Sunday morning, OpenTable was kind enough to get us reservations for brunch at Susan Feniger’s STREET. We kind of kept forgetting that it was Easter.
STREET was amazing. I had the Kaya toast, which is covered in coconut jam and served with an egg and soy sauce. I’ve been having fantasies about it ever since. We both had excellent brunch cocktails, too. I couldn’t believe the place wasn’t more crowded on Easter.
From there, we headed to Venice Beach. We’d driven through the area and saw enough to know it was awesome, but hadn’t been to the actual boardwalk. It was time to fix that, and it was gorgeous outside.
We wandered down the boardwalk, taking everything in. There was a lot to look at. Then we handed over the best $5 we ever spent, and went in to see the freakshow. It was fantastic.
I bought two pairs of sunglasses from a vendor on the boardwalk, and then we decided to stop at the beer garden and hang out in the sun for a while. Of course we both managed to get sunburnt within less than an hour.
Somehow I always manage to forget how massive the beaches in California area. Seriously, they’re huge.
On the way back to the car, we stopped to buy an awesome calavera from a vendor on the boardwalk, and then for food at a couple of walk-up windows. Matt got samosas, and I got a falafel sandwich from a man watching Armenian television.
It was then time to head southward. Our goal was Costa Mesa, home to the well-known (to booze nerds) Hi Time Liquors. They were only open til 4 on Easter, so we had to time our departure well! On the way, we saw the Goodyear Blimp hanging out at its home.
We got to Hi Time with only 15 minutes to spare. That was plenty, though, because we managed to find not only some of the rums we’d sampled the night before at Cana, but our original goal: Lemon Hart 151. It’s just been recently imported into the US, and it’s extremely hard to find.
Our dinner reservations weren’t til 6:30, so we killed time wandering around Newport Beach. We saw the little town, did some shopping, and wandered out onto the pier. We then stopped into the Newport Beach Brewing Company for a beer, and managed to see the Anaheim Ducks get knocked out of the playoffs. Hooray!
It was then time to head up the PCH to Huntington Beach, where we had reservations at Don the Beachcomber. It’s hard to express how excited we were about that, but holy crap. It was great.
Our table was a little slow to be cleared (actually, we were pretty early), so the server asked if we wanted to sit in the lounge instead. That was an excellent stroke of luck, because the lounge was fantastic, and we probably would’ve missed it if we had sat in the dining room. We got a round table, ordered tiki drinks, and settled in to watch the Hawaiian band. I loved every minute of it, to the point that I didn’t even mind their complete lack of vegetarian food (I ordered a salad without meat).
We sadly had to leave Don the Beachcomber and head back to LA. We wanted to stay all night, but then we’d be sleeping in the car in Huntington Beach. On the way back to Hollywood, we ended up in a traffic jam on the 101. At 9:30 on a Sunday. What the hell, LA? (Our theory: everyone in LA is issued at least 2 cars, and is obligated to drive them as many hours as possible. There’s no other explanation for why the traffic is so insane there 24 hours a day.)
We finally reached our destination, the Dresden Room. Matt really wanted to go there, as he’s seen Swingers something like four million times.
The Dresden Room was awesome. They had the typical round tables and oldtimey bar, and a bartender who looked like he’d been working there since the 50s. He made a great Manhattan. There were only a few other people there, but I did manage to eavesdrop on a very dramatic conversation between some Hollywood-types. The lady was going on and on about how hard it was that day with all the extras on the set.
After the Dresden Room, it was again time to go drop our car off by the hotel for the evening. We parked and headed in the direction of Cole’s, which has an awesome speakeasy-style cocktail bar called Varnish in the back. It was midnight as we arrived, so we were appalled to find the managers there closing the place up. (We’d yet again completely forgotten it was Easter.) We asked if any other place was open, and they pointed us next door to a bar called The Association.
The Association was an awesome little lounge with a good variety of classic cocktails. But what mattered more was that we befriended the DJ and his other friend at the bar, and ended up talking to them the whole time, which then resulted in shots of Fernet seeming like a really great idea. When Fernet seems wise, you know things have reached a certain point.
Our friends insisted on buying us a cab back to the hotel, even though it was only 8 blocks or so. We’re pretty sure they didn’t believe us when we said we were walking, since nobody in LA actually walks. They’re all too busy driving their multiple cars.