Just a quick one today! While I was only having lunch alone (one of the things I love the most about taking a break is to be able to just go and sit somewhere with good food and good drinks and read the paper by myself), I really wanted to share with you a great spot on the very edge of Venice, right at the Marina Del Rey end of Abbot Kinney Boulevard that I visited one hot and sunny Monday lunchtime when I was staying in L.A.: Sunny Spot, a bar and restaurant headed up by L.A. chef Roi Choi and his team with a Jamaican slant.
The bar dining air is bright, colourful and airy, and there is also an option of sitting outside on the terrace, or in the dining room in the back, which I think would be a great evening spot for more of a sit down meal with friends; it has less of a bar style. While I perused the menu, I made a start at picking from the imaginative and rum heavy cocktail menu. (On a side note as a helpful tip for foreign tourists and travellers in Los Angeles, lots of shops, bars and restaurants in the city won't accept a driving licence as a valid form of id if it was not issued by the State of California to prove that you're 21, so be sure to carry your passport with you rather than leaving it in the safe in your hotel room so that you can be sure to be able to enjoy a bit of something alcoholic when you're out and about! Sunny Spot is one of those spots.)
After a while of chatting to my server about the different cocktails on offer, I opted to kick things off with 'Death In The D.R.', a both curious and delicious blend of Dominican rum, lime, honey, absinthe and champagne, garnished with a very photogenic whole star anise. It was a curious drink, both sweet but with a pleasant bitter and herbal aftertaste. One off the menu I'd really recommend, though back at my apartment with a good book, a tall glass of cold water and the balcony door wide open a few hours later, I would not recommend drinking anything with absinthe in when you're planning on walking home in the Southern Californian early afternoon heat! One for the evening/ an air conditioned car or Uber, perhaps?
To eat, I opted for the Grilled Steak Sandwich with avocado mash, jalapeño vinaigrette mayo and pickled onions. It was a rather delicious sandwich packed with juicy steak, but I think perhaps they went a little heavy on the mayo, as the avocado and vinaigrette flavours were lost somewhat. Still, it made for the perfect lunch, and I live that you can choose to get any of Sunny Spot's sandwiches in either full, or half (which I had) sizes. On the side you also get a choice of coleslaw, black bean soup, rice 'n' beans or jerk fries, which is what I opted for. Sunny Spot's jerk fries are a mix of sweet potato and deliciously crisp beer battered regular fries, fresh chopped herbs and lime, served with a simply delicious and very more-ish banana ketchup; a side you must order with anything! I think they're make a great snack with a few cocktails sitting up at the bar.
While I perused the dessert options I went for a second cocktail, one that my server had recommended as one of her favourites earlier on: the Star Searcher. A blend of white rum, ginger liqueur, lemon and grapefruit bitters, with a rather fancy grapefruit peel garnish. The Star Searcher is light, refreshing and fruity, but still with a bit of an interesting spice to it, and a not at all unpleasant bitter aftertaste. Another recommendation!
For dessert I opted for the Coconut Creme Brûlée which had a wonderful crisp sugar top, served with a side of tarragon lime syrup. The brûlée itself was lovely and creamy, but a little bit sickly after a fashion, and you could not really catch much of the coconut flavour. However, the tarragon lime syrup was so wonderfully different and unlike anything I'd ever tasted as part of a dessert so far, I felt that it lifted the whole dish.
While I did enjoy the food, I think Sunny Spot is the perfect place to head for a few after work cocktails and to order a few plates of food to share amongst friends at the end of a Summers day. It is actually owned by Reiss Co., who also own Salt Air where I had brunch a few weeks before, so it does invite comparison. While I think I enjoyed the food a lot more at Salt Air, they both have very different vibes, and Sunny Spot provided me with the best cocktails I'd had in the city so far on my trip.