First up: buncha dancing dragons at Monterey Palace in Monterey Park for dinner. Immediately after the dinner, everyone chalked up this mediocre meal to inexperience ordering. There were so many dishes that “seemed” ideal, but between a certain dislike of lamb, and a certain health fear of duck as well as lobster, it was really difficult to design a great meal at a Hong Kong style seafood house.
Real first stop: Varnish. La Vie En Rose made with Hendrick’s, ginger syrup, rose water, lime, served with two straws. Tasty and actually topped off with a huge cube of candied ginger. Highly enjoyable, and FREE!
East Side – Gin, mint and cucumber, lightly sweetened. Refreshing and matches well to the interior of Varnish which “smells like Knotts Berry Farm” per our menage a tois (family) date for the evening.
The other 2 cocktails were all fine and dandy. With all the couple already drunk on love, once the fresh fruits and veggies come in play, no one can hate on fruit juices spiked with alcohol and flavored by bitters.
Onto service — dear door lady: you frustrate me. Letting in 2 x 2 (equals four), but not a 2-fer waiting for a 3rd person, made no sense. Dear various door staff at Varnish, you guys can’t do math and annoy the shit of people who likes to hang out with more than just one other person. A lady in a 4 top that got denied earlier in the evening actually got up to speak with the door girl, without our prompting, because she became indignant after watching the ludicrousness that went down for 20 minutes. After 4 attempts resulting in pricey bills, frustrated tempers and even one complete shutout, the bottom line on Varnish, and I quote: “it’s not that cool”.
118 E Sixth St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
They serve Crown Cast, they serve McCallan 18 (and other much more sophisticated whiskeys, of course) and on Valentine’s Day, they even served a $6 margarita. Out of all the Cedd Moses properties, this was the emptiest on Valentine’s Day, and where I much preferred. Inevitably, when drinking downtown Los Angeles, you’re going to give up money to 213 Downtown, might as well do it somewhere you can blast Social D with nary a soul listening, then hop across the street to a fine $1 al pastor stand. The neighborhood is gritty as ever, but there’s parking, gated parking! Hallelujah!
2017 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Church & State.
C&S doesn’t answer their phone. It doesn’t matter whether 4pm, 11am, or 10pm. But unlike the Varnish, this bar is accessible because the barkeeps and front of the house make it accessible. David, the bartender, (Michele of Neve has departed, as has Josh the sommelier, now at The Dining Room/Langham) took us in at 11:00pm, well after the final set of Valentine’s Dinner participants were turned. At 11:30pm, we were served the duck and pork rillette, and a cheese course (sorry, no cheese notes, but really, it’s Valentine’s Day, you anal wine tasting notes demanding guy) after the kitchen profusely apologized for running out of the foie terrine.
David talked shop with us, in between pouring us wine, and we topped off the night with some absinthe service for an absinthe virgin. Church & State, thank you for always being there at 11:00pm, be it rillette or pear tarts; thank you for always coming through with delicious simple French fare, even after your head chef was AWOL for a week.
Church & State
1850 Industrial St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
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