(image courtesy of hillaryshort.com)
Grilled peach with prosciutto, burrata, arugula and balsamic. Slow roasted leg of lamb with cous cous, red pepper, spiced yogurt and herb salad. Tuscan kale, shaved fennel, radish, lemon, ricotta salata and breadcrumb. But first, Fanny Bay oysters. Just a peek at a recent meal had at the uber-cool Gjelina in Venice Beach. At the corner of Abbott Kinney Boulevard and Milwood Avenue, sits chef Travis Lett's three year old establishment. The atmosphere is kinetic, the interiors "industrial chic," and the food, artful. Lett has created a seasonal menu that is both captivating and aberrant. Off the beaten path. The menu is derived using only ingredients available at the local farmer's market, and the wine list represents the California coast beautifully, without excluding the Italians and French.
Just be sure you do not leave the building without having desert. The affogato with caramel and biscotti to be specific. Affogato being an Italian desert, which, upon being delivered to your table, consists of gelato which is drowned in piping hot espresso on the spot.
(photo courtesy of la.foodblogging.com)
Next up? Tequila and qarne asada tacos. The walls at El Carmen on 3rd are plastered with posters of Mexican wrestlers, the back booths with "adult" comics. Found in a Saveur magazine many years ago, my Anthony Bourdain-emulating father had dogeared the page, certain that someday we would make it there to try the enchiladas verde. With a tequila bar featuring hundreds of derivatives of the traditional margarita, (the Guava with salt was divine), the food far surpassed a typical bar-style Mexican restaurant. And on said bar, sit lucite lamps filled with neon-lit water and...small Mexican wrestlers. Get one of everything on the menu, starting with the guacamole. By the end of the meal, you will want to take home a framed (porcelain?) bust of a crazed Mexican wrestler. And, a guava margarita.