Yes, the Westside is far for us Eastsiders, but Venice is one of those cool towns that is always worth going to. This last Friday was the first Friday of the month and you know what that means, First Fridays in Venice on Abbott Kinney. Abbott Kinney is not just the main drag in Venice it was also the name of the founder of the city who wanted to make the city a cultural center with art, food, and interesting people. If you have ever seen the Venice canals, that was created because he was modeling the city after Venice, Italy. This particular Friday was pouring. Josie was at a Lakers game and I was catching up with one of my favorite college friends, Nora. We made it out to the event at around 9pm. The official hours of First Fridays is 6pm to 10pm and all of the art galleries, bars, and restaurants are filled with locals getting to know the businesses. It may have been raining but there was no parking in sight. When we finally stopped, we needed a drink badly. We went to the Otheroom, where I have been once before with Nora. After that I was starving and I knew that there was a parking lot filled with food trucks nearby. We downed a drink and headed over. I was thrilled to see the Border Grill truck there, not just because I wanted to try it but also because my Pasadena food blogging friend Hot Pink Manolos was working it. I recently told her via Twitter that I missed her and she said the gourmet taco truck consumes most of her life now. This fact used to make me sad until I tried the food, now I want to her to keep on doing what she is doing.
Nora got a carne asada taco and I had the ceviche and the famous BG lemonade that I have downed at one too many events after a lot of adult drinking. Christina told me to poke the top with my straw like you would with boba. I had a funny flashback in my mind of doing such an act. A year or so ago I was deathly ill (I am a bit dramatic with illness) after 2 days of not leaving the house I decided to venture out to my favorite mall, the one in Arcadia. I bought a milk tea boba and then I thought to myself that my favorite part about boba is the insertion of the straw. At the time I was feverish and somehow poured the entire boba drink down my shirt. I left the mall in tears as clearly I was still too sick to be around the healthy people that know that a cup has to be help upwards instead of facing down while they are daydreaming. Clearly my mind, even at a normal temperature, is a wandering one. Let’s get back to the first Friday and my BG food. The ceviche was served in a corn cone that was then covered in a paper cone. The fish was very good quality and there were pickled onions on top, I wholeheartedly believe that everything should be pickled. In order to not eat our food with raindrops we headed into Nora’s car for comfort. I am sensitive to salt so the dish was too salty for me. Josie normally puts a ton of salt and lemon on everything and proclaims it is because she is Mexican. I understand the lemon element but the salt part is difficult for me to grasp. As a kid, I always loved those frozen ice cream cones with the hard chocolate on the bottom that fills the last triangle of the cone. When I got to the end of this cone I noticed a similiar thing, but this one had black beans at the bottom. When I discovered this part the whole dish totally came together. I mixed it up and it was a buffer not only for the bottom of the cone but also for the salt that was overpowering the dish for me. The truth of the matter is that I say everything is too salty, but this was really great. Josie would tell me, “You aren’t Mexican, you don’t understand.” That is probably true. I will totally seek out this truck again, plus I think it may be the only way I can see my friend HPM again.
After we were done eating and the car smelled profusely of onions. I recommended we head to a bar in Venice that I heard about only that day. All I knew about this bar was that the bartenders wore naughty nurse outfits and it was in Venice. I asked my Twitter friends and FoodforFel and CitizenRobot came to my rescue in telling me the name of the bar was the Good Hurt. I am an overly dramatic hypocondriac neurotic Jewish woman, so it is safe to say I love going to the doctor. Despite never actually having anything wrong with me I can talk about my ailments for days and I love that my particular doctor indulges me by letting me be tested for everything. A hospital themed bar is right up my alley. The bartenders were hot and well, “Hello Nurse.” My biggest complaint with this establishment was that they only served beer, wine, vodka, and tequila. What, no whiskey? Let me go to what is right with this bar: big booths, pool tables, interesting music acts (Seeing Thingz was playing that night) and my favorite part was the lollipop jars at every table. It was the strangest most awesome bar I have ever been to; my mind was blown.
If the purpose of First Fridays is to get to know Venice better, then it completely succeeded. Sure I like the Otheroom and the other main establishments on the main drag that are hip and interesting but my style is a little more off the beaten path. I was born and raised in Santa Cruz where there are very few chains allowed in and a movement of activists and bumper stickers that say, “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.” As much as I have come to love well crafted cocktails, drive-thrus, and menus where everything taste just as you imagine it, there is something to be said for these unique finds that make a city so interesting. Thank god for Abbott Kinney and recognizing the need for cultural pockets long before every city was cookie cutter.