beach

Playa Provisions definitely has an identity crisis. The restaurant is separated into 4 different sections — Dockside, Grain, Small Batch, and King Beach. Dockside is a high end dining space for seafood. Grain is a back room whiskey bar. Small Bach is their ice cream shop. King Beach is their casual breakfast and lunch spot. Honestly, the concept is interesting and confusing. Top Chef runner-up Brooke Williams and husband run the show. The woodsy, artsy, and earthy tones of the decor was very attractive. Honestly though, I came here just for the ice cream.

The ice cream was a treat. The chocolate malted crunch was full of bits and was quite nice. I usually don’t like chocolate malted crunch, and I don’t quite know why I ordered this flavor. The bits of malted balls were nice and the chocolate was rich and flavorful. My favorite was the milk and coffee ice cream. It had a nice subtle coffee flavor and was so clean tasting. This mixed in with the chocolate malted crunch was a perfect match. All of this with their addicting house made waffle cone, and I was a happy little kid with an ice cream cone.

In second thought, the concept here at Playa Provisions is kind of interesting. I wish they did a better job in integrating everything together. The new restaurant in Playa del Rey is turning heads though. I originally thought it was a casual sandwich shop that also had delicious ice cream. I was in shock when I walked in and there were all these different compartments. Back-room whiskey bar? Who would have thought? I will definitely be back for that. Maybe even a sandwich and seafood fare is in order also. For #icecreamtuesdays though this will definitely do.

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I know, it is hot as heck out there. Despite Korean myth, the fans are on at night and I did not die. AC in the car is always on, and summer isn’t leaving without a fight. Thank goodness we have beaches. Gosh I love the beach. The people, the relax atmosphere, and the smell of the sea just makes me happy. And we all can’t forget that the beach is always like 10 degrees cooler than the city. Walking around Manhattan Beach, the Orange County beach of L.A., I couldn’t help but notice the growth of restaurants and eateries around here. One in particular, Lemonade, was an eye catcher. The bright colors and the casual/cafeteria style of everything made this a unique spot. Lemonade’s food and the interior design goes well hand in hand – It is fresh, vibrant and well, all that equals to something delicious and healthy. Usually healthy means bland, but they do a good job using fresh ingredients to make their dishes flavorful.

My favorite was probably the tandoori chicken. With chunks of mango, yogurt, coconut, and tamarind, the dish was sweet. The coconut flavor is prevalent in the dish and worked well with the tandoori chicken. More sweet than savory, the dish isn’t for everyone, though most would probably appreciate the different flavors. This is a must order if you are a tropical fruits kind of person.

The watermelon radish was unique. Never having tried watermelon radish before, I was intrigued. Filled with ahi tuna, snap peas, and sesame it was a healthy side. The snap from the peas and radish worked well with the tuna. The tender meat and the crunchy veggies made for a nice texture contrast.

The arugula salad was amazing. The mission figs and the blue cheese played nicely together as usual. The asparagus gave it a nice crunch to the dish. I am a sucker for blue cheese, and this was probably the reason it was my favorite of the bunch.

The orecchiette pasta was probably the least favorite of them all. The goat cheese was nice as was the asparagus. There was nothing special or unique about this dish, and this was probably the least healthiest of the bunch. The flavors didn’t really pop.

At Lemonade, one must get lemonade right? Not really, but it is pretty hard to resist. It’s like walking into a Porto’s and not ordering a dozen cheese rolls. That just doesn’t happen. I opted for the blood orange and ginger guava. The blood orange was a bit sweet as was the ginger guava. The sourness of the blood orange made it seem even sweeter. The ginger guava had a nice mellow flavor. I tried samples of the watermelon rosemary and cucumber mint — those were quite refreshing as well. Whichever flavor you get, it is sure to quench your thirst and keep you alive in this heat wave.

Filled with pastries and hot stews and roasts, they have almost anything that you would want in a nice hearty meal. Though I didn’t quite get the relation of the lemonade, pastries, cold dishes and hot pot dishes, everything seemed like it was made from the freshest ingredients. When I think of lemonade, I think of something refreshing and fresh. I guess all of their menu items translate into that exact motif. Everything is good eats without the guilt.

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The beach is the first thing I think of when its hot out. The cool breeze and sun all make up for a perfect experience during the hot weather. One of my favorite beaches in Los Angeles, Malibu, is a great beach city. They have the best beaches, and some of the best food around. From Geoffrey’s to Malibu Seafood, Malibu is the place to be for the beach and food. Paradise Cove Beach Cafe is a nice beachfront restaurant. The menu is full of seafood greats, and the views are just amazing. Paradise Cove is a nice spot in theory, but over crowding and the over population of it all made for a mediocre experience. The beach in itself is nice — the waters are calm, bad for surfers, nice for floaters. At the end of the day, I had a better time relaxing at the beach than eating there. The food by itself was uninspired. Nothing impressed me other than the beautiful location.

I was quite excited about the calimari. It came in a huge martini style glass — I ordered it to wow the group. After tasting the soggy, salty calimari, I was dissapointed. I guess the novelty of the huge martini glass was all it took to get a “tourist” like me to order it. The bed of fries on the bottom were even soggy and tasteless. Don’t let the over-sized martini glass fool you!

The fried fish po boy sandwich had good fish, but everything else was lacking. The slaw had good crunch and the salad tasted decent. Honestly though, I hated the bread. A good sandwich needs good balance, and this sandwich had too much bread and greenery and not enough fish to compensate. the filet of fish was huge, but having less bread, more sauce and a balance of ingredients would have made this a nice fish sandwich.

I only had small bites of the taco trio plate. The shrimp was probably my favorite of the three. The beans and rice just got by and the flavors weren’t anything special. This was another boring dish.

Paradise Cove is a nice beach spot. The views and the beach are near picture perfect. The food at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe on the other hand is just mediocre. Almost as if it were a tourist trap, my lunch experience there wasn’t anything pleasant. Yes I was with good company and the scene and vibe was like a vacation. As a food blogger, all I really care about at the end of the day is the food. I wouldn’t mind eating here again, but only for breakfast. We missed the deadline for ordering breakfast by a few minutes, but the dishes other patrons had looked half way decent. One thing that pissed me off was their parking situation. Parking is $3 for 4 hours with validation. That is great and all, but after the 4 hours are up, its $30 automatically. After lunch, we relaxed at the beach and swam — when we left, we were a few minutes over 4 hours, and we had to pay $30. A word of advice, leave by the 4 hours. I felt like we paid $27 for that extra 15 minutes we stayed over time. It was all fun in the sun until we left — we all left with a bitter taste in our mouth — half of it from the food.

Paradise Cove Beach Cafe on Urbanspoon

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When you are in Santa Monica seafood comes to mind. BBQ, let alone, good BBQ isn’t one of the first things you think of. On a random weekend trip to Venice Beach / Santa Monica, I stopped by Baby Blues BBQ. After reading glowing reviews on this joint, I had to see for myself. Just the rarity of a barbecue restaurant near the beach got me intrigued. Situated on Lincoln Blvd., I wasn’t expecting anything gourmet. The rugged interior and simple decor made this place a very casual spot. There was a little wait for a table, but the anticipation made me hungry — not a bad thing.

I ordered their pulled pork plate. A barbecue restaurant is only as good as its pulled pork. Baby Blues BBQ made some amazing pulled pork. It had the right amount of fat and meat — it was tender and not dry at all. Per their recomendation, we added some of their spicy vinegar sauce on the meat. This brought the dish to a whole new level. The tang from the vinegar went perfectly well with the fatty pork. Slathering the meat with 1 of their 4 sauces was awesome. My favorite was the original. With a side of mac and cheese and mashed sweet potatoes, I was in carb load heaven. The mac and cheese was amazing, hands down. Baked from a large batch, the mac and cheese was rich and cheesy. This was southern cooking at its best. The mashed sweet potato was perfect. A little bit of sweet helped keep my taste buds excited. This was a southern style plate that impressed.

My all time favorite at Baby Blues BBQ is their tri tip sandwich. The meat was a soft and the best part is their marinade. A little sweet and robust like that of teriyaki, the meat had a nice barbecue taste — kind of like an Asian barbecue sauce marinade. The brioche bun soaked up all the flavor and was a perfect vessel for the goodness. The cole slaw on top gave the sandwich enough crunch and texture. I feel good cole slaw is important in a pulled pork sandwich and Baby Blues’ doesn’t fall short. The sandwich was so simple and the tri tip really shined. With a side of a pickle spear and this meal was perfect.

Who would have thunk an awesome barbecue joint would be situated near the beach? Their simple menu and decor really brought them down to earth. The quality of the meat was memorable and their barbecue sauces were no joke. How perfect was it to eat some great authentic BBQ and then relax at the beach? Something about eating seafood at the beach is so cliche and normal that it doesn’t seem exciting. Barbecue on the other hand is always a win win situation. Adding the beach to the equation just sweetens the deal.

Baby Blues BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Neptune’s Net – Fresh Seafood On A PCH Landmark

by Franklin on October 28, 2011

On my way to Neptune’s Net, I couldn’t help but notice how expansive Malibu is.  I was driving almost 30 minutes north on the PCH, and I was still in Malibu?  Crazy right?  So why would anyone want to drive so far for some seafood?  Well, it’s “The Net” — people from all walks of life come here just to be a part of it. It’s far enough to feel like you went away, but close enough because it’s still Malibu.

Upon arriving, it was just like I imagined it.  Hoards of people in line, motorcycles parked in the front, and the smell of fried seafood.  People from all walks of life were there –families with children, couples, bikers, and all were sitting together, enjoying some delicious seafood. The beer selection they have is amazing.  Half of the stuff were beers I had never heard of before.  All in all, it was a great and new experience for me.

We ordered the fried fish and shrimp combo plate, and the calimari plate.  Honestly, the shrimp and calimari were amazing, and the fish was even more so. It was the best fried fish I have ever had.  I was surprised.  Most of the time, the fried fish I get is always either too greasy or tasteless.  The fried fish at Neptune’s Net was so crispy and had so much flavor.  I would order that all the time.

I was sad to find out that they did not have the lobster rolls anymore.  I was in the mood for some lobster and couldn’t have my lobster roll fix.  On the other side of the restaurant is their fresh seafood section.  There you can get whole lobsters and crabs and oysters. I wanted to get some fresh raw oysters, but the line for that side was much too long, and my fried goods were getting cold every second I stood there, so I bailed.  Finding a seat is kind of difficult, but a group of bikers were friendly enough to share their table with us.  They formed a wall of beer bottles between us — we all need borders right?

All in all, I am glad we made the trip up here.  The scene is great, and eating fresh seafood near the ocean is always fun.  This place always reminds me of the The Fast and the Furious.  Vin Diesels character and Brian O Connor race down PCH against a black Ferarri, and after beating it, they enjoy some food at Neptune’s Net. Except, in the movie, nobody was there except those two. Don’t ask me why I know that movie so well. Let’s just say I wrote a paper on the movie back in college.  Anyways, before I go off topic any further, Neptune’s Net is a cool place to have lunch or dinner.  Imagine driving down with your bike crew or friends before sunset, eating fresh seafood and drinking some beers.  That is what Neptune’s Net is all about.  Cheers.

Neptune's Net on Urbanspoon

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Malibu Seafood is a small stand situated on the Pacific Coast Highway, just at the start of Corral Canyon Park.  People cruising down PCH can stop at this small shop and find some of the freshest seafood. There is a small fish market inside as well as a tank of lobsters and crab.  Everything looked fresh — No wonder there was a line almost out the door.

I always try to get the clam chowder.  If it is on the menu, I will most likely get it.  You would think that a seafood spot right next to the beach would have the perfect clam chowder. That isn’t always so.  Though the clam chowder was tasty, it lacked a good thickness that I like.  Maybe I am being too particular, but I like my chowder thick, almost like the consistency of oatmeal or grits.  Anyways, it was a good start nonetheless.

We could not resist the fresh dungeness crab.  Just recently, I enjoy eating this stuff.  Before, it was a chore and didn’t even bother trying to eat it.  After learning how to dissect the legs and body, and figuring out how to get into all the nooks and crevices, I learned that crab is delicious. At Malibu Seafood, the meat was fresh and cooked perfectly.  I was a little disappointed that the flavor of the crab was missing.  It was as if the salty seawater flavor was gone.  Luckily, we had butter to save the day.

What I did like was their fried oysters.  Popping them in my mouth, it was an explosion of ocean flavor. The breading could have been a bit crispier, but the oysters were definitely fresh.  It had an amazing flavor, and I have to say, oysters are so good.  They are like highly concentrated sea flavor in a shell.  Awesome.

What is better than fresh seafood off the side of the PCH?  The cool breeze with the view of the ocean and eating good seafood.  This is what the beach is all about. Los Angeles has some good beaches, and Malibu is one of the finest.  The beach and seafood go hand in hand.  If you are on the PCH and see this establishment on the side of the road, stop and see what all the fuss is about.

Malibu Seafood on Urbanspoon

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I hate to write a negative blog post, but this one will be it.  People don’t only need to know what is delicious out there, but they also need to know what isn’t. Sadly, Gladstone’s in Long Beach was not.  Every quality a good restaurant should have, this one did not have it.  Not only was the food terrible, the service was just as bad, if not, worse.

The prices on the menu were so high.  The atmosphere was not fitting to the price of the food. Waiters were in shorts and shirts.  Something about that was kind of tacky.  With their high end prices, this place sure didn’t feel high end.  Service was a joke.  We had to honestly stop 3 different people for bread — and finally given bread in the middle of our meal.

Their clam chowder was thick, but had no taste.  The one at Yoshinoya is way better, and cheaper too. I felt like I was eating white tasteless soup.  If I were blindfolded and had the soup, I wouldn’t say “That’s clam chowder!”.  I would kind of guess with uncertainty and answer, “clam chowder?”

The poke bowl was so so.  It looked good, but it wasn’t really amazing.  The raw poke was good, but I am a sucker for raw fish. The rice is what makes sushi items like this what it is.  It has to be cooked al dente and needs that special touch.  The rice for this dish was weirdly sticky and mushy, yet seemed undercooked.  All in all, this was okay as an appetizer, but not a full entree.

I am a seafood pasta fan, but Gladstone’s doesn’t specialize in pasta.  At least they supposedly specialize in seafood.  The noodles were kind of over done, and the seafood didn’t taste like seafood. It was as if they washed away all the seafood essence of the clams and shrimp.  All you were left with was a tasteless sauce, stale noodles, and bitter chopped basil leaves.

Honestly, they need to change their whole restaurant upside down.  The one thing going for them?  It is at Long Beach, with the view of the water.  The service needed to go up a few notches, the food could either stay the same or the price could go down — If I had it my way, the place would get a bit classier.  The price could stay the same, or a little higher with smaller portions with a much tastier menu.  I am sorry.  The ice cream at the boardwalk was much better. Gladstone’s at Long Beach, never again.

Gladstone's on Urbanspoon

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Yeah, there is nothing like having ice cream on the boardwalk.  It is as American as apple pie.  On a nice warm day, with the ocean in front of you, what is better than a nice big ice cream cone?  Nothing. I was at Long Beach — I was literally just driving around LA, and before you knew it, I ended up at Long Beach.  Enjoying the nice weather in this crazy city, I decided to get some ice cream.I treated myself to the biggest thing they had.  It was a chocolate covered, chocolate sprinkles covered waffle cone.  I chose rocky road, cookies and cream, and pistachio.  Those were pretty good together, and I think I made a good choice on the flavors. I could have lived without the sprinkles though.  I realized that I am not a huge fan of sprinkles on anything.

Long Beach is a great city and has one of the best boardwalks in the Los Angeles County.  Maybe someday you will end up here and who knows, maybe you will be in the mood for some ice cream. Summer is officially here, and ice cream is perfect to cool you down.  A bunch of ice cream on a huge waffle cone?  Yes, please.

Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt on the Boardwalk on Urbanspoon

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Think of your most delicious seafood meal, and imagine having it in front of an ocean view.  That is what Geoffrey’s is all about.  Located right on the PCH, this Malibu eatery has some of the best view from any restaurant. The fine dining experience was just amazing here.  I took my girlfriend here for brunch to celebrate and we both had a great experience.  Though the sun wasn’t completely out, it was just relaxing to share a meal in front of the calm ocean water.

The bread they served in the beginning was great.  It was warm, and chewy and wonderful.  The rosemary baked within the bread was great and the aroma was even better.  Lather on some of their soft butter, and I was happy. Waiting for our dishes, we just gazed out at sea.  Something about getting lost at sea from ashore was just relaxing.

We started off with their mussels.  The Maine mussels were sauteed in an ale butter sauce with some whole grain mustard.  Nueske’s gourmet bacon really made this dish so delicious.  I felt like the bacon was just as good as the mussels. I would grab the mussel meat, eat it with some of the broth and bacon, and then sop up some more broth with the bread.  The broth was almost like a soup, full of bits and pieces of bacon, tomatoes, and onions.  The mussels were a bit sweet and bacon was meaty and fatty — it added that salty aspect to the dish.  It was a great starter.

The best was their pan seared Chilean Sea Bass.  It was flaky and soft inside.  The meat tasted so delicate — it was such a pure experience. The pesto potatoes were amazing as well.  It was pureed and the texture was like mashed potatoes.  The taste went so well with the sea bass.  Surrounding the potatoes and fish was their heirloom tomato marmalade and basil oil.  I definitely ate with our eyes first, as the dish was very beautiful.  This is probably the tastiest fish dish I have ever had.

I was intrigued to see a lobster eggs Benedict on the menu.  Instead of a traditional English muffin, they use a toasted croissant.  Sadly, the lobster taste was really lacking, and the pieces were really small.  I would have liked to have some actual lobster chunks in there. I would not order this again, but the regular eggs Benedict with the prosciutto looked great.  Nonetheless, their hollandaise was excellent, and the eggs were poached perfectly.

How can one have a bad time at Geoffrey’s?  You have the great Pacific Ocean in front of you, waves and seagulls and all.  Having a meal here is very special and the sights are just beautiful. It is a special occasions type of place though, as the prices are a little high.  Trust me though, it is well worth your dollars.  If you love the beach like I do, and if you like food like I do, Geoffrey’s in Malibu is where you want to be.

Geoffrey's Malibu on Urbanspoon

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It’s a bright and sunny day, what is one to do?  For me and many other lucky Southern Californians, it means, going to the beach.  Walking around Newport Beach, I checked out all of the shops and enjoyed my restful afternoon. It was a bit chilly and windy.  What was the solution?  Chili!  Charlie’s Chili to be exact.  Situated in the center of the boardwalk, it seemed like a popular spot.

I took it to go and enjoyed it on the pier.  Looking at it, I instantly knew it would be great.  Mixing in the cheese and the sauce, I could see all the little granules of chili powder and seasonings. Though I would have liked a bit more meat, the beans were really good in this chili.  They had a lot of cheese on top that melted within the chili.  Every spoonful had a lot of cheese. Yum.  The flavor was really good.  I am so used to chili in the can, this was really an eye opener — I never eat home made chili enough.

It was a great snack.  Eating the warm chili, sitting on the pier, and enjoying the beach is as good as it gets.  I think this opened my eyes a bit to chili.  I’d like to try other more famous chili’s around Southern California. I may even attempt to make my own chili.  Who knows.  All I know is that chili is good and hearty.  If you are at Newport Beach and want some chili, you know where to go.

Charlie's Chili on Urbanspoon

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