So I spent my day off cruising around L.A. today, eating around, my girlfriend and I started at Toast, on 3rd at La Jolla. Feh, nothing to write home about. Nothing bad but nothing great. I had the huevos rancheros and she had the coffee cake french toast. Both were lacking, what is it, love? Huevos rancheros as I'm used to it should be a huge messy affair involving really great beans, tortillas, eggs, queso fresco, onion, etc. What I got was a nice, neat little stack of tortillas with some bland black beans, properly cooked eggs, and two slices of cheddar cheese on top. Depressing. The garnishes were solid though, salsa, guac, and sour cream (not sure how you can screw up the last one). The coffee cake french toast was decent enough I suppose, a little boring. Had to ask for syrup too. The service eh. Fake smiles, ultra trendy and snooty hostess. Trendy crowd. I've always been happy with breakfast at Highland Grounds. We spent most of our time talking about how we should have gone there. Bill after tip was around 26 I think.
Lunch: Have been reading about Massimo's on Abbot Kinney in Venice and hearing about it from a chef I used to work for, so we went after a drink at Moonshadow's in Malibu (which was pleasant, although the waitress made a crack at my order of a screwdriver, saying, "Screwdriver? How 80's." She's lucky I'm stuck in the 80's, so I took it with a smile). We sat on the back patio, very nice atmosphere, had a ham+brie panini and a tuna panini with an espresso and a san pellegrino. Espresso rocked, very strong. Both sandwiches were really great, the dressing for the salads was great. We split some gelato afterwards, tried the strawberry chocolate, the hazelnut chocolate, the coffee, and the rum raisin. I enjoyed all four, but especially the coffee and the hazelnut chocolate. We were both already completely full before the gelato, but it was all damned good. My girlfriend had to pull away both containers to keep me from getting sick. Service was decent, our waitress, we concluded, was a total dingdong. I always give the benefit of the doubt and thought she just might be a little weird, but alas, she was a dingdong. Cute though. Bill for two came to like 32 I think. Not bad at all. Definitely be back.
Dinner: Been hearing about Cheebo on Sunset and Sierra Bonita and drove by it today, so I dined there alone after the girl went to work. I sat at the bar and ordered the pork sandwich as per previous reviews. Excellent. Will probably make this a regular intake on at least a monthly if not weekly basis. Very tasty pork, with caramelized onions, thinly sliced pickles, and melted manchego. Had it with a salad with a really nice vinnaigrette. Good crispy-on-the-outside chewy-on-the-inside foccacia. Asked if they make it there and they do.
Washed it down with a san pellegrino, checked out a few of the waitresses, and called it a night. Bill after tip was a little under 20 I think. Some have posted some dissent regarding Cheebo's prices, but I found them to be quite fair considering the quality of the food and the location. I'll be back soon.
And now, I diet for a week.
A side note: Might want to keep the Ojai Valley Inn on the radar soon, the opening for Maravilla (the fine dining) is scheduled for March, and we've got some really great talent coming in there...(with yours truly on the line of course)