LA was awesome. Here's what went down: We worked in Malibu, stayed in Venice Beach, motorcycled to Santa Barbara, biked to Santa Monica then ran the marathon (and won!), sat in traffic, pet baby sea lions, watched NCAA basketball, got a quick face lift, starred in a commercial at the Bronson Caves, became official Scientologists, got a smog check, hung out with a whole bunch of cholos and got gang tattoos (on our necks), stalked Farmer's Markets, surfed with dolphins, and ate and drank at every stop along the way, of course.
Noteworthy places for food and drink in Los Angeles*:
Sunday Santa Monica's Farmer's Market (Ocean Park and Main St) Valet bike parking. Huge breakfast burritos. Fresh organic dates. Citrus everywhere. Cheese bread! The sweet smell of strawberries. A lawn for a picnic.
Father's Office - Thea's recommendation. Best burger maybe ever. Fries come in fry baskets with the most delicious herb mayo dipping sauce. NO KETCHUP! Gigantic "small" plate of cheese on the biggest plate ever. Duck Confit Salad with Figs and Hazelnuts which was sadly overshadowed by the burger. Classic Cocktails were on the money. The service was weird because you order at the bar and everything comes out at once, so next time we will order as we go.
The Rock Store - Greasy spoon on a winding canyon road in Malibu. Lots of bikers. Good french toast.
El Tarasco - Divey taco joint in Manhattan Beach with really awesome ground beef tacos.
Tasting Kitchen - Nice vibe. Great cocktails. Cheese plate! Sea urchin. OYSTERS! Wheat pasta with hedgehogs (mushrooms) and pork. Market plate. Best romaine salad with anchovies ever. No chopping, just full on romaine.
Urth Cafe - Always awesome for a great salad and looking at hot people. Fun celebrity sightings, too. The obscure kind, in which you are racking your brains all day going, "I know that person from some movie, but which one?!?!?" This can drive you crazy.
AXE - Market Plate. Cauliflower Gratin was heaven. Asparagus, Fried Egg, Chantarelles, Caper Brown Butter. Thats all we could stuff into our mouths. Great wine selections.
Cliff's Edge - So this place is all about eating al fresco, underneath a gorgeous wide bowed tree that reaches into every romantic nook in the garden. The food was okay. We did eat snails (right off the tree), which was fun. The hostess was a straight up b%$*h and wanted us to eat inside but "no" is not in my vocabulary and I was able to look pathetic enough that the old man owner found us a table right away. I love old men! And how can I get a job (in Cali) where I am valued for always getting my way? I could really excel at that.
Big Foot Lodge - This is where Smokey the Bear drinks beer.
Silver Lake Lounge - This is where we met the cholos and got our gang tattoos. Don't go here if you don't like reggaetone music videos that put R.Kelly to shame in the objectification department, transvestites and Mexican gangsters plus some meringue for good measure. Those are all positives on my list so this place made the cut.
As far as the search for the ultimate classic cocktail in Los Angeles, I couldn't hit up every place because that would be a check on the alcoholic checklist, but really it would mean sitting in too much traffic trying to find each place. So here is a list I think is helpful:
The Hungry Cat
The Liquid Kitty
The Tasting Kitchen
Here are LA Food Blogs I referenced:
LA Food Blogging
Low End Restaurants
LA Food Crazy
Thanks friends who helped recommend so many great places!
Double Thanks to Rocco for taking care of my gatitos lindos.
*Sorry for not more photos.