The women, Chuck, and another spouse spent a long weekend in So Cal to eat, drink, shop and play.  And of course walk / run the beach and mix with the locals.


Abbot Kinney Boulevard is “buzzworthy” and the street to stroll.  It is hot, trendy and luckily without any chain restaurants or stores (not a Starbuck in sight)!  The small, unique retail stores had us doing quite a bit of damage to our budgets, but we arrived home with some unusual items to adorn and showcase.

Our top picks on restaurants were:

Tasting Kitchen – 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd – Definitely an LA restaurant scene, lively and filled with an interesting crowd. The raucous downstairs is the lively areas, but upstairs it is quiet enough to have a conversation and appreciate Casey Lane’s wonderful cuisine.   Don’t forget to try the cocktails as Justin Pike, a superb mixologist, is the ultimate bartender.  Mediterranean, farm to table, small and large plates.

Gjelina – 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd – This established hot spot is perfect for lunch, brunch, or dinner.  Also farm to table, with changing seasonal small plates but leave room for the Butterscotch Pot de Crème – yummy!

Joe’s Restaurant – 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd – One of the first restaurants on Abbot Kinney and has doubled in size since it’s opening.  Seasonal tasting menus using all the best ingredients grown locally.

Barnyard – 1715 pacific Avenue – Jesse Barber worked under Thomas Keller and has his own farm in Malibu where he produces most of their produce.  Local, casual, delicious, warm and friendly.  Recommended – rack of rabbit, oil-poached baby octopus, honey-glazed ribs.

Rose Café – 220 Rose Avenue – What can I say about this Venice icon that I frequented when I lived in LA from 1980 – 1999.  It is part pub, part restaurant, showcasing local artists.  Best for Brunch and don’t skip the fresh fruit tarts.

Superba Snack Bar – 533 Rose Avenue – Don’t let the name fool you – this may be a casual, lively and fun restaurant but the food is anything but.  Try the handmade pastas, braised oxtail toast, crispy brussels sprouts, and short ribs!


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