Monday, June 4, 2012

LA - Day two

Day 2 - Santa Monica & VENICE
We woke very late and it was Mother's Day! 
Not that my kids remembered to wish me a happy mother's day, but that didn't matter, they had made me cards and the best present of all, total peace and quiet! The day was already off to a good start.
We had been given the tip off that the Santa Monica market on Main St was not to be missed. So we headed off, on foot, in the direction of the market where I knew the food would be insane.
A walk through the Santa Monica Community garden which is similar to plots in the UK. Little sections of garden to grow what you like, Max had major garden envy.
The street was a buzz, everyone out, bands playing, people everywhere.
Now down to business, the food. There was so much on offer, how the hell was I going to make a decisive decision all by myself?
We walked around,snapping everything in my line of sight(with my paparazzi size camera), totally humil for Max. So he decided to grab a coffee and find a place to sit and that just happened to be in the eye line of Natasha McElhone (Californication), can you blame him really? She is total eye candy even for a woman and we love Californication. So he was happy and I set off in search of our food. 
First on my list a bag of cherries - check. The best cherries I have ever eaten in the past 38 years.

A Tamale, that was a given. 
My friend Ange is kind of obsessed with these, so whenever I see them I need to eat one just for her. They are masa flour which is corn meal (polenta)
encasing different kinds of slow cooked melt in your mouth meat, which is then wrapped in corn husks and steamed, served with a tomatoey sauce - so delicious and comforting.
There was a lot of choice at this market. So what were we going to eat? When in doubt ask someone you trust.
Sweet Rose Creamery Ice cream just happened to be at this very market. The last time we were in LA we took the kids to their ice-cream shop. They use all organic / locally sourced ingredients and it's like the best ice-cream ever. I knew they'd have a clue. They pointed me in the direction of the stall right next door to them.
Mexican food. Mostly locally sourced, produced, sustainable ingredients  and ethically reared meat etc...
So I ordered the soft shell tacos, because they looked incredible. Then noticed everyone ordering the breakfast nachos, so I asked the guy next to me buying them if they were good? And he gave me this look, and he needn't have said anymore. I ordered mine and brunch / lunch was sorted.
The breakfast nachos had omelet and black beans, guacamole, sour cream, onion, coriander....I'll let the photos do the talking. It was sublime.
The market was buzzing, maybe because it was mothers day, maybe cause that's how they do things down here. There was no way I was leaving without an ice-cream from the one and only.
I had cherry sorbet and salted caramel and max had fresh mint and house made choc chip and brown butter lemon wafer and we ate as we walked.
I remember feeling that day, that the temp was perfect, the atmosphere in the street buzzing and this feeling of total contentment.
Just feeling and being happy. Holding my boyfriends hand and being a couple - not parents and slaves, just being us and really liking it.
After that romantic moment was over we seemed to appear in front of American Apparel...DooDoo!

Time to pick up some essentials and spend some money!
This was followed by a little more retail therapy. This time for my feet in Venice. Then a stop at yes, you guessed it, Intellagesia for an iced tea.
On our walk home we diverted by Santa Monica Pier, how could we possibly resist.
Love anything pink and purple

The sun was close to setting and the beach packed. 
As we headed towards the pier we notice a memorial site for all the men and women killed in Iraq. 
Hundreds of red and white crosses laid out in perfect order to commemorate soldiers and civilians killed in the war.
 It was very surreal watching this man packing up the crosses by himself, every now and again shouting out for volunteers to help him 
and everyone pretty much ignoring him and going about their business.
So we helped this man pack away every single cross.

It was an honour to help him. Once we'd finished we had a short wander down the pier. People watching I like to call it. And then it was back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.


A pre-dinner cocktail and then time to pull out my pucci's and dress up. Our mother's day dinner date was the highly anticipated (for me) The Tasting Kitchen. Ah, the Tasting Kitchen...I was so looking forward to this and had heard incredible reports on the seasonally very locally sourced ingredients and it did not disappoint in any way shape or form.
 Brilliance every second we were there, I could not fault one single thing. The food was undeniably the simplest and best I've ever eaten. Nothing in our whole trip, this time, or last, came close! We were seated upstairs in this mezzanine area with the most breath taking chandelier hung over a serving table styled in a very Megan Morton kind of way (HA!) the lights were very dim, hence why there are no photo's. Well let the truth be known that I was banned bringing my camera - humil for my other half. A decision I wish I'd fought for, because the restaurant and food was so beautiful and unpretentious and a memory I'd like to have forever. Unfortunately  my iPhone just couldn't capture a thing - just the lame photo's below

Anyway, we shared everything. The food is meant to be shared. Starting with the lentils / rapini (broccolli raba - dark green leafy veg)
Then the chicken wings / apple cider / flax seed - sticky and tangy never wanted them to end. Next the mussels / saffron cream, need I say more. Mussells are my new favourite seafood and did you know one of our most sustainable? They were even better than Gjelina's. Our waiter for the night, Bill, was incredibly welcoming and helpful with drink and food choices. If only every restaurant had people like that working in it (maybe he was an owner?). Our last savoury meal was the tagliarini / crab / Serrano.
Finally dessert - pinenut tart with goat milk gelato and persian mulberry's. Satisfied beyond my wildest dreams.
hotel. bed.

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps or Max Doyle