Hello again readers! I hope my last post left you salivating for more.
A couple weeks ago was my boyfriend Chris’ 30th birthday. We celebrated with 3 different nights (pretty much a birth-week, what a girl huh? just kidding! a little). Ginet already covered the first night with her post about Bang Bang, which was also a celebration for Chris’ coworker Lisa whose birthday is the day before his. Indeed, the service was excellent! I think they took care of our large party really well, especially considering that it was “Tokyo Tuesday,” and the place was packed. My favorite thing there was the Protein Roll. It wasn’t on happy hour, but at ~$13 I didn’t find it to be too expensive for what it was. I’ve paid about the same for other protein rolls that weren’t nearly as delicious or packed with so much fresh, delicious fish. A must-try if you love sashimi. I’ve also heard great things about their nigiri.
On Chris’ actual birthday (October 3) I took him to Truluck’s in La Jolla. In all the years that we’ve been dating, we’ve gone to a lot of restaurants but we’d never been to a high-end steak or seafood place. I figured his 30th birthday was a big enough excuse to break this streak! I made a reservation for 2 just the day before and when we got there, the booth was all ready for us. It was up on a riser so once seated, we had a gorgeous view of the whole restaurant, in perfect acoustic position to listen to the live piano player. We started with drinks — a Mule for me (delicious and served in the traditional copper mug) and a “Dinner Martini” for Chris, garnished with blue cheese stuffed olives. He’s a sucker for olives. For appetizers, we got a cup of lobster bisque (really good but I wish it had been hotter, temperature-wise) and the Hot ‘n’ Crunchy Shrimp. The shrimp was breaded with spicy seasoning and served with a sweet sauce, a perfect texture and flavor combination. Since I’d known we were coming here, I’d already poured over the menu prior and knew I wanted the Center-cut filet enhanced with the Bearnaise Royale (crab cake, shrimp, Bearnaise). Chris had a tough time deciding because, honestly, everything looked amazing. He went with the Blackened Swordfish Pontchartrain after much debate and after I told him I’d get the 10 oz. steak so there’d be extra for him to try.
I was so impressed by everything about this restaurant. The entree’s were delicious, quality and well worth the splurge. Service was impeccable – from the person I talked to on the phone to make the reservation, to our amazing server Chick, to all the staff walking around and clearing tables and running food – everyone seemed so genuine and happy to make us happy. The cherry on top of our night was very literally a cherry – a few cherries to be exact, and they were on fire. Because we were celebrating a birthday, Chick brought us a complimentary dessert – chocolate bread pudding with vanilla gelato. He came armed also with a gravy boat full of cherries marinating in what was most definitely alcohol because he lit that sucker on fire and poured it atop the bread pudding. Really? This was free? Well I’m stuffed but OKAY! I truly loved everything about my experience here and can’t wait to go back.
On the Saturday following his birthday, Chris had requested a “Nerdy 30″ theme for our outing with friends. Everyone did “Dirty Thirty” and true to his style, he wanted to do something different and funny. I made dinner reservations at El Comal, an adorable and authentic Mexican sit-down restaurant in North Park (where we’d be bar hopping later). We’d first eaten at El Comal when our friend Diwata chose it for her going-away party a few months ago. We instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and food. The fact that it is inexpensive, not crowded and walking distance from all the bars doesn’t hurt its case either.
I feel that the menu is at first a little confusing because most of the main titles for the food are in Spanish. Look closer though and you’ll find easy-to-read English descriptions of everything. Some of my favorite things are the Carne Asada Quesadilla and the Chilaquiles. Also, they make a really good Michelada, with a whole slew of Mexican beers that you can choose for them to make it with. This place was great for our large party since it wasn’t very crowded and they have a bar where you can order your drinks separately so the checks aren’t too confusing at the end of dinner.
We met up with all the non-dinner-goers at Seven Grand (named so because the original is on the corner of 7th and Grand in DTLA), a whiskey bar a couple blocks away. My favorite thing about this place is the live music! They usually stick to Jazz or Blues acts and the night we went they were featuring Lady Dottie & the Diamonds, a blues/soul/rock group that was really great to dance to (and honestly I hardly ever dance). If you’re less about the dancing and more about the drinking, this is still a great place. They’ve got beers on tap, but of course the main event is their hand crafted whiskey cocktails. Though pricier than your average well drink, these are infinitely more delicious and strong. The Mint Julep is a great drink to sip on, my favorite is the Whiskey Sour (but only try this if you’re not squeamish about raw egg whites) and their Old Fashioned is sure to put some hair on your chest.
We topped off the night at URBN, across and down the street. They too make some yummy cocktails, but I feel that their main focus is the huge variety of beers, both on tap and bottled. We chose to go there because of their laid back atmosphere and the fact that we’d be able to hear each other talk on the inside. And the fact that they serve mashed potato pizza didn’t hinder us either. What’s that you say, you’ve never had mashed potato pizza? Well get yourself over there right now and try it because there’s some things you just shouldn’t do without.
Overall I had lots of fun, and so did the birthday boy. He is one of the last of our many friends turning 30 this year so I tried my best to help him plan everything and make it memorable. Are any of you busy with a season of birthdays? Brunch, dinner, drinking plans? I want to see your indulgences so tag your Instagrams and I’ll tag mine too! #graciousdelights #eatsofeden #indulge #celebrate