Eats I Have Been Dying to Mention

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with the Holiday season flying by, ringing in the New Year and getting back into the swing of things!  I have done a ridiculous amount of eating that I have been dying to share with you all!  Check out my latest hot spots!

Larry’s – Venice, CA

24 Windward Ave  Venice, CA 90291-4102
(310) 399-2700

Larry's sits steps from the Venice Boardwalk

Larry's sits steps from the Venice Boardwalk

Mark and Erwin Sokol (of Hotel Erwin) have teamed up with Waterloo & City chef Brendan Collins to bring affordable gastropub-ish plates to the art community of Venice Beach.  Larry’s opened in August 2011, was named after local artist Larry Bell, a pioneer in minimalism.  The interior bar

Larry Bell, local artist and a pioneer of California minimalism was the inspiration for Larry’s, his accomplishments and style was carefully used in the design and interior features that make this new spot shine.  The eats are nothing short of extraordinary and unique creative masterpieces.  SHRIMP & LOBSTER RAGOUT, capellini pasta, lobster tomato sauce, basil & truffle, GREEN CURRY MUSSELS, ginger, fresno chile, charred bread for dipping,  PIZZA, green chorizo, egg, chipotle, tomato sauce. The menu although foodie eccentric, never tops a $15 price tag making this the new hot spot for every local generation.

Ahi Tuna Tartar, white soy ponzu, prawn crackers, pickled vegetables

Ahi Tuna Tartar, white soy ponzu, prawn crackers, pickled vegetables

Bacon Wrapped Organic Salmon, roast beets, gnocchi & horseradish

Bacon Wrapped Organic Salmon, roast beets, gnocchi & horseradish

Dry Aged Beef Burger on ciabatta bun, house made pickle & fries

Dry Aged Beef Burger on ciabatta bun, house made pickle & fries

Hostaria del Piccolo – Santa Monica, CA

606 Broadway St  Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-6633

Hostaria del Piccolo

Hostaria del Piccolo

Opened just this year, Hostaria is the latest venture of Vittorio Viotti and chef Bobo of Venice, Italy’s Piccolo Venice, said to be one of the very best restaurants in Venice.  The menu is adorned with antipasti options that cause any palate to water.  ORECCHIE  crispy fried pigs’ ears and salsa verde, CINGHIALE  roasted wild boar sausage: soft polenta, MAIALI  selection of exclusive Italian cold cuts and VERDE arugula, spinach, avocado, pine-nuts and Parmesan crisp.  The pizzas have been rated nothing short of excellent and the staff is friendly and actually Italian!  When visiting Santa Monica next its a must try whether you’re looking for lunch of dinner, it’s not to be missed.  Perhaps than you can fly to Venice and sample Piccolo to compare notes.

Frittura, crunchy fried calamari, shrimp, white smelt fish

Le Pizze Bianche without sauce - squid ink dough, mozzarella, tomatoes & basil

Le Pizze Bianche without sauce - squid ink dough, mozzarella, tomatoes & basil

Gnocchi Marinara

Gnocchi Marinara

Bottega Louie – Downtown Los Angeles, CA

700 S Grand Ave  Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 802-1470

Bottega Louie

Bottega Louie

Walk by Bottega Louie on any given day and it will be packed, you will automatically decide its pricy and perhaps unaffordable — if your like me it’s best not to torture yourself and keep it in mind for another time, another place.  However, a tiny bit of research will prove your instincts immensely incorrect.  Bottega Louie may look to be a $30 a plate dining spot but its affordable and utterly brilliant.

Walk through the front door and your smacked across the face with an aisle of pastries, mini desserts, macarons, and tarts that scream beauty and perfection.  To the left you’ll see a cocktail bar that sends you back to the 20’s and off to the right a stainless steel open kitchen with 15 maybe 20 chefs and sous chefs cooking and plating dishes with the utmost care and precision.  The lunch and dinner menu may set you back $20 – $25 a person, but plates are enormous, pizzas feed 2+ and you will not leave disappointed.  Beware that they do not take reservations and a wait time can range from 10 minutes on a weekday to 2 hours on a prime weekend!

Mini Meatball Sliders

Mini Meatball Sliders

Portobello Fries

Portobello Fries

Infamous Bottega Louie Macarons

Infamous Bottega Louie Macarons

Bottega Louie Desserts

Bottega Louie Desserts

Cal Shabu – Santa Monica, CA

930 Broadway, Santa Monica, 90401

Cal Shabu - Santa Monica

Cal Shabu - Santa Monica

Shabu Shabu is an act of cooking, the dish is prepared by bring a pot of water to a boiling point and submerging very thin slices of meat and vegetables meanwhile swishing it back and forth until cooked to your desired doneness. In fact the swish-swish sound directly translates to Shabu Shabu. The cooked meat and vegetables are then dipped in a ponzu or sesame seed sauce and served with a bowl of rice.  Once you have devoured this simple yet delicious meal, the leftover broth from the pot is combined with the remaining rice, vegetables, and noodles and eaten as a soup.

The experience in itself is just a ton of fun and Cal Shabu does a remarkable job at making you feel as if you are dining at home.  The restaurant is located off any Santa Monica main drag and therefore the staff is genuine and it’s patrons all locals (they are literally located 6 buildings from our apartment!).  Next time you’re looking for something to warm you up or are in need of some comfort, Cal Shabu should be your first and only choice.

Two Item Combo - Prime Beef & Mussels

Two Item Combo - Prime Beef & Mussels

Soup made from cooking broth with fresh veggies and noodles

Soup made from cooking broth with fresh veggies and noodles

Happy Hour at Cal Shabu, Santa Monica

Happy Hour at Cal Shabu, Santa Monica

26 Beach – Marina del Rey, CA

3100 Washington Blvd  Marina Del Rey, CA 90292-5551
(310) 823-7526

Twenty Six Beach - Venice, CA

Twenty Six Beach - Venice, CA

Most notably known for their massive burgers, acknowledging and not letting it’s patrons forget that they have several times over been voted home of the “Best Burgers in L.A.” is my latest find.  I cannot prove the above theory as I stumbled on 26 Beach for brunch, but their brunch menu is not ordinary sporting entire sections of “Pasta Scrambles”, “The Royals – Eggs over brown rice” and somewhere around 20 French Toasts varieties that you will find creeping into your foodie dreams.  The atmosphere is eclectic and memorable and food is fantastically executed.  I am not sure while dining if I realized just what we had stumbled upon, but now looking back I am dying to test out the french toast and the infamous burgers.

Panchetta & Eggs Pasta Scramble

Panchetta & Eggs Pasta Scramble

Twenty Six Beach Outdoor/Indoor Patio
Twenty Six Beach Outdoor/Indoor Patio
Corned Beef Hash Scramble

Corned Beef Hash Scramble

Sauce for days…

How many times a month do you purchase pre-made sauces?  Whether it be marinara/spaghetti sauce or your favorite BBQ, I bet at least twice a month your standing in line with a jar of tomato sauce.  In our house hold, we were going through at least 2-3 jars or marinara sauce a month.  Of course buying your typical Ragu is not satisfactory, so it’s Mario Batalli Marinara at almost $6 a jar adds up rather quickly.

Why not take an hour out of your month and make a much better tasting assortment of sauces.  Greater quantity + Better tasting + 1/2 the price.  Can you beat that?

Homemade Red Sauce (marinara/pizza sauce)

Quantity = at least 4 jars of sauce

  • 3 c. of extra virgin olive oil ($6.00)
  • 3 tbsp. salt (pantry)
  • 6 whole sprigs of basil ($1.29)
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes (pantry)
  • 10 whole cloves of garlic ($1.00)
  • 2 Monster cans (2lbs) of whole peeled tomatoes ($2.49 at costco)

Pour 1 cup of the extra-virgin olive oil into a large sauce pot.  Take peeled tomatoes and drain juices and seeds into a bowl, place drained tomatoes in sauce pot.  Heat oil and tomatoes on a medium flame, begin smashing tomatoes with a potato masher.  Mash until there are no longer any large chunks. Simmer tomatoes for 40 minutes.

While tomatoes are simmering combine 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil, full basil sprigs, red pepper flakes, and whole garlic cloves in a small sauce pot and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  You are creating an infused oil that you will mix in with the sauce for extreme flavor.

After the tomatoes have simmered for 40 minutes.  Drain the infused oil into the simmered tomatoes, leaving the garlic & basil to be tossed out.  Mix the oil into the tomatoes very well, until the mixture appears seamless.  Jar the red sauce a refrigerate.