On Eating Out

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From top to bottom: I AM TERRIFIC at Cafe Gratitude Venice, carrot ginger soup with lobster “flowers” at Spago Beverly Hills, Rustica salad with grilled prawns at Culina Four Seasons, green pizza from The Urban Oven.

The possibilities for good food in LA are endless. Sometimes I’m torn when it comes to dining out, because I genuinely like cooking, eating while in sweats, and spending my money on more tangible items, like yet another candle for the apartment. But that doesn’t mean I don’t do my fair share of restaurant hopping, and to be honest, there are still so many places — literally, dozens! — that I still want to frequent. Cafe Gratitude is a spot I’ve visited before, and will visit again. I most recently went with my sister and ordered raw kelp noodles with basil hemp seed pesto, cashew ricotta cheese, heirloom cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, almonds and basil. This meal really does raw, organic, vegan food justice. I could have eaten my portion times three, but no complaints about the taste.

I finally ate at Spago in Beverly Hills, at an indulgent work lunch. I seriously would have been satisfied simply with my soup — carrot ginger, studded with lobster — but had my arm twisted to also get pasta. Spago is really a class act from start to finish; I loved the caraway seeded flatbread crackers so much, our busboy brought me several to go. And Wolfgang Puck comes by and greets every table, just as I imagine chefs did thirty years ago, when Beverly Hills was really full of old Hollywood glamour. I also joined my visiting friend Rebecca at the Four Seasons for lunch one day. Culina is a bit pricey but the menu is really creative and screams “Californian” which is perfect for out-of-town guests. My Rustica salad included kale, sun dried tomatoes, garbanzo beans, artichokes, fresh oregano, pine nuts, pecorino and grilled prawns. I’m wondering why my homemade simple salads never taste this good…not enough oil or dressing perhaps? We ate outside on the sun drenched patio and it was a perfect Friday lunch/work escape for me.

And last but certainly not least, I managed to track down The Urban Oven, and at a work event nonetheless. I know I can be overly effusive when it comes to food, but I really love wood fired pizza. The Urban Oven offers amazing combinations (how good does olive oil, gruyere, assorted potatoes, leeks and thyme sound?!). Oh, and did I mention it’s a food truck? I’m not one to chase food trucks around the city but this one? Oh yeah. I predict a round 2 sometime in the near future!

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