Earlier this week I came across a post on Eater LA about a Pop-Up restaurant this weekend only on Abbot Kinney. Two chefs, one from Joe’s Restaurant and one from Axe (pronounced Ah-shay), were taking over some place called Capri for the weekend and hosting a $65, eight course tasting menu. I forwarded it on to Brad. Sounded like our kinda thing.
I sort of forgot about it because Brad never read the article and basically just said, “Yeah, ok. Sure.” We both had off Friday. We love Abbott Kinney. We love new restaurants. We would probably end up going. Sure.
And then Wednesday, as we were cranking what was probably an illegal U-turn on Electric Avenue (yep, that’s a real street name and every time we drive on it I sing the song) trying to find parking for our favorite coffee shop Intelligentsia, a black SUV pulled up next to us and rolled down the window.
Kris Tominaga, who Brad knows from Joe’s Restaurant, leaned out of the car and handed Brad a flyer. We were obviously blocking traffic in so many directions, so we just exchanged a quick hello and “of course we’ll be there” before waiving our apologies to other angry drivers, completing our illegal maneuver and parking. But the flyer put two and two together. Kris was the chef from Joe’s who was hosting this pop-up this weekend, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. One example of how sometimes illegal U-turns have beautiful endings.
We called and made a reservation while waiting in line at Intelligentsia (because there is ALWAYS a line – this is part of the Intelligentsia experience), and checked out the menu. And then I rubbed it in that I was one step ahead of Brad in something having to do with restaurants for once. Boo-ya.
**Brad didn’t care. He still knew both the chefs AND the guy who answered the phone to take the reservations, so he is still exponentially cooler than me. And always will be. Damn.**
So yesterday, Brad and I had a fantastic and crafty Brad and Kelly day off (I’ll update you on the crafty projects soon!), and after a two hour long Skype call with my parents, we headed over to Venice.
Directly across the street from one of the best restaurants in the WORLD (Tasting Kitchen) and one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, if not the United States (Gjelina), Capri has never been successful. I had never heard of it, but people tell me it was over priced and always empty. Last night, as WISC, it was bustling, bright, and lively.
All white with white Christmas lights and brilliant, simply framed celebrity photographs lining the walls, it was a clean and classic atmosphere. The brown craft paper laid on top of classic white table cloths was set with mismatched china (borrowing from their neighbors across the street?) and simple kitchen towels for napkins. Mismatched chairs made it feel like a big family gathering where all the seating in the house was pulled together.
I love the feel of the ‘fancy mixed with simple’ trend going on now in restaurants. Beautiful food served on amazing dishes in an environment that feels comfortable. People want the quality of fine dining food without the air of snobbery that can come along with it. People want to feel like you are a chef inviting them into your house for a home cooked meal, not like they have to worry about which fork goes with which course. This all goes double in Venice.
Also, I love white Christmas lights. If Brad would let me, I’d have them up all around the house all year long. When we have a restaurant, believe me I will sneak in Christmas lights some way. Last night, I believe it was the Christmas lights that did me in. I knew this place was going to be awesome.
I was right. The menu was phenomenal. The food was fantastic. Our server was amazing and she told us the story behind every taste of wine and every dish she put in front of us. The wine parings were out of this world and complemented both of the dishes each taste was meant for in big, bold and different ways. Even the china was fun – we got the plate voted “Most Likely to Be Stolen By The End of the Weekend”.
Look at that ‘STACHE!!!
And then we made sure they saw that we gave it back.
For dessert, we had our second amazing biscuit of the day on Abbot Kinney (the first was a buttered quince paste biscuit for breakfast at Gjelina Take Away), and Brad said WISC’s beat out Gjelina’s hands down. I ranked them neck and neck. Buttery heaven.
As we drove back down Abbot Kinney on our way home last night, stuffed full and a little tipsy (just me), we passed the Otherroom and reminisced about my first birthday here in LA, just three days after we moved from NY to LA. A friend of mine from college met us out at the Otherroom (her suggestion, I had no idea where to go), and we began our Abbot Kinney love affair with the Mick Jagger painting that was hanging right at the entrance. That night we thought AK was a crazy little street with amazing window displays and such cool people. Almost two years later (!!!), we are still finding new and amazing places on the street and still marveling at how cool all the people are.
WISC will only be around this weekend and will reopen to occupy the Capri space again for all of December. I know for sure that Brad and I will be back as many times as we can afford to make sure that this new addition to AK sticks around into 2012.
Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, thank you for the great time and for the delicious meal and best of luck to you! We can’t wait to see you again in December!