If I had to make a list of places in L.A. where I felt least likely to find a delicious lunch, a food court on Venice Beach would probably be top 5. Unless, of course, you like shitty pizza, old hot dogs, or sun chips covered in melted cheese masquerading as nachos. Even the “branch” of Chicago’s famed Mr. Beef was a dud, closing almost as quickly as it opened. So when I read on Grub Street that a new Peruvian spot had opened up in one such food court (on Westminster and the Ocean Front Walk) I got mildly excited. Poke Poke is my goto lunch when I find myself down on Venice Beach, but it’s always good to have a back up. Especially if that backup is lomo saltado and a decent ceviche.
Archive for 'Venice'
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve never been to Wurstkuche in Downtown L.A. It’s strange because I eat lunch Downtown all the time, I like sausage, and I want to be one of the cool kids. But there’s always been a burger, banh mi, buffet or baco to pull me from the super popular sausage and beer garden. But once a second branch opened in Venice, I reacted like most people who live or work on the Westside. I headed over right away.
My cheap bastard-ness knows no boundaries… but I will admit something to you, provided you never mention it again. Once, I had lunch at Gjelina. *Cue shriek, followed by breaking glass.* It was my cousin’s birthday, and you can’t get all cheap with birthdays, lord knows I’ve tried. (“Hey sweetheart… what do you say we go to In N Out for your birthday! There’s a free hat and stickers in it for you…”) Plus, as much as I love Poke Poke and Lemonade, sometimes you want a nice sit down lunch in Venice. So where else are you going to go? Cha Cha Chicken? Uh… thanks, but no thanks.
Long story short, the lunch was great. So when I heard they were opening Gjelina Take Away, a breakfast and lunchtime annex, I got pretty excited. Surely the prices would come down a little. After all there’s no seating, unless you count milk crates in the alley alongside the restaurant. That’s got to be worth a small discount, right!?
Finding decent raw seafood for under $10 is one of my favorite pastimes, whether it be a great chirashi bowl, hwedupbap in Koreatown, or ceviche from a food truck. The line between good and bad seafood is not something you want to be crossing on a regular basis, so finding that perfect balance between quality and price is pretty exhilarating. So when I read about Poke Poke, a newish Hawaiian tuna bowl stand on Venice Beach, I was pretty excited. Cubes of raw tuna, tossed in shoyu and sesame oil, and served over rice for under $10 at one of the (arguably) worst lunch strips in all of Los Angeles? Yes please.
If you work, or ever eat lunch, in Venice or Santa Monica you have to check out tuesday’s Profiled Lunch’er, “Jeff”. His recommendations have given me at least a week’s worth of west side lunches… including the meatloaf sandwich at Bay Cities (who knew?) and an entry for my Cheap Chinese Food Challenge. But the one rec that stood out the most was the “Lambwich” from Venice Beach Wines (on Rose btw Lincoln and Pacific).
Last month Los Angeles Magazine and Grub Street both released lists of the “Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles” and the lambwich wasn’t mentioned in either. After trying it yesterday, I think we might have an addition to the canon.
I remember my very first experience with Lemonade… not the drink, obviously, but the popular picnic themed (?) lunch spot with four locations around Los Angeles (Venice, WeHo, & 2 locations Downtown). I was walking on Abbott Kinney with a buddy, who pointed out their Venice location to me and suggested we poke our heads in. At least I thought he was a buddy. What’s with the salads, friend-o? You know I’m not into the whole “I live in L.A. and love to eat quinoa” bullsh- wait a second. What’s that to the left of the salads? Are those dutch ovens? Filled with various meats that have been tendered up slowly so that the fat actually remains in the dish? And not just one, but 6 different stews?! Alright trendy salad and lemonade place. You have got my attention.