LA County Fair 2013 – Pomona, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

As we bid adieu to summer, we also said our goodbyes to this year’s Los Angeles County Fair at the Pomona Fairplex. Situated in the far east corner of LA County, quite a ways from our humble Westside home, the LA County Fair is definitely one of those things every Angeleno should check out at least once. Wander the huge fairgrounds in the sweltering heat, devour deep-fried foods with reckless abandon, win assorted plushie prizes of Despicable Me Minions or Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and Friends, and hop aboard a few (probably unsafe) carnival rides decked out in neon-colored panels. Los Angeles, especially the city as we know it, doesn’t seem like the County Fair having type of place. But we do have one, and it’s pretty fun indeed!

The Grand Wheel

The Grand Wheel

Martin scored a pair of free tickets, so after our hour-long drive on the 10 fwy and forking over $15 for parking, we moved quickly through the security lines and, finally, stood on the fun side of the gates, marveling at the many attractions. First on our minds, as usual, is food. Right on cue, then we saw this…

Chuckwagon

Chuckwagon Wild Hog BBQ

We love BBQ and all but what really stood out to us was the Waffle Fries! I looooove waffle fries. We shared an order which was a tad pricey at $4, but that’s fair food pricing for ya.

The last waffle fry

The last waffle fry

We were too excited about the waffle fries and ended up polishing off all but one before I realized we needed a quick snapshot. Believe me, you get more than that for $4. It was actually a pleasantly hefty pile.

Turkey Legs

Turkey Legs

We didn’t eat any turkey legs but I just had to showcase a photo to show how monstrous they are. I don’t know what kind of turkey these legs belonged to, but I don’t think I want to rub one the wrong way. Sadly, every stall seemed to have plenty of turkey legs just lying on the grill, drying out in the heat. Texas Turkey Legs, the signs all proudly shout. Because everything’s bigger in Texas, right?

Street Kitchen

Street Kitchen

We strolled past an endless stream of stands selling tacos, corn dogs, cotton candy, candied apples, etc. before we spotted this sign from Street Kitchen. Lobster sliders?? Let’s go!

Lobster Slider

Lobster Slider

Okay… $6 a slider is pretty steep, even by street food / fair standards. I really wanted to like this slider, especially after our wait (the guys manning the kitchen seemed to still be finding their groove). The lobster was plentiful, juicy, and just a bit warmed. There was a slice of smoked bacon in there that gave the slider a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs sort of flavor which was awesome. The brioche bun, however, was quite dry (a magnificent feat considering how much butter goes into a typical brioche) and the spicy mayo, though delicious, was slathered excessively over the slaw, drenching the lobster and dripping everywhere like those Carl’s Jr. commercials in the 90’s. Judging from the mess, this really did belong in our faces. Overall it was OK but had so much potential!

Ridiculous Fried Food

Ridiculous Fried Food

We continued on our journey and came upon a very tall, very impressive signboard for Chicken Charlie’s (one of many stalls, we later discovered). They proudly vend deep fried anything — pickles, cookie dough, bacon-wrapped pickles, Oreos, Twinkies, avocados, even frog legs. They are also home to the Krispy Kreme Burger and the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe, with the namesake doughnuts as buns. Don’t get too excited, we did NOT order any…

The Parade

The Parade

We did, however, reach the main road just in time to catch the parade! We waved to Smokey the Bear and his friend Woodsy the Owl before seeking out more food.

Spud Ranch

Spud Ranch

Ever since we spotted them at 626 Night Market, I told Martin I wanted to get a spiral potato on a stick. Just for the heck of it. And then we saw Spud Ranch and their “Twisters”. So there.

Twister with Seasoned Salt

Twister with Seasoned Salt

At $6, this towering Twister is a pretty decent deal. After all, you get a whole potato’s worth of indulgence, and I really enjoyed these because the slices were thin. The edges crisped up like a potato chip while the centers stayed just chewy enough to hold its shape. Awesome. They offer an assortment of salts and toppings, but we went relatively simple with a sprinkling of seasoned salt. The perfect snack to share.

Steampunk Cake

Steampunk Cake

In search of reprieve from the blistering heat, we went into the (air conditioned) exhibition hall that housed Culinary Styles, with wall to wall glass cases displaying contest winners and their prize ribbons. Some were truly impressive, and this steampunk cake decorated in hand-cut fondant gears was one of my favorites.

Table Setting Competition

Table Setting Competition

Baked goods aside, we also admired the many themed table setting displays in the center of the room. This one received a perfect score with its tennis theme and clever decorations. I want to know where I can find those Wilson tennis ball glasses and tennis racket swizzle sticks!

TARDIS Cake

TARDIS Cake

And just to serve as a reminder that Whovians are everywhere, we spotted this TARDIS cake on our way out. Some of the fondant work looked a bit wonky, but I really appreciated the detailing on the sign and the door handle. I wonder what it would take to get one of these for my birthday…

Frozen Lemonade

Frozen Lemonade

And last but certainly not least, I splurged on a refreshingly slushy frozen lemonade for dessert. The texture of the ice was perfect, like a frozen margarita, and it really hit the spot on such a hot day. Brings back memories of going to theme parks as a child with my parents and sharing a frozen lemonade with my mom (she’s a big fan too!).

Another crazy ride!

Another crazy ride!

So all in all, we had a fun time skipping along, hand-in-hand like teenagers on a date. The LA County fair is a great way to spend a day with the family (there were a LOT of kids and a LOT of kid-friendly attractions!) and I definitely think it’s worth visiting at least once. Nothing like spending a day in the sunshine, fried potato and frozen slushy in hand, to really revel in a Southern California summer. And maybe a beer, although they cost $9 here… bring lots of cash.

Till next year!

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Check out the LA County Fair: lacountyfair.com

1101 W. Mckinley Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768

See their Yelp reviews here!

Zesty Tequila Lime Chicken

Main Dishes, Recipes

For the title of this post, I had contemplated making a pun on Tequila Mockingbird (To Kill a Mockingbird… get it, get it?), but as our primary modification to Ina Garten’s recipe was to add three types of citrus zest, zesty it is! That’s right folks – lime, lemon, and orange zest all play a huge role in making this marinade really sing. That and some good tequila. No need to break out the top shelf Patron or Don Julio – your favorite low-to-mid-tier gold will do. We recommend aiming for a $20-30 bottle; we used Sauza Commemorativo, a gorgeous amber-hued añejo tequila aged 18 months in oak barrels.

Zesty Tequila Lime Chicken

Zesty Tequila Lime Chicken

NomNomCat Tips:

#1: You really don’t want to skimp on the marinating time, so be sure to plan well in advance! This recipe recommends overnight marination; I managed to get in 24 hours by prepping this meal as I was cooking the night before’s dinner. If you do need to multitask a bit, you can marinade frozen chicken pieces so that they defrost and absorb flavor at the same time (thus saving time from waiting for the chicken to thaw first). Again, it must sit at least overnight and if using frozen, be sure to rinse off any ice crystals before dropping the chicken into the marinade.

#2: If ever a recipe really depended on a microplane, this would be one of them. Don’t have a microplane? Use the finest side of your box grater. Don’t have a box grater either? Time to get one. Just kidding, sorta. You could skip the zest (Ina Garten did in the original recipe and I’m sure hers comes out just fine), or do it the old fashioned way – take a vegetable peeler and try to get as thin a slice of the peel as possible. Use a paring knife to scrape off or cut away any pith (the bitter white part). Then just finely mince the peels and voila – zest!

Microplane - very important, though not mandatory

Microplane – very important, though not mandatory

#3: I have both grilled and baked these chicken thighs, and I’ve found that both methods are good in their own ways. I like the ease of sticking them in the oven and forgetting about them for 45 minutes, at which time I can serve and eat. Baking would also be a great way to bring back a bit of summer when the weather starts getting too cold for grilling. If you do decide to grill these, about 10-15 minutes per side would be the ballpark. Grilling is a delicate balance between making sure they are sufficiently cooked (165 degree internal temperature) and that they don’t dry out. You may want to make extra marinade to reserve for basting.

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup tequila

1 cup fresh squeezed lime and lemon juice (approximately 3 limes and 2 lemons)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (approximately 1 medium orange)

The zest of all citrus fruits above

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can add more to kick it up a notch!)

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (or about 1 pound of chicken, your choice of cut)

Lots of Citrus Zest

Lots of Citrus Zest

Prep the citrus. I’m a slow zester, so it took me a while to put this marinade together. Be prepared – the kitchen is going to smell amazingly fragrant as the peels start to release the aromatic citrus oils.

Measuring Out the Citrus Juices

Measuring Out the Citrus Juices

Combine the marinade ingredients. Taste if you dare. It should pack a punch.

Marinating in a Plastic Bag

Marinating in a Plastic Bag

Clean the chicken thighs and place them into a plastic gallon-sized zip-top bag or glass container. Pour the marinade over the chicken and squish around to get the chicken really coated. If using the zip-top bag, let as much air out as possible to ensure maximum chicken-to-marinade contact. If using a glass container, create an airtight seal using plastic wrap or its lid. Refrigerate overnight.

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees or heat up the grill. Gently shake the chicken as you remove it from the marinade. Lay on a foil-lined sheet pan for baking at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or arrange on an oiled grill and cook for 10-15 minutes per side, depending on the size of your pieces of chicken.

After 45 minutes of baking

After 45 minutes of baking

Serve with fresh flour or corn tortillas, salsa, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, and diced onion. I liked using a bright, chunky pico de gallo for texture and flavor contrast.

Dinner is Served!

Dinner is Served!

Though the weather has been gloomy here in LA, we’re not quite ready to let go of summer yet! Celebrate with one last summery hurrah by serving up these street-style tacos filled with juicy, flavorful tequila lime chicken. Or bookmark us for next summer’s barbecues – just remember to come back and let us know how it goes!

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon)

Main Dishes, Recipes

Gỏi cuốn, often translated as spring rolls, summer rolls, or salad rolls, are handheld rice paper wraps filled with vegetables, herbs, and goodies. Martin particularly enjoys nem nuong cuon a la Brodard (we get at least a dozen every time we visit the OC) but I don’t discriminate – I love ALL goi cuon with just about any filling. Prepackaged or DIY, spring rolls are the perfect summer food since they are light, refreshing, and easily customizable. We recently came into some fresh cucumbers and perilla leaves from a friend’s garden, so a fresh batch of goi cuon for dinner is in order.

Goi cuon (spring rolls)

Goi cuon (spring rolls)

I’ll be honest, my rolls at home are often very simple with minimal filling — for no reason other than I’m too lazy to purchase a variety of vegetables and be held responsible for using them before they go bad. Traditional goi cuon are often filled with boiled shrimp, pork slices, lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles (bún), and mint. Optional add-ins include julienned cucumber, grated carrots, and bean sprouts. As we mentioned earlier, some places roll up strips of grilled pork patties called nem nuong and Brodard in particular substitutes crispy fried wonton & scallion rolls for the vermicelli. The sauces vary as well, from fish sauce based to peanut butter & hoisin.

The Fixings

The Fixings

NomNomCat Tips for Ingredients:

1. Rice Paper (Bánh Tráng): Not all packages of rice paper are created equal! Depending on the brand you purchase, the paper may be too thin, too thick, or just right. Some are slightly salted and some are completely bland. Some even have slivers of bamboo from the drying racks (they’re not dangerous; just pick them out if you see them). I’ve noticed rice paper at regular ol’ neighborhood supermarkets (Ralphs, VONS, etc.) in the “International” section, but of course you could find more brands and size options at an Asian grocery store. My favorite is the one with the rose (bông hồng) on the center and the double parrot (hai con két) symbol on the left. Regardless of the brand, be sure to get the kind that’s sold in round clear plastic packages to avoid the disappointment of broken sheets of rice paper common to the bagged kind.

Mint

Mint

2. Mint (Rau): These are optional but highly recommended. There are so many different kinds of mint, but my favorite for spring rolls are spearmint (rau húng lủi), spicy Vietnamese coriander (rau răm), Thai basil (rau quế), and perilla (tía tô). Shiso leaves, which were gifted to us, are a variety of perilla that is all green, but the Vietnamese tía tô is usually purple on one side and green on the other. Luckily, they share a similar fragrance, so for the purposes of this spring roll, they are interchangeable. If you’re having friends over to roll their own spring rolls, it would be nice to put out a smorgasbord of mint for sampling and experimenting. Questions? Check out this awesome guide (that is, until we have time to create our own)!

Ingredients:

Protein:

– Shrimp, deveined, peeled, and cleaned, about 2-3 per roll

– Pork, boiled and sliced

1 10.5 ounce package vermicelli rice noodles

Assortment of veggies:

– Lettuce (1 head of romaine or green lettuce)

– Carrots, grated

– Bean sprouts, cleaned with the roots picked off

– Cucumbers, julienned (you can leave the skins on)

Assortment of mint (spearmint, Vietnamese coriander, Thai basil, perilla, etc.)

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Optional: sambal oelek (chili paste)

Rice paper

Hot (but not boiling) water

Boil the shrimp in salted water until the flesh just turns opaque, about 1-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the shrimp and shock them in a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside.

Shocking the Shrimp

Shocking the Shrimp

I was at Mitsuwa, a Japanese grocery store, and found these delectable slices of chashu pork. Instead of a steaming bowl of ramen, however, these slices were fated for something much more healthy. If you are using your own pork, simply boil in water until cooked through, let cool, and cut into thin slices.

Prepared Chashu Pork Slices

Prepared Chashu Pork Slices

Cook the vermicelli according to package instructions. For thin noodles, about 2-3 minutes in boiling water should suffice. Strain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

A package of our favorite brand of vermicelli from Lan Vang

A package of our favorite brand of vermicelli – Lan Vang

Prepare the vegetables and arrange on a nice platter, if serving DIY style. If you plan to roll them all at once, just set up your mise en place.

Veggies for rolling

Veggies for rolling

Rinse the mint thoroughly in cool water. I like to fill a plastic bowl with water, gently push the leaves down a few times, rinse, and repeat about 3 times total. Shake onto sheets of paper towel to dry.

Drying the Mints

Drying the Mints

Next, prepare the sauce. Believe it or not, I had frequent requests from family to prepare this sauce when I was kid – in retrospect, it must have been my first signature dish.

Sauce Ingredients

Sauce Ingredients

In a small saucepan on medium-low, heat the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and about 2-3 tablespoons of water. Stir constantly so the peanut butter does not burn.

Yum, peanut butter

Yum, peanut butter

Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has warmed up enough to whisk together well and the consistency is to your liking. Add more water for a thinner sauce; I ended up needing about 5 tablespoons. Too sweet? Add another tablespoon of hoisin sauce. Remove from heat.

The Sauce

The Sauce

All set? Now it’s time to ROLL!

Fill a large bowl with hot water. Our tap heats up to near-boiling, but you’ll want a warm (but SAFE) temperature since you may be submerging your hands. Dip a sheet of rice paper in the warm water and rotate to moisten evenly. Lay onto a dinner plate and let sit for 30 seconds. The water will soften the paper into a malleable wrapper.

Arrange the vegetables, leafy ones first, along the bottom of the circle, approximately 1-2 inches from the edge. Leave room on the sides to tuck in the ends.

Step 1: leafy greens first

Step 1: leafy greens first

Top the leafy greens with vermicelli and the other vegetables.

Step 2: vermicelli and other vegetables

Step 2: vermicelli and other vegetables

Fold over the left and right sides so that they overlap the filling.

Step 3: fold the sides over

Step 3: fold the sides over

Fold up from the bottom and roll over once.

Step 4: roll up from the bottom

Step 4: roll up from the bottom

Arrange the shrimp on the rice paper.

Step 5: arrange the shrimp

Step 5: arrange the shrimp

Continue rolling. Voila~!

Finished spring roll

Finished spring roll

If desired, cut in half on a bias before serving with the dipping sauce. Also, you are welcome to arrange all of the fillings in the very middle before rolling, like so:

Rolling technique #2

Rolling technique #2

The first method makes for a prettier presentation since the bright pink shrimp are easier seen through just one layer of rice paper rather than multiple.

But they most certainly taste equally delicious!

But they most certainly taste equally delicious!

Serving wise, I would plan on 2-3 rolls per person for lunch and 3-4 rolls per person for dinner. The ratio I provided for the sauce yielded enough to accompany about a dozen rolls.

The Perfect Summer Dish

The Perfect Summer Dish

Spring rolls make for a great picnic item to take along on an outing to a park or beach to enjoy the summer sun. Just wrap them in plastic wrap to keep the rice paper from drying out. Easy peasy!

Thanks again to our friend A for the fresh produce. Nothing like crispy, fresh homegrown cucumbers to really make a spring roll taste extra special. Cheers!

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DineLA – Catch American Seafood (Summer 2013)

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

It’s that time of year again — summer dineLA restaurant week! A time for great deals, checking out new restaurants, and going out in the middle of the week for more than just happy hour. Last week, Martin met up with his best friend at Le Ka in Downtown LA while I had a girls’ night out with Cass at Catch in Santa Monica. And what a catch it truly was – located in the lobby of Hotel Casa del Mar, the beach-front view was gorgeous and the ocean breeze reminded us of why we love LA.

The view  from the dining room at Catch

The view from the dining room at Catch

We each ordered the same crafted cocktail: The Perfect Pair – hendricks gin, fresh muddled pear, lemon juice, pear juice, thyme. I love Hendricks and as Cass pointed out, this mixed drink was refreshing and naturally sweetened with plentiful fresh pears. Highly recommended!

The Perfect Pair

The Perfect Pair – hendricks gin, fresh muddled pear, lemon juice, pear juice, thyme

In retrospect, the table bread was definitely an indicator of the quality of the meal to come. A basket full of hot, panini-pressed slices of fresh bread perfect for dipping into the California olive oil adorning each table. It was so good we asked for a second one! I love when a restaurant serves their table bread warm and Catch took it to the next level.

Even the table bread was awesome!

Even the table bread was awesome!

For my first course, I selected the Grilled Spanish Octopus – smoked potatoes, paprika, merula olive oil. I don’t think I have ever had octopus that tender before. The texture was absolutely incredible, and the flavors melded so well together, especially with the garnish of lemon zest and fleur de sel.

Grilled Spanish Octopus

Grilled Spanish Octopus – smoked potatoes, paprika, merula olive oil

Cass’s appetizer was the Marinated Beef Carpacccio – pine nuts, arugula, garlic chips. The beef was paper-thin and the toppings (especially the garlic chips!) added a great mouthfeel with the variety of textures.

Marinated Beef Carpaccio

Marinated Beef Carpacccio – pine nuts, arugula, garlic chips

My primary reason for selecting Catch was the entree: Cioppino – mussels, clams, scallop, shrimp, seared fin fish, saffron-rouille crostini. The fascinating part was that the broth was poured in tableside. Traditionally a fisherman’s stew of assorted seafood in a tomato and white wine broth or sauce, cioppino is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and this was the first one I have eaten where the components were prepared separately. This method had its perks — the fish was crispy, the scallop had a beautiful caramelized sear, the head-on prawn was smoky, and the bivalves were all perfectly cooked. The portion was generous and incredibly satisfying — with my discard bowl piled high with shells and every last drop of broth scraped clean, I was a happy camper. Delizioso!

Cioppino

Cioppino – mussels, clams, scallop, shrimp, seared fin fish, saffron-rouille crostini

At our server Jeremy’s recommendation, Cass had the Mustard Marinated Black Cod – roasted shiitake, sunchokes, green asparagus. I don’t know where Catch sources their asparagus from, but these were massive! The fish looked tender and flaky, and the silence that fell over our table as we both focused intently on our entrees told me that she really enjoyed it.

Mustard Marinated Black Cod

Mustard Marinated Black Cod – roasted shiitake, sunchokes, green asparagus

Of course, there is always room for dessert! It was a tough decision, but I ended up choosing the Chocolate & Espresso Tart – warm salted caramel sauce. It was like a blast from the past – at first glance, it bore near-identical resemblance to the dessert that Martin and I had while aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Chocolate & Espresso Tart

Chocolate & Espresso Tart – warm salted caramel sauce

After just one bite, however, the difference was clear — the tart crust was crumbly, the ganache filling was velvety, the fluffy homemade whipped cream could not have been further from the canned stuff, and the DIY (drizzle it yourself) salted caramel sauce was simply stellar!

Chocolate & Espresso Tart

Chocolate & Espresso Tart (post-drizzle)

Cass weighed her options and finally settled on the Market Strawberries – short cake, pistachio streusel, creme fraiche ice cream. The strawberries looked so fresh and the short cake biscuits were adorable. The pistachio streusel added a lovely splash of color that made the dish shine. A refreshing way to end the meal!

Market Strawberries

Market Strawberries – short cake, pistachio streusel, creme fraiche ice cream

The dineLA 3-course dinner was a $$ – $35.00 per person. The food was well worth it, but what really made our evening was our server Jeremy. He was considerate without being overly attentive and he humored our requests for pictures, even counting off in 日本語. I’ve found that some dineLA experiences can feel rushed because of the sheer volume of diners, but Catch embodied the laid-back beach lifestyle while serving elegant, delicious dishes.

Santa Monica Sunset

Santa Monica Sunset

Hurry, only 5 days left to participate in dineLA restaurant week!

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Check out Catch American Seafood: catchsantamonica.com

Hotel Casa Del Mar
1910 Ocean Way
Santa Monica, CA 90405

See their Yelp reviews here!

On the Waterfront Cafe – Venice, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

Summer sun, something’s begun, but oh — oh, those summer nights… Oh, Grease. Though the summer beach scenes were actually filmed in Malibu, I can’t help but think of this song while strolling through the world-famous boardwalk at Venice Beach. We have lived in West LA since moving here for college, but only recently did we discover On the Waterfront Cafe, a restaurant and biergarten that serves Bavarian beers on tap and features a menu of köstlich (delicious) Swiss/German dishes. The food and brews are great, as is the view — On the Waterfront Cafe is situated right on the boardwalk, just 10 feet from artists and knick-knack vendors and a stone’s throw away from the sandy beach.

Must Have: Giant Pretzel

Must Have: Giant Bavarian Pretzel

Of course when at a biergarten, one must try the beer. I’m not a big beer drinker aside from sweet lambics and the occasional hefeweizen, but I had done my research of their offerings (many of which are from Erdinger) and knew I wanted to try the Urweisse. Note: they recently switched from draft to bottled for this particular variety.

Erdinger Urweisse

Erdinger Urweisse

The Urweisse, a Weißbier with notes of cloves, banana, and citrus, was a smooth beer that paired well with the noms we had ordered for our beach-side lunch, especially the pretzel. It arrived with the Erdinger branded glass and poured a stunning hazy gold color. A squeeze of lemon and I was a happy camper. Prost!

Giant Bavarian Pretzel

Close-up of the Giant Bavarian Pretzel

According to the menu, the pretzel served here does indeed hail from Bavaria, although the details were not specific. The recipe? The dough itself? In any case, they are baked to order and took us aback when we saw it — it was the size of a dinner plate! One is definitely plenty for two people to share. When you order, be sure to request light salt (or none at all, if you have sodium restrictions). Fluffy, hot, and slightly chewy, the pretzel tasted fantastic with the sweet & spicy mustard.

Steamed Mussels

Steamed Mussels

I’m a huge fan of moules frites, so when I spotted the Steamed Mussels served with garlic bread, I had to have it. There were so many mussels, all succulent and tender, stewed in white wine, garlic, onion, and lemon. A classic combination and excellent with the Urweisse. I slurped away with glee, sparing a few for Martin to try.

Pork Bratwurst with Rosti

Pork Bratwurst with Rosti

Martin decided to pair his Erdinger Weizenbier with the Swiss Bratwurst, pork (or veal) bratwurst served with onion sauce & rösti, basically crispy pan-fried Swiss hash browns. He really liked the onion sauce, dipping each bite of sausage and potato into it and even scooping up every last bite of caramelized onion. The bratwurst was juicy on the inside with a smoky charred flavor on the outside.

Party Pitcher

Party Pitcher

On a subsequent visit, we took some friends here for a Sunday morning brunch. Still, it’s never too early for beer, so we shared a pitcher. If you have more in your party, the bartender lines the whole pitcher rim with lemon wedges. Keep in mind that for brunch they only serve the breakfast menu but will make pretzels upon request.

Beer with a View

Beer with a View

Palm trees swaying, ocean breeze wafting, it’s definitely worth sitting outside on the patio. In the summertime, they set out benches at an open biergarten area that’s always crowded with locals and tourists and the occasional cluster of belligerent dudes. The patio is a great place to people-watch (and dog-watch)!

Eggs Scandia

Eggs Scandia

Four people in our party (myself and Martin included) were planning to get the Eggs Benedict when I piped up and inquired what the Eggs Scandia is (the menu has no description). The next words that came out of our server’s mouth sealed the deal for all four of us — two poached eggs over smoked salmon on a butter croissant topped with hollandaise and dill, served with breakfast potatoes.

What lies beneath.. the top half of the croissant.

What lies beneath.. the top half of the croissant.

The croissant was buttery and flaky. I love Eggs Benedict but usually my favorites are the ones that are served on croissants… as if the silky egg yolks weren’t already bad enough for my cholesterol levels. My absolute favorite are crab cake benedicts, but those are harder to find. The smoked salmon added a nice saltiness to cut the creaminess of the hollandaise, and dill and salmon is a classic flavor combination.

Beautifully Poached Egg

Beautifully Poached Egg

The best part of eating Eggs Benedict (or in this case, Eggs Scandia) is cutting into a perfectly poached egg and watching the runny yolk ooze out. Picture perfect. The potatoes were pretty good too, crispy and full of flavor – I detected a sweet smokiness… paprika perhaps? Extra delicious with a splash of hot sauce.

If you’re looking for brunch, lunch, or just a beer and pretzel in Venice Beach, be sure to stop by On the Waterfront Cafe. After your meal, you can walk off the carb-filled pretzel and check out the Boardwalk. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

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Check out On the Waterfront Cafe: waterfrontcafe.com

205 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, CA 90291

See their Yelp reviews here!