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Los Angeles Area Road Trip

road trip, day two: Marina del Rey

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road trip, day two: Marina del Rey

moto | Jan 2, 2006 05:42 AM

let me first thank the metro-LA/OC 'hounds for their great posts,and candid, refreshingly irreverent,diverse opinions that reflect the multiethnic backgrounds and huge pool of profoundly well-traveled 'hounds. We chose to spend our first night in your environs on the northwestern edge rather than crawl through a late afternoon/evening crossing to Laguna Beach.Inspired by Perceptor's post and photos, we went to Irori for dinner. We enjoy Japanese food but usually content ourselves with simpler fare. So of course we we were very impressed and pleased with everything, shoeless ambience, exposed wood interior,caring staff,quality of food.Can't really add much to what others and Perceptor have said, but as novices we requested the tuna meatballs, which the waitress first had to get ok'd from Masa, who was stationed a few feet from our table,and relied on her suggestions for sushi. These provided us new experiences in bluefin tuna (two preparations), Japanese mackerel(we eat oily fish often,and this was nothing like we expected, so delicate and fresh), and uni, which likewise defied our expectations with its fruit-like sweetness.We shared a sake sampler (3 for $15) and my wife especially favored the Hakkaisan, so we ordered a flask(also $15).I liked the lighter bodied but perhaps more nuanced Kurosawa as much.Irori is probably just a small taste of the great sushi your area offers, but Masa's "meatballs" went into my personal hall of fame with Arthur Bryant's BBQ and Leah Chase's shrimp creole et. al. The next morning we got to Tamara's Tamales on W. Washington for brunch and they were already sold out on a couple of varieties, with some people getting 6-10 dozens in huge shopping bags. The nacatamal(banana leaf wrapper) was excellent. We walked up the street to Massimo's Delectables and had a pleasant chat with the proprietress as my part Italian spouse and cookie connoisseur made her selections. Her standard was established in her childhood by bakeries in her mother's lower Manhattan, and Massimo's took first place in her adult experience. Before getting onto 405 we made a quick stop at Primo's donuts, which was also thinned down in varieties, but they still had buttermilk bars, with which we usually assess donut dives, going back to our newlywed days in St.Louis when I dubbed them lead ingots for the style prevailing there.Primo's version was delectably light, about halfway between the heavier and denser norm and what one hopes for in a fresh, crisp-rimmed old fashioned. We were thus well provisioned for the trek across two counties, thanks again to you all.

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