (in reality they’re probably actors who work as bartenders). It was quite a scene, which I guess is to be expected being located in Century City so close to CAA.
The drinks were very good (like the Dark & Stormy gin and ginger drink above) and so was the food. But, part of why it won’t go down as one of my favorites was the very reason why my husband didn’t want to go there. We ordered a spinach salad with miso cured goat cheese and sunflower seed vinaigrette, coconut-curried muscles with sausage and cauliflower, and mushrooms with sea salt and lime.
The salad was supposed to come first but instead we got everything at once, which was one of the complaints my husband read about. By the time we got to the muscles they had cooled down. Dessert almost made up for that, though. We had miso mochi and dulce de leche mochi, which were both delightful.
All in all, the food and people watching were good, but don’t know if it’s worth the high prices. Not sure if we’ll be back or not.
Public School 310 – Culver City
I went to this one with friends. Public School 310 is in downtown Culver City and was hopping on Thursday night. I made a reservation and the 5 of us sat inside. It was very loud so next time I will request the patio. Other than that it was really good. I had a refreshing cucumber mule, which had ginger beer and vodka.
That was followed by bacon cheddar tots, and cauliflower gratin, which were excellent comfort food that we all shared. Friends had the kale caesar salad and although I was sure I was over kale, I thought it was great. I ordered the roasted poblano chile stuffed with quinoa and topped with adobo sauce that came with a side of cilantro rice. It was light and flavorful.
Also delicious were the short ribs that my friends ordered. (Now I wonder if they got enough to eat. I kept trying everything more than once!). We ended the night by sharing a jar filled with lemon merengue pie. It was as tasty as it looked.
The Misfit Bar – Santa Monica
We’ve been to this pub before and we love it. It can be a bit of scene on a Friday night and we waited an hour for a table. Luckily we were able to get a seat at the bar so it wasn’t too bad. Like Venice Ale House, The Misfit also has gluten-free beer that isn’t an arm and a leg. Even better than that it has gluten-free mac and cheese. It was so good. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but we didn’t have any vegetables even though the Brussels spouts salad is excellent. Instead we shared the green chile burger wrapped in lettuce and a side of shoestring fries. Both were very good.
This was our second exploration of West Los Angeles restaurants and I’m excited to see what restaurants open in the next few months in case we get another date night.
Here’s the companion piece I wrote for Babble, What I Learned About Marriage While My Kids Were at Camp.