First full day in LA

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This morning we checked out of the Shangri-La, thank god, and have settled into the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey and we couldn't be happier.  Granted it might be a little stuffy but the rooms are just what the doctor ordered. 

We met my brother and his crew at Axe on Abbott Kinney in Venice for brunch.  Abbott Kinney has exploded over the years and is worth walking around.  From the stores to the restaurants to the galleries.  Plenty of old school mixed in with the new stuff.  Axe might be one of my favorite places for brunch in Venice.  They do a good lunch during the week too.  The place is hopping on Sunday, reservations are really needed. 

LA as compared to NYC has a very different food vibe.  There are wonderful salads and healthier type menus at every turn.  Maybe its the air, maybe it is the laid-back attitude, the desire to work out, the whole thing.  As Jessica put it, in NYC people who weigh nothing say, I eat whatever I want and never work out.  That is not a conversation you'd have with someone in Los Angeles.  Working out is part of the whole schtick.  Tomorrow we are going on a big bike ride. 

Axe has a 9 grain pancake which is the best pancake I have ever had, hands down.  I'd love to get my hands on that recipe.  Anyone?  Black sesame seeds, brown rice, farro, maybe whole wheat flour, eggs?  It is light, flavorful and you believe you are eating something healthy.  Maybe you are. The eggs are also good, however you want them prepared.  Fred had a poached egg on top of braised collards with bacon and potatoes which was excellent.  Josh and Jessica actually went with the Mediterranean Tuna Salad.  Mixture of baby arugula, pieces of Italian parsley, slices of red onion, chopped hard cooked eggs, chick peas, Italian tuna mixed with a lemon cayenne dressing served over a grilled slice of Peasant bread.  Nobody had the rice bowl but that is big at lunch. 

We did our loop around Abbott Kinney and went to see my niece play tennis at the Beverly Hills Country Club.  Not in Beverly Hills and only a swim and tennis club.  It is a nice group of people.  Families and friends watching their kids play.  Afterward, we drove over to Culver City.

Last time I was in Culver City I did a serious gallery tour, just walking from place to place by ourselves.  The area continues to grow and it would be worth making the rounds again.  Instead, we had dinner at Rush.  Rush, taken from Rush Street in Chicago, since all the art work inside is about Chicago.  A huge piece of the Herb Alpert and the TIjuana Brass album cover, A Taste of Honey.  Wow, that brought back memories, and another painting of the El in Chicago.  Inside, the restaurant has a feeling of being in side an old warehouse.  I wasn't expecting much but the food was actually quite good. 

We split some tuna tacos which were open faced.  Round taco crisps with chopped salad, jalapenos and a piece of charred tuna on top and a spicy sauce.  The menu is eclectic so everyone seemed happy.  I had crab and crawfish sliders.  Tiny spicy crab cakes between small burger buns.  I also went with a side order of sauteed green beans with arugula.  Some people had a turkey burger which was really juicy, others had the lettuce cups with pulled pork, others had a steak, some had grilled asparagus but Josh pulled it off with the oozing mac and cheese side dish that looked like French Onion soup. 

Both my brother and sister-in-law told me that the Honey Fried Chicken place across the street was killer.  A hole in the wall.  Supposedly there is an empanada place around the corner too.  That is one of the things about LA.  Visually, it is very mixed.  There are places that I might never walk into unless someone told me to.  I do hate the driving but I like the food and the weather.  It is perfect that my brother and his family live here because I can always visit and we do. 

Everyone went home to their own beds, ours being the hotel which is fine with me, to watch Obama on Sixty Minutes.  A good day in LA. 

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