Cocktails @ The Tasting Kitchen

Although I still have tons to say and lots of pictures to post of my trip to Asia, let’s go back to our regularly scheduled programming for a bit.

A few weeks ago, I finally made it to The Tasting Kitchen on that trendy strip of Abbot Kinney in Venice thanks to a write-up about it on eatdrinknbmerry.  Although the dishes on their menu, an emphasis on house-made pasta, were all things I’d eat, so far I’ve only tried their cocktails.

On my first visit there, Devin Espinosa (you may have heard of him from such films as BreadBar’s Hatchi Mix Series) was tending the bar and was full of smiles and enthusiasm.

Little Italy & Snacks

I asked him to make me a Little Italy and he admitted that he wasn’t familiar with the drink, but after he learned the ingredients, he proceeded to make it wonderfully. Deceptively good for a first try.

Hot Toddy

My cousin, who accompanied me, was feeling under the weather so I suggested she order a Hot Toddy. As luck would have it, The Tasting Kitchen has a special version of the drink with freshly squeezed ginger.  This was one of the best Hot Toddy’s I’d ever tasted.  It was warm, boozy, and slightly sweet with the punch-in-the-face spice of ginger. My cousin was feeling much better after that.

Vieux Carré

Will ordered a Vieux Carré and when he tasted what Devin mixed up, he declared it one of the best Vieux Carré’s he’d ever had.

From the handful of drinks we ordered, I could see that Devin is skilled in the art of balancing drinks.  I was afraid that the various bottles of house-made bitters, cherries were all for show, but after my first sip, my fears were quelled. The only negative thing I can say about The Tasting Kitchen’s drinks is that they’re all the way in Venice, which is a long way to drive if I’m at home on the east side.

The Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291-3744
(310) 392-6644

Amazing Vegan and Omnivore Tasting Menu @ Joe’s

Joes Restaurant in Venice

On a pleasant spring night this week, I had an amazing dinner at Joe’s Restaurant on a quiet corner on the usually busy Abbot Kinney Blvd. It was still early enough for sunlight to be shining in through the windows, illuminating the crisp, clean decor inside.

Our party, two omnivores and a vegan called ahead for reservations and to ask if the chef, Michael Bryant, would be able to make something to accommodate the vegan. The person who took our reservation assured us that it would be no problem.

On very short notice, because the kitchen wasn’t prepared for the vegan to order an entire tasting menu, Bryant came up with an inventive set of dishes utilizing fresh vegetables such as fiddle head ferns, peas, and celery root. I’ve seen my share of vegan dishes made by higher-end restaurants before, but the dishes Bryant presented were by far the best.

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