Waterloo & City, Callahan’s: Don’t go on me

There is no shortage of places to dine out in the LA area, I am aware of that. But the older I get, the more I prefer to go somewhere I know I’ll be comfortable and love the food. Trying new places is risky. What if I get seated next to solo diner that eavesdrops on my conversation and makes way too much eye contact? What if the food his charred? What if the meal is beautiful and very creative but I’m still hungry after the check? Eating out is stressful.

There are a few restaurants that I can go to that I will enjoy no matter what. Waterloo & City in Culver City is one of those restaurants. I’ve been there with coworkers and with my wife for our anniversary and it’s always great. Great ambience, amazing food, it’s really all I need. But last night, I learned that Waterloo & City is closing down for a bit and moving to a smaller location. Waterloo & City is a good sized restaurant, but apparently after it closes in January, it will relocate to a “much” smaller place. The headline does say that the chicken liver mousse will be back, but I really enjoyed eating it in a private corner of the restaurant during the middle of the week.

waterloo-and-city2

I’ve found that when you order charcuterie in a smaller restaurant, the people next to you can’t help but watch while you sample everything on your big wooden board. This was the case at Tar & Roses, anyway. I can’t sample under a spotlight. I need some room to plan my eating strategy. Start with a cheese? Make a little sandwich? Is this mustard? People don’t need to witness this. This is also why I need to order ramen to go. Am I supposed to use the spoon? Is slurping cool? I’ve watched ramenstructional YouTube videos but I’m still not there.

On the comfort side of things, I kinda like Callahan’s diner in Santa Monica. Since moving to LA 8 years ago, I haven’t found too many diners I like. Callahan’s is a pretty legit diner. It’s not spotless, the food is not amazing, the overall green color is interesting, but interesting in a way my Irish grandmothers may have painted their houses in the 50s, so it works for me. Well, for various reasons, Callahan’s is also closing at the end of this year. I walked by this morning and it looks like they’re removing the sign. Maybe new owners LGO Hospitality will put something great into the Callahan’s space, but it feels like the end of an era, even though I have not been around for most of that era.

callahans-santa-monica

I should be eating at home more anyway. My wife is on a tear with Blue Apron, and I just realized that most Blue Apron members are making the same recipes on the same weeks. I had thought there were just a lot of coincidences in my Twitter feed (Oh you’re doing the meatloaf too?) So far the meals are about 70% good and 30% why did you put eggplant in this?

My current favorite restaurant is R+D Kitchen in Santa Monica, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. I saw Elle Macpherson there. You don’t close a restaurant that Elle Macpherson likes. They have amazing deviled eggs. The best part about my current freelancing situation is that I have made R+D Kitchen my conference room, so when anything needs to be discussed in person with a client, we head there for lunch.

I’ve also been going to the new Dunkin’ Donuts in Santa Monica a lot. Too much, probably.

Ye Old King’s Head and Shark Tank’s Panoramic Pigeon Heaven

kings head santa monica

It’s Thursday. It’s hot. I am not at the King’s Head, but my iPhone noob brother showed my supposedly-savvy self that you can take panoramic photos with an iPhone and I took this photo this past weekend. So here it is, Ye Olde King’s Head, your home away from the 3rd Street Promenerds.

Things I wonder when I’m sitting at the  King’s Head:

    • Does anyone else watch this much Shark Tank? Shark Tank Week is coming up, so the show may get some new fans. Regular folks making their dreams come true by inventing something. It’s inspiring. I even read a collection of Mark Cuban’s blog posts.  A couple years ago, I saw Daymond John at the ESPYs but he did not look like he wanted to be approached. Sharks don’t like to be approached. They do the approaching. Sharks, that is.
    • Where are all the dead pigeons? Apparently I’m not the only one with this question. The Mrs. and I watched a pigeon die on our doorstep the other day. It was pretty traumatizing. More for the pigeon, but it was not fun to watch. I searched the web for the appropriate thing to do. Call animal control? Buy a rifle? Leave it be? I was actually unsure it was in pain. It looked like it was making a comeback and doing some pigeon physical therapy. I let nature do her thing. The next time I looked out the window he (she?) had stopped moving. I named him Herbert. Herbert traveled to Heaven in a Rolling Rock box. Apparently if a pigeon can make it to the point that it’s finding a private place to die, it’s had a good life because it was not attacked by a predator. Unless Herbert was poisoned. Probably an ex.
    • I wonder what the other members of my old breakdance crew Fast Forward, are up to. I used to insist on dancing to Ice T’s “Reckless” because it was the best song on the Breakin’ soundtrack and I was the only one in the neighborhood that could do the windmill or something close to it. You can’t just pop and lock to “Reckless,” save that BS for “Ain’t Nobody.”
    • Do I need to see articles from 1988 in my Google search results? I don’t read anything written earlier than September 2012. If Google is going to index the entire history of the written word they need to bump Circus Magazine up on the priority list because I need know what was so intriguing about White Lion’s Mike Tramp.
    • white lion mike tramp

I have never watched a 7am fubol game at the King’s Head, but I am aiming to get there one day. I arrived at 3pm the other day and there were still guys left over from the morning. There are a lot of feisty English guys in there, some seem a little crazy. I’m 3rd generation English and usually not that feisty.

The breakfast here is probably one of the best in town. I also like feeling like I’m visiting a weird relative’s house. The waitresses are all friendly and will call you things like “love.” This is also an acceptable place to drink beer at breakfast. If that’s your thing. It’s people’s thing here.

Another nice thing about the King’s Head: Two bars! I have never sat down at the Bulldog Bar. It seems like a private club to me. Can I get in there? I met my old boss for drinks a while ago and he accidentally went in there, so I guess? He was wearing Diesel Jeans. You can get in anywhere in LA with Diesels on. I’m not getting into the Bulldog Bar with my sad Levis all bunched at the knee.

Okay that’s enough.

Blue Plate Oysterette: Santa Monica

blue plate oysterette shangri la

I’ve been to the Blue Plate Oysterette a few times now, and it’s always a tasty experience. I’ve found that it’s better to go with a group than just a couple. If you go as a couple they will seat a weird French couple next to you and they will stare at you for the whole meal. Staring is a compliment in France. Probably.

It’s pretty cramped inside and outside, but if you go outside of the lunch or dinner rush hours, you’re good to go. I went for a late lunch once and we sat next to Christian Bale. I glanced at his posture and labeled him as a guy that they probably give free leftovers to, but it was Batman.

Cuz he's a valet, get it? Sorry.We attempted to go on an off night last night, but it was still pretty packed. The Blue Plate Oysterette doesn’t take reservations, but you can call to put your name in 15 minutes ahead of time. You may still have to wait 45 minutes when you get there, but hey at least it’s not a whole 60 minutes. Call from the Shangri La’s rooftop bar and finish your drink before you head over. Then sit on the bench for 45 minutes and watch a bunch of shiny cars get valeted.

Get the oysters. They are good. So are the lobster rolls. The fish tacos are not spectacular, but everything else seems to be. The Mrs. got a trout from Idaho and it was great and very polite like most things from Idaho.

I’m not a very good food blogger.

blueplatesantamonica.com/bpo/home/

Benny’s Tacos is my new Sunday taco

Sunday is taco day. Everyone knows that. The Tuesday thing is over. Sunday owns tacos now. Because Tacos Por Favor doesn’t deliver on Sundays and because Tinga always seats me awkwardly close to other patrons, I am BFFing Benny’s Tacos. It was a risk. I was definitely nervous. But Benny’s delivered. Like, literally.

benny's taco

They have tacos that you can eat without leaving the house. They will bring the tacos to your house. You don’t even have to put pants on. If you go the pantsless route, I recommend going big on the tip. The restaurant is painted with vibrant colors. I will probably never go inside that restaurant, but I bet there’s a positive energy in there.

I thought everyone should know.

http://bennystacos.com/

Connie and Ted’s gets this Rhode Islander’s seal of approval

Connie and Ted's West Hollywood

Earlier this year, I learned that a new, New England-themed seafood restaurant had opened a distance away that I am willing to travel. Still, it took me forever to stop by. I needed to stop by to see if their Rhode Island style clam cakes and chowder were legit.

I ordered clam cakes, Rhode Island-style chowder (the clear one) and stuffies. It passed the test. They very much represented an LA version of Rhode Island cuisine. A crunchier,  clam cake paired with an interesting tartar sauce (I did look around for a bottle of malt vinegar), smaller stuffies with bacon (or ham?) inside, and more clams than you’d ever expect to find in an actual east coast chowder.  It was like bizarro RI.

I appreciated the nod to my homeland and I will be returning often. I will probably order fewer fried items, though.

Connie and Ted's Clam Cakes

connie and ted's chowder

 

http://www.connieandteds.com/