Lunch time Tapas at Taberna Arros Y Vi

Lunch time Tapas at Taberna Arros Y Vi

For lunch the other day Jonathan took me to this place in Santa Monica that is right next door to our, and that always pass by without a second thought because I think that the giant barrel tables in the window are kind of cheesy. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the food is amazing! I guess this was definitely a case of don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Cheesy décor aside, everything was so good. We stopped in just before I had to go to work so we ordered everything at once. First out were the steamed mussels with spicy butter, blue cheese, chorizo, and toasted bread for mopping up the sauce. The mussels were big green grey specimens with big chunks of chorizo in tomato sauce coming out of open shells. The crumbled blue cheese was different but a nice touch. As if adding cheese to a dish was ever a bad thing. The tomato sauce was tangy and sharp, so the blue cheese, spicy chorizo, and garlic flavors created a perfect harmony for the mussels.

Then out came the Scallop Ceviche with sweet pickled fennel, pickled radish, flower petals, and fried capers. There were so many interesting flavors going on I couldn’t make up my mind about the dish. It was beautifully plated, what with the flower petals and nude and pastel colors, and it was primarily sweet and sour, and the fried capers added a slightly muted savory salty flourish. It was definitely different, and I think I liked it, as I do most things. I do recommend eating the flower petals with your bites, just to mix things up a bit because really how often does one get the chance to eat flowers?

The Seafood Paella then showed up in a skillet with bomba rice, prawns, crabs, mussels, lemon wedges, and parsley. So good, so filling, we clearly went with a very seafood themed lunch, but I love seafood so I have no complaints. Even though it is a large rice based entrée, the flavors are light with a hint of citrus.

Everything was so good we talked about it all through lunch and then some afterwards as well. Looking forward to going back soon and trying it out for dinner. I wouldn’t be sad though if they decided to replace the barrel tables. Also, another lunch time plus is that it is not very crowded, especially during the weak.

Taberna Arros Y Vi
1403 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Hours:
Monday 5:00–11:00 pm
Tuesday 5:00–11:00 pm
Wednesday 5:00–11:00 pm
Thursday 5:00–11:00 pm
Friday 5:00–11:00 pm
Saturday 5:00–11:00 pm
Sunday 5:00–11:00 pm

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Roasted Seaweed Snack Pack Attack

Roasted Seaweed Snack Pack Attack

Roasted Seaweed is one of my new go to favorites, and by new I mean I’ve gorging myself on them for the past several months, if gorging on seaweed is even possible. The weed wafers are paper thin, salted, and sometimes seasoned, like my favorite spicy snack pack. I completely over indulge in them because of two big reasons: they are .99 CENTS, that’s right $1, and it is completely impossible to eat too many. IMPOSSIBLE. It’ll never really fill you up unless you eat approximately 100 or so packs, but to me that’s perfection. I do not like feeling over stuffed or flavored (having too much of something rich or sweet), and I have feeling that most people would agree that would be ideal to be able to eat a lot of something without over doing it. So thank you, roasted seaweed, for making this possible. Stock up! Eat up! I buy it like Ramen, 10 at a time.

I buy them from Sprouts usually, but just about everywhere distributes one brand or another these days.

Brunch at Skylight Gardens in Westwood

Brunch at Skylight Gardens in Westwood

One rare Saturday that I happened to be off work, Jonathan took me to a surprise boozy brunch at Skylight Gardens in Westwood, a cute little neighborhood on the north side of LA. The restaurant used to be a small indoor shopping mall with a beautiful central rotunda that has been converted into the main dining room. It is an amazing space with trees growing up between the tables toward the skylight dome, and the light that filters down through the glass between the leaves plays across the room in a very peaceful whimsical way. It’s like having a garden party. I love ambience, and though it is not essential for me to enjoy the food, it can certainly swing my vote on occasion, and just like any good brunch spot they offered bottomless mimosas to really seal the deal.

The menu is primarily Italian and Spanish inspired and the Short Ribs Benedict and the Skylight Cheeseburger immediately caught my eye. So I got the short ribs and Jonathan got the Cheeseburger, naturally. They also started us off with a basket of warm muffins, always a nice touch and always appreciated. The Short Ribs and Cheeseburger were amazing. The burger was perhaps not the most amazing burger I have ever had, but certainly nothing to scoff at. The patty is cooked in beer and topped with melted Gruyere, caramelized onions, basil aioli, and bacon, with tomatoes, shaved lettuce, and garlic parsley fries on the side. Simple, straight forward, and delicious. The Short Ribs Benedict though is worth writing home about. Slow cooked in a red wine demi glace and served over a split English muffin with a poached egg on each half it is my favorite combination of tangy, savory, and rich. The rib meat was tender and well portioned, only choicest cuts on the plate. The sides of potatoes and fruit were a balancing act that did hardly anything to distract me from the meat, muffin, and eggs. Jonathan’s fries however did not last long. All together a satisfying brunch that everyone left sated and a little buzzed.

Such a beautiful place! and tasty bites.

Skylight Gardens
1139 Glendon Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024Hours
Monday to Thursday 11:30am-9:30pm
Friday and Saturday 11:30am-10:30pm
Sunday 11am-9:30pm

Birthday Done: Bäco Mercat for cocktails and dinner at the #1 Restaurant in America

Birthday Done: Bäco Mercat for cocktails and dinner at the #1 Restaurant in America

To wrap up the birthday feast, we left The Perch for Bäco Mercat, which happened to be on the way to our last stop, Alma. Bäco Mercat is another really fantastic joint downtown that we tried for my birthday back in March, and we decided to stop in and have a cocktail while we were in the area and to bide more time until our dinner reservation. I went with the copper fix, a bourbon, bitters, honey, lemon cocktail, and I don’t remember what Jonathan ended up getting because mine was certainly the best and so we had another copper fix and a bäzerac, a rye, herbsaint, bitters, kaffir, lemon mix; also not quite as good, as the copper fix.

After all of the wonderful drinks and snacks on the way to dinner, it was finally time to actually have dinner, at the newly ranked #1 restaurant in America, Alma. A friend of ours that Jonathan works with managed to find us a reservation on his birthday, it just happened to be the last one at 9:30. I have always been a late eater, and 9:30 was pushing it, but by the time we arrived we were fairly worn out by the marathon day. I will say though, eating at this hour on a weekday is probably the only way you will get a reservation for sooner than 2 months. Needless to say we were very lucky.

We of course ordered more drinks and dove straight into entrees; the dry aged rib eye for Jonathan and Gary Carpenter’s pigeon for me. I had actually wanted the halibut, but at this hour it was slim pickings and the halibut was gone. The menu is not extensive so options are somewhat limited, which I prefer, and I was happy with the pigeon. Everything is well plated/presented on clean, modern, black or white plates and bowls, the rib eye on a black plate and my pigeon on a white, and the sauces are swirled around the plate was well as on top of the dish. It is hard to tell from the pictures because our appetites were quicker than my photography and we tucked in before I remembered to record the dishes. I will say that tasted as amazing as it looked. My pigeon had peanuts, lettuce greens, pears, and a peanut coffee sauce that was wonderful, and the pigeon was tender and juicy and not over cooked. The rib eye was also delicious and not very big, which I thought was great but Jonathan seemed a bit disappointed. I told him it’s all about portions and this was the perfect size. The rib eye had a lovely light brown sauce with chanterelles (a common mushroom), whole green onions, carrots, roots, and grasses. It was really interesting to have actual roots and grass on the plate, and flavors were quite Asian inspired I thought; light, earthy, with a savory tang.

To drink I had the Hondarribi Zuri/Hondarribi Beltza, Rubentis Ameztoi, Getariako Txakolina, from the Basque region in Spain. It is a lightly sparkling dark white wine, and I ordered simply because I love the Txakolina at the Barnyard. This Txakolina though tasted of slightly darker, sweeter fruit, which can cause people to easily mistake a wine for being ‘sweet’ when there is no actual sugar involved. Jonathan decided to go with the De Ranke, XX Bitter, Belgian Golden Ale, the kind I usually prefer, and it was a nice light end to the evening and a good pairing with my pigeon actually. I know less about beer so I can’t on at length, but Belgian are always my favorite aside from a nice milk stout.

Half way through I decided “what the hell”, while we’re here we might as well try a few things. So, I ordered the seaweed and tofu beignets with yuzu kosho, and lime, and the sweet breads, which are cooked with peaches, carrots, and vadouvan (a French blend of curry spices with added garlic and shallots). Sweet breads, for those of you who do not know, are not actually ‘sweet breads’. They are typically the thymus and or pancreas of a calf or lamb. It can also sometimes refer to other cooked glands. I love sweet breads because every time I have had them they have been delicious, and it is not obvious what they are. If you are okay eating calamari you will be okay with sweet breads. This particular dish especially was especially delectable, nothing over/under cooked, and best eaten with a little piece of everything in each bite.

The beignets were quite yummy and interesting as well, and much less of a risk than the sweet breads. They were lightly fried balls of salty seaweed and tofu resting in the lime yuzu. Best eaten in two bites, the beignets were an excellent starter/side dish that is more gourmet than having a basket of bread or a bowl of fries, but that essentially serves the same purpose, and are equally addictive.

And so ends the Birthday Extravaganza! It was long and amazing, and not to be attempted on a regular basis.

Definitely go check out Alma, if you can get in. Expect to plan for this dinner way in advance. There may also be slight differences to the menu as it is subject to change daily.

The menu that was available to us will not be available after Nov. 29 as they are switching to 2 pre-fixe menus.Alma
952 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: 213.244.1422
E-Mail: info@alma-la.com
Monday – Saturday 6 – 10pm

More Birthday! The Perch at Pershing Square

More Birthday! The Perch Downtown LA

Now it was time to take the feast downtown, and first stop The Perch. Located on the roof of the Pershing Building on Pershing Square, The Perch has a great rooftop happy hour that offers a decent view of the square and downtown, though you miss the sunset because it disappears behind a high rise. Too bad!

We showed up about 4 or 5 o’clock and grabbed a spot out on the deck. The happy hour drink menu is not extensive but quite good. I had a Penicillin, a really delicious mix of famous grouse, lemon juice, agave nectar, and ginger liquor, and Jonathan had the Hemingway on the Beach, a great name for a drink that is made of greenall’s gin, luxardo, lemon juice, and angostura. Now, mixology (the science of making drinks) has gotten pretty fancy these days and couldn’t really tell you what some of those ingredients are, and frankly, I don’t care. If people want to create absurdly delicious cocktails and call that a career, then go right ahead! Because I will drink what you make, and I and most everyone else will continue to justify the ridiculous prices.

And just to take the edge off since it had been nearly two hours since we had eaten, we had to have the Truffle Mac & Cheese and the Brie en croute. I mean really how could we not. The Truffle Mac was just as delicious as anything with truffle is, but the Brie, lightly baked in a fluffy pastry, was interesting as well as tasty. It came with gala apple, fennel, pecan slaw, and whole grain mustard and the mesh of flavors was strange and wonderful. So, you should know that the Perch is a French restaurant, and quite a good one, and if you enjoy savory, sumptuous dishes like baked brie, or that sounds like something you would like to try, then come have a happy hour drink and appetizer and stay for dinner.

The Perch

Monday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am
Tuesday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am
Wednesday 4:00 pm – 1:00 am
Thursday 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Friday 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Saturday 11:00 am – 2:00 am
Sunday 11:00 am – 1:00 am

Birthday Cont’d: Milo & Olive for a quick pizza

Birthday Cont’d: Milo & Olive for a quick pizza

After leaving the Misfit we headed to Milo & Olive, owned by the same people as Huckleberry and Rustic Canyon, which is a small bakery and pizza, lunch and dinner joint that has a couple of communal tables and a bar that bellies to an open kitchen. It is a nice space that seemed to be fairly quiet during the afternoon, so we sat side by side on the bench at an empty table.

We snacked on the burrata pizza and had a Bundaberg ginger beer and latte to hydrate and perk us up a little bit. Now, I don’t mind a few greens on my pizza, and on the burrata there is supposed to be a sprinkling of arugula, but ours appeared to have had a whole salad bag worth poured on top. A bit much I though. Otherwise, the warmed, slightly melted burrata cheese with prosciutto was melt in your mouth savory. It is hard to go wrong with cheese and salty prosciutto pizza though.

Since we also had a quick bite at the Misfit just before one slice each was about all we could do, so we had to take the other half to go. I have heard a lot about M&O and our pizza was very good, even swimming in greens, so I’m sure we will be trying it for dinner sometime.

Great lunch spot!

Milo & Olive
Open everyday 7am – 11pm

Birthday Cont’d: The Misfit for Happy Hour and the Chicken Sandwich Lunch Special

Birthday Cont'd: The Misfit for Happy Hour and the Chicken Sandwich Lunch Special

After Birthday breakfast we had to head over to the 3rd Street Promenade for a drink at the Misfit on Santa Monica Blvd. Just off the Promenade it is a great place to have a cocktail and burger because they do both very well, and their happy hour starts at 12 making it a pretty easy choice. My favorite Misfit specialty is the basil gimlet, which, for those of you who don’t know, is just a slight twist on a gin gimlet. Your typical gimlet is just gin and limejuice on the rocks, and the lightly muddled stem of basil leaves is an excellent variation on the original. So we had a couple. Of course.

We were also told that there are now daily lunch specials for $5, and today, Tuesday, it was fried chicken sandwich day. There had been a steady parade of them from the kitchen to the bar so we were already curious, and of course had to split one. We had just had breakfast and would be heading to lunch soon, but we had to know, so splitting it was our genius idea for moderation. I normally always have the ahi tuna burger or the misfit burger because they’re so juicy and delicious, though both very different, but this chicken sandwich won me over. It is massive, for one thing, because the fried chicken is sandwiched within the sandwich between sliced pickles and apple, and aioli coleslaw. There are tangy, sour, and savory flavors coming at you from all directions, and it is just a big sloppy delicious mess; no possible way to be delicate. We even split it in two and it was still an effort just to finish my half.

I highly recommend the Misfit to most anyone I meet, and instead of suggesting the burgers it’s the Fried Chicken Sandwich or go home!

The Misfit
Monday to Thursday 12pm – 12am
Friday 12pm – 1am
Saturday 11am – 1am
Sunday 11am – 11pm
Happy Hour everyday from 12pm – 7pm !!!!