Yesterday I got back from my vacation to Los Angeles, where I visited with friends and family and had the most wonderful time! The next few blog posts from me will be about my culinary adventures around Southern California.
Now let's cut to the chase: After a harrowing trip across the country (I arrived 6 hours late at 1:00am...oy), I was greeted by my wonderful hosts, cousins Ann and Steven, who live in Santa Monica (right near the beach!). On my first day about town, we took a drive around Malibu and had lunch at Malibu Seafood, a wonderful seafood joint right on the beach. The little shop is a restaurant and fish market, which seemed like a good sign for the freshness of the fish!
We sat down at our picnic table overlooking the ocean and enjoyed some lemonade while we waited for our food to be ready.
We ended up getting the mixed fried seafood basket and a fish taco, and shared everything (of course). The fried seafood was awesome - it had shrimp, scallops, oysters, and a piece of fish (not sure what kind...), and was served with tartar sauce and cocktail sauce. The shrimp were my favorite I think, followed by the oysters. It was served atop a bed of fries, which were also delicious.
The fish taco was okay - it was a little bland and boring. The fish was chopped up and grilled (or maybe poached?), which made the taco very difficult to eat since everything was falling out of the corn tortilla. Also, I am used to the yummy fish tacos at Baja Fresh with fried fish, which not only are delicious (being fried and all) but also keep the taco together better.
It was a great first meal in California - fresh and delicious, and out in the sunshine!
The evening meal of the day was also seafood-oriented: I went out for sushi with my childhood best friend, Jamie. She's out in LA trying to make it as a vocalist, and she's incredibly talented so I am sure we'll be hearing her on the radio any second now!
She drove an hour up to Santa Monica, and we drove to Wabi-Sabi, a cute little sushi joint in Venice.
We had to wait a little while in their lounge, but we were served cocktails in the meantime. Jamie got a grapefruit-basil martini, and I got a mojito - both were excellent. The mojito was served with a long, carved piece of ginger (I think) - it was beautiful but not exactly functional nor flavorful.
We were seated and ordered a few appetizers before we got our sushi. First we ordered edamame and a shrimp tempura special, which was tossed in a spicy vinaigrette - delicious! It was crispy and spicy, and not too heavy, as is the beauty of tempura. Jamie's take on the shrimp: "It's the rich-person equivalent of popcorn shrimp!"
Then we ordered our sushi: Jamie got the spicy crispy tuna roll and the california roll, and I ordered the yellowtail and scallion roll and the eel roll, along with an order of salmon nigiri, and tuna nigiri. Everything was WONDERFUL! It was beautifully presented and super-fresh, with nice large portions - so large that we even left a few sad pieces on the plate (a rarity for me when it comes to sushi)!
One interesting thing about this meal was that Jamie ordered her sushi with rice paper (like you would have on a Vietnamese summer roll) instead of nori, the traditional seaweed wrapping. I had never heard of such a thing, silly east-coast me! The waitress didn't even blink when this request was made! Just an interesting observation...
It was a great first day in California, filled with family, friends, and lots of seafood. Stay tuned for more culinary tales from Cali!
ps. I apologize to the friends and family in CA whom I was unable to see - I only had but a few days out there! I will surely see you the next time around!