The hubby and I spent a day in Laguna Beach at The Montage Hotel. We sometimes go there when we want to feel extra fancy. The views there are unlike any other. But today’s post is about a restaurant that we found in the area after we left the Montage. I had to yelp this one, and it had to have vegetarian options because my mother-in-law is vegetarian.
I used to live in Calabasas, right on the cusp of Woodland Hills, and back in the day there really weren’t many dining options for its residents. In fact, the entire Blvd. in that part of the valley was really sparse in restaurants and bars. However, in the past few years, I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in openings and I bet its exciting for the residents because leaving that part of town to drive…well anywhere really, can be a mission. During the time I lived there, even driving to Studio City was like driving to a far off land, and downtown LA? Fogettaboutit.
I love checking out bars, from really fancy ones like the rooftop at the Waldorf, to the the diveyest of all places. I love how every bar has its own vibe, ambiance, specialties, etc. On this particular day, I visited The Craftsman Bar in Santa Monica. It is located on Broadway, and if you are not familiar with the area, I would say this in a decent central location, which also gets more brownie points because it happens to be right near the ocean as well. I imagine it is quite beautiful during the day time.
Wild and Free is...Rotisserie chicken with a bang! Their mission is to take rotisserie chicken and make it flavorful and fun. They have 4 different unique flavor profiles: Smokey, Wild, Savory, and Original. But being the phatty that I am, I went straight for the fried chicken because...fried chicken. Some things just don't need an explanation. I tried three sides that day, the cous cous, crispy potatoes (triple fried, garlic, parmesan, herbs), and the mac and cheese. Of course my favorite was the mac and cheese. As our second entrée, we did the Caribbean bowl. I liked it but the rosemary did overpower the whole dish. That didn't matter to me because I like the flavor of rosemary, but just a warning to those who don't care for rosemary. Check out all the pictures below and if you've ever been, let me know what is your favorite dish at Wild and Free!
This next place is what I recommend for a really romantic date night spot. They have the cutest outdoor patio equipped with charming tables, tea lights, and they were even showing a black and white movie in the background. It was the perfect setting! And, the food is actually really good too! The margherita pizza, the branzino, the burrata, the blood orange salad, tiramisu, and the bambolini were my favorite....so basically everything? I didn’t try the steak but if I had it would probably be on this list. Honestly you really can’t go wrong with anything.
The Sugar Factory! What can I say, this place was dope AF! I've seriously never been anywhere like it. They're known for their specialty shakes and oh-so-sugary cocktails. It says on the wall, it's the "most instagrammed restaurant" and I can see why. First of all, their drinks are absolutely wild!! Secondly, it has been visited by so many celebs...Kim and Kylie, JLo, Drake, you know, just some B-listers, no big deal.
The Crabby Crab is the only spot I can think of in the valley that offers a crustacean-centric menu like this one. The concept is fairly simple, first you pick your seafood. They offer a wide selection like 3 kinds of crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels, and crawfish.
Next, you pick how you want to Sauce 'Em. The three choices are as follows: garlic butter, lemon pepper, and "the crabby way" house cajun mix. We went with the crabby way and that is THE way to go. This one was spicy and garlicky as hell, but in a VERY GOOD WAY.
For authentic Greek food, you must try Jimmy's Kouzina. Brother and sister Andrew and Natalie, along with their mom Julie run this restaurant, named after their late father Jimmy. I almost teared up after hearing about their story. Their dedication to serve day in and day out, since they were children is quite remarkable.