Monday, July 11, 2016

Finding my Way Through LA – Stomach First!

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So this foodie moved to the left coast! While I was learning to live my new life in Los Angeles with my boyfriend-then-fiancĂ©-now husband Steven, I was always on the lookout for good – nay GREAT - food. In a city of fitness and health nuts, the words “comfort food” are often verboten. But when you’re in a new home, a new time zone, and new relationship, sometimes comfort food is just what you need.

While it’s been almost 3 years since my move, here are three go-to restaurants that helped keep my “foodie homesickness” at bay.

Casa Ado – This place shouldn’t work. It’s a dark rustic Italian restaurant located in the prime real estate section of the Marina del Rey beach front. Nothing about it screams “Beach Side Restaurant” or “Just Add Avocado and Chia!” which is maybe why it actually does work for me (I love a good contradiction).  Among the bars, wings, surf shops and taco places along Washington Boulevard, sits the little gem of a restaurant. It was the first restaurant I went to in LA that made me go “oh….maybe this place IS a foodie town.” The homemade pastas, the delicate cheeses, the friendly (mostly Italian) wait staff, the red wine list, the dripping wax of candles over the long-ago-emptied bottles of Chianti, makes this place scream Lower East Side…but alas, here it sits, on the beach, next to the Venice Whaler.

If you go, the Grilled Ciabatta bread served with Burrata cheese, onions Marmellate, crispy Pancetta in a Vincotto dressing is a MUST! Did I mention it’s in walking distance from our apartment? BRB…

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery – OK this isn’t really a restaurant. This is more of a specialty market and deli that has been a “must” for us whenever we have to bring something for a picnic at Malibu Wines (more about that in another post!) or when we just want some great food that we can grab and go! Everyone goes there for the Godmother, a traditional Italian sub with any meat/cheese combo you want -  but the whole point is to cram get every type of Italian meat your heart can possibly stand into this sandwich. And it’s delicious. However, I go for the Caprese sub– sometime with Burrata (if I have a lot of napkins) or sometimes with traditional good old fashioned mozzarella cheese. What makes these sandwiches so divine is the crusty yet chewy I-think-I’ve-died-and-gone-to-yeasty-heaven ciabatta bread. 

Vittorio and the famous Godmother - source - photo by Gene Williams
Our new “thing” is to order an extra loaf and stick it in the freezer to make chicken or meatball parm sandwiches (confession, I’ve also just ripped hunks of it off and dipped it in olive oil or peanut butter – don’t judge). The market in Bay Cities is amazing too.  It’s hard to leave there without dropping at least $50 on things like candied figs, roasted peppers, capers, Italian cheeses, gelato, etc.

Huckleberry – When Steven was “wooing” me to move to LA, he knew the way there was through my stomach - he’s read this blog…he is no dummy! One afternoon, we went for lunch at this little cafĂ© in the heart of Santa Monica called Huckleberry. The line twisted around to the back, and seats were scarce so I knew that 1) This would be GOOD and 2) Ugh this LINE! But I’m in LA so everyone was eerily happy and patient. The menu consists of homemade, locally sourced dishes and bakery items that can either be whole meals, just snacks or dessert (two words: BANANA PUDDING). For lunch I ordered the BLTA - minus the T…sorry I’m just not a huge tomato person. This “goddess” of a sandwich layered “Niman Ranch” bacon (not sure what that is…but carry on Niman!), avocado, arugula & aioli on the largest slices of hearty country bread I’ve ever seen. The toast was warm and crusty, the bacon savory and the avocado and aioli added a creamy smoothness. I’ve since been back several times and have never been disappointed!

In short my foodie friends, while this girl may not be posting from NYC anymore, I still want to share this blog with my great friends who love to eat and write about food. Just call me the new “LA Correspondent.”

Here is the contact info for the restaurants mentioned. Please visit if you are in LA and let us know what you think!

12 West Washington Blvd.
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

1014 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401