Monday 17 September 2018

Breakfast at Republique & Exploring Venice Beach | LA Day 7

I am back in Los Angeles and 6 days of non-stop exploration, 4 of which were were spent at amusement parks, really takes a toll on you. Needless to say, it was a slow start to the morning. After spending far too long in under the shower head and sitting in front of the mirror to do my "makeup" aka eyeliner and mascara, I finally made it to Republique for an early afternoon weekday breakfast. For the first time in a very long time, I was not the person who found and suggested this restaurant. Before going on our LA trip, my friend came across this Youtube video and suggested we go there one day for breakfast! 

Just like in Seonkyoung's vlog, there was a lineup of hungry folks waiting to get inside and eat. Since we went during the weekday, the line was not as outrageous, but it still was about a 25 minute wait. Republique is housed inside a 1928 building and when Republique took over in 2012, the team worked hard to restore the original brick, tile and ironwork. The middle section where we sat was the courtyard which has since been given a glass ceiling that helps maintain the open airy feeling. 

I had the Chorizo Sopes, which comes with house-made chorizo, black beans, avocado, jalapeƱo escabeche, crema and scrambled eggs nestled on top of corn flour sort of cakes. My friend with a popular Republique dish, their Kimchi Fried Rice. The fried rice is loaded with kimchi, beef short rib, pickled radish, sesame seeds and a soft poached egg. Both of us loved the food there. The portions were big, the ingredients were fresh and packed with flavour. If I had more time, I would have come back for their weekend brunch menu as well as dinner. Republique is not just a restaurant, but also a small cafe with baked goodies that are all made fresh in house. Your girl could not resist and went ahead and ordered the Lemon Meringue Cake, a slice of the Mango Passionfruit Cream Pie and this Raspberry Matcha Almond Pastry. All three of them were YASSSSS, but if I had to pick a winner, it would be the Mango Passionfruit Pie because there were big chunks of real mango in there and the custard was silky smooth. 

On our very first day, I very briefly visited Venice Beach. I knew I needed to go back, so the rest of the day was dedicated to exploring everything Venice Beach has to offer. For shopping and food, I would say Abbot Kinney Boulevard is my jam. It is lined with independent boutiques that specialize in their own little niche. Burro is stationary and book heaven while Enda King caters the more mature hip man. Grow Venice is where you would go for your outdoor urban decor pieces aka floaties and neon lights. There were dozens of women's boutiques and specialized hand-made jewelry studios, but the shop that confused me most: Roots. I am Canadian and I love you Roots, but what the heck are you doing amongst La's hippest stores?! 

Salt & Straw is the Portland ice cream brand that has made its way down the coast to LA. They definitely deserve all the hyper because that ice cream is delicious. I went with a double scoop waffle cone. I do not remember the names of the flavours entirely, but one of them was a malt chocolate and the second had honey in it. I also tried sharing it with a cow outside - she just thought I was weird.

Aside from the shopping, Venice Beach is home to the beautiful picturesque Venice Canals. It is a 20 minute stroll from Abbot Kinney and with the help of some kind LA residents, we finally made it to the canals. It is ridiculously beautiful and I am so envious of the homeowners along the canals. The bridges over the canals are cute and some residents have little canoes and kayaks. It is evident that those living along the canals take a great deal of pride in keeping the waterways clean and I am glad that they are doing so to preserve this little gem. I would give anything to go for a paddle in the Venice Canals. 

We continued meandering along the streets in and around the Venice Canals and soon found ourselves at Venice Beach's Boardwalk, home to the one and only Muscle Beach Gym! Imagine workout machines made solely from steel and concrete smack dab in the middle of a beach. Muscle Beach Gym has been featured in countless movies. There is some rich history behind this bare bones gym. Alas, we encountered this gem near the end of the day at which point it had gotten quite windy and the sun was getting ready to dip below the horizon. I definitely want to return to Muscle Beach Gym during the day to really appreciate its full glory. 

I did not get to explore the boardwalk shops as it had gotten late in the evening. We did manage to grab the much talked about Cinnamon Bread Pudding from Espress Yo Self, a small takeout coffee window on the boardwalk. The bread pudding was served cold and was quite creamy. I personally prefer warm bread budding, but on a hot summer afternoon, this would be a great treat at the beach. 

My stomach was really starting to growl, but none of the restaurants along the beach interested me. I am glad we stopped to ask a shop associate for their dinner recommendations because they pointed us in the direction of C&O Trattoria, an Italian Restaurant with a personality too big to be contained indoors. Hence, their dining room was in an outdoor courtyard! 

Now C&O Trattoria was not in Venice Beach. It was a 15 minute walk along the beach to Marina Del Ray, the area in which the restaurant was. C&O Trattoria is known for their singing waiters and those gorgeous men did not disappoint. Everyone is given a complimentary plate of fresh out of the oven garlic knots. I scarfed them down pretty fast, but thankfully, my waiter was quick to refill them. I do not remember what I ordered that night, but I recall the portions being massive and the pasta being cooked to perfection, finished with a sauce robust in flavour. 

That was the end of my 7th day in LA. My last and final day exploring LA will be up very soon.


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