Sunday, March 10, 2013

Abbot Kinney Love

Admittedly we don't frequent the west side of LA , or take advantage of the beach cities as much as we probably should. I love the ocean, but it's a trek and traffic can make the entire traveling experience frustrating and annoying. I'll put it this way...the 101 to the 110 to the 10 to the 405. In other words, 2 hours to Venice beach on a weekend...kill me.

Anyways, Van and I ventured out of our normal area for dinner last night, with the help of a very generous gift certificate from Van's sisters for his birthday.  We ate at a delicious restaurant on Abbot Kinney named The Tasting Kitchen. We had to make reservations a couple of weeks in advance, and the best time we could get for a Saturday night was 6:45pm, but it was fine.  We found street parking on Venice Blvd., which was free until 10pm, and provided a nice little walk to the restaurant  flanked on one side by a boutique and the other side a sushi restaurant. Lemonade is also only a couple of doors down, so lots of people-watching.
Restaurant exterior and blurry Van.
We arrived at the restaurant, and because we had reservations were immediately seated. The interior was lovely - dimly lit, with olive trees and twinkling white lights.  Although it wasn't precious by any means. This was evidenced by the late 90's/early 2000's steady beat of rap music that played the entire night. I'm not complaining as the Chronic 2001 is one of my favorite albums of all time, and who doesn't like chair dancing to Tupac, I'm just not sure it would be everyone's cup of tea.  Definitely a trendy vibe inside as well.

Our server was exceptional, and although we chose to bring our own bottle of wine, ($35 corkage FYI) we began with a cocktail and olives. I was feeling daring, so instead of my favorite spirit of choice, vodka, I chose a gin cocktail named The English Garden: gin, fennel, cucumber. Yes. Van ordered a tequila drink, called a Valkryerie, we also started with olives of course. My fav.
Green Olives.

Moi avec English Garden.

English Garden
Unfortunately my new camera was malfunctioning last night, so I had to rely on my trusty iPhone, so that's why the photos aren't quite as clear. Also, it's a constant struggle when out with Van about my flash going off in a dimly lit restaurant- but I don't know what else to do?! I love foodie pix, you dig?

Next, we ordered a clam/chorizo dish - unfortunately no photos. Then decided to split two pastas, yes- it was a lot of food. I should add that the clams and olives were incredibly, but the pasta is made in-house and sometimes there is nothing better than fresh pasta. We split a ravioli (one large one- stuffed with egg and ricotta) see below (again, these photos don't do it justice.)
Ravioli with ricotta and egg.

And a Gigli, Luciana, Squash blossom dish- very delicious too, but I definitely preferred the ravioli dish.
Gigli, luciana and squash blossom

Finally, it was a belated birthday celebration, (kind-of?) so we HAD to order dessert. We chose to go with the Milk and Honey, based on a recommendation from our server.
Rich, but very tasty and well-portioned. Van won the "no-flash" battle on this one, so I just have a dark image.
Milk and Honey Dessert.

Apparently the head chef and restaurant owner is from Portland, so I like that Pacific Northwest connection as well. All and all the meal was rich, tasty and definitely fulfilling  Obviously a bit on the pricey side, but the gift certificate was very generous- thanks sistas!

It was also fun to explore Venice a bit, and walk around the Abbot Kinney area, which is so cute and trendy these days. We definitely enjoyed our night out on the West-side. Until next time Venezia.


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