Made in the US of A

We had dinner here Saturday nightwith some friends who live in the valley. We decided to meet halfway and Davenport's seemed to be precisely at the halfway mark in Encino. The entrance is beautifully lit and the restaurant is pretty inside. There is a little weird placement of booths up at the front but other than that, the design is well-thought out.

We started with a wonderful rose, Whispering Angel, which is one of my favorites. The cornbread muffins were a surprising element in the bread basket. We also had the chopped wedge salad with gem lettuce, tomato, egg, Point Reyes blue cheese (my favorite!), red onion, bacon, and buttermilk dressing. My salad came out all wrong, and was a bit of a mess. One of our guests ordered the salad modified, and our server mistakenly modified all the rest. The salad was lacking in flavor and presentation. The shaved prime rib French dip sandwich was served with whipped horseradish and two guests proclaimed it to be "fine."We also had the blackened salmon and spinach salad with egg, mushrooms, tomato, and bacon. We ordered the Parmesan crusted boneless chicken breast but ended up with the rotisserie chicken that was flavorless and very boney. I'm not sure what the mess up was in the kitchen, but it seemed like every other dish that came out was wrong. We might go back to try Davenport's again, but as of now, I wouldn't recommend!

We just dined at one of the most iconic eateries in LA...Dear John's. Open since 1962, by actor Johnny Harlow, Dear John's was an ideal place to catch a good meal right down the street from Sony. The place soon became a watering hole for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Now, Dear John's is an updated version of its best self courtesy of Hans Rockebwagner and chef Josh Citrin.(Melisse, Charcoal, Dave's Doghouse, and Coast)

Tonight we had the lovely Alison as our server. We had a dry Chardonnay and a strong margarita to start things off. Both were outstanding! We started with the cheesy garlic bread which was crispy and delicious! Don't miss this! We had the Caesar salad for two which is made table side and was fantastic! For dinner we had the gorgeous rack of lamb which was a hearty portion, and the Sand Dabs in a lemon butter sauce. We also loved the German potatoes with garlic and onion.

Service was impeccable and friendly and we'll definitely be back!

Dear John's 11208 Culver Blvd. Culver City.  Reserve through Resy-it's a must! Bar Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 5:30pm-12am Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm-2:00am Kitchen:Tuesday-Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Rustic Canyon...where have we been? I cannot believe that we have been to all of your other family restaurants and just tonight tried yours for the first time! It certainly won't be our last either! Get ready to enjoy the ever changing menu of Farmer's Market inspired dishes. We had the pleasure of having Ferdinando Mucerino as our sommelier for the evening and his wonderful recommendations made our entire evening amazing Everything from the wine to the dessert was fantastic and we can't wait to return. Tonight for food, we had the Milo & Olive warm ciabatta with organic butter and olive oil. My husband proclaimed it the best bread ever! We also had the Empire apples with cheddar. The tartness of the empire apples and the sharpness of the cheese worked so well together. We also had a delicious salad with a few different fresh lettuces and homemade dressing. We enjoyed the roasted chicken with the honey sauce. The sauce was one of the best we've eaten and chicken was juicy and flavorful. The hangar steak was tender and juicy and my husband enjoyed it immensly. For dessert we had the lemon tart and the honeycomb ice cream. The tart was like a creme brûlée and lemon mixed together. The ice cream was undeniably the best I've ever had. Let's get back to the wine though. We had the Albariño which was fantastic. We also sampled the Kientzler (which is now my favorite) and the Chateau Myrat Sauternes after dinner. Needless to say, the wine list is impeccable and very well thought out. The service is outstanding and the atmosphere welcoming. We can now add Rustic Canyon to our list of favorites!

Rustic Canyon 1119 Wiltshire Blvd. Santa Monica

Hours: M-Thurs: 5:30-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-11pm. Sun: 5:30-10:30pm

If you find yourself on Balboa Island, as we frequently do, you must stop in at our favorite eatery, Wilma's Patio, right on Marine Avenue. If the owner, Sheri, is there, make sure to say hello. Wilma was Sheri's mom, and now Sheri runs Wilma's. Needless to say, she's doing a fabulous job. The small patio is perfect for a nice sunny day on the island and your pooch will like it too! Service is so polite and friendly, that you'll feel like a local in no time.

Now here is the hard part...ordering. Everything on the menu is good so try to find what you're really in the mood for. We love breakfast, but we equally love lunch here. For breakfast, we love the pancakes, waffles, and French toast. They all come with syrup and whipped butter and are homemade and delicious! The Mexican egg dishes are creative and filling too. We especially love the Eggs Benedict with ham. For lunch we always get the meatloaf sandwich which I have dubbed, "the best in the west!" It's made with Wilma's own recipe and served warm on Parmesan grilled sourdough with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. The bread alone is so good that I could eat an entire loaf. The cottage fries are terrific too. I also love the burgers here. The bacon cheddar with strips of thick-sliced bacon and thousand island is awesome. My husband loves the prime rib dip and the hearty onion soup. You'll be hard pressed to find a better menu on the island. We love you Wilma's!

Wilma's Patio 203 Marine Avenue Newport Beach (949)675-5542

 

Every once in a while, I come across a new restaurant that I just have to rave about! Birdie G's is it for me! We went on a rainy Saturday night last week to the Bergamot Station section of Michaigan Avenue in Santa Monica to find this jewel of a restaurant. Despite the crowd, we were seated immediatly at our reservation time. Let me tell you a little bit about the wonderful supper and cocktails, and also about the history of Birdie G's. Chef Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon and Tallula's-two of our favorite places) works magic for starters! The restaurant gets its name from Jeremy Fox-Birdie is his daughter, and the G stands for Gladys, his grandmother. The menu is good-sized and the food comforting and delicious.Local ingredients are used in all of the dishes and most dishes have a story behind them. The dining room and bar are both beautiful and functional and the service is top-notch. We had the pleasure of meeting Charity Sanchez, the manager, who made our visit even more special and welcoming!

We had the most wonderful Italian Brut Rosato to begin our meal. Then we ordered the Heirloom Cucumbers to start. This vegan, gluten-free starter was accompanied by a dill pickle dressing that was the perfect combination of tanginess and crispness. We also could not pass up the Matzo Ball Soup which is probably the best you'll ever have! (Sorry moms and grandmas!) Carrots, carrot miso, dill, and chicken broth surround the light, fluffy perfect matzo ball. We could have ordered another, it was that good! The Summer Tomatoes and Burrata with fermented tomato vinaigrette, basil, capers, and cantabrian anchovies was fantastic. I may or may not have shared any of it. Don't pass up the Dungeness Crab-Prawn Cake either! The Potatoes O' Brien, tartar sauce, and Birdie Bay, are just the icing on the cake. These crabcakes are playing in the big leagues! We also had the Jeremiah's Wood-Grilled Chicken. The chicken was moist and flavorful. The tropical sauce on the side is so good and full of pineapple, that I could have eaten a bowlful! As if that wasn't enough, of course we had to have the Sugar Cream Pie and the Rose Petal Pie. The Sugar Cream Pie was a creme brulee-type pie that melts in your mouth. The Rose Petal Pie is one of the most wonderful, creative desserts that I've come across! The pretzel crust is so good, I'd eat it alone...at every meal. The raspberry, strawberry, rose and hibiscus just add to the party in your mouth. I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough! It's fantastic and we can't wait to go back!

Birdie G's 2421 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica (310) 310-3616 Reservations are a must. Hours: Sun-Thurs: 5-10PM, Fri-Sat: 5-11PM.

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