Monday, December 21, 2009

I heart my adopted neighborhoods

I live in an affordable part of town that isn't exactly a neighborhood, it's in between a bunch of freeways. So I've adopted a few nearby neighborhoods and was thinking this weekend how I love the restaurants and business and feel the need to share.
Let's start with Northpark at Zensei sushi. Ridiculously yummy fish and super nice people. We go there every week - it's that good. Then right around the corner there's Sea Rocket Bistro which features local fish and has yummy vegetarian entrees, a beer lover's selection of brews, and little plates with tastes of food for only $2. We watched Christmas Vacation (who doesn't love a little Chevy Chase for the holidays?) as we ate dinner at Sea Rocket's movie night (thursdays) last week. Then onto Linkery which is a meat lover and beer drinker's heaven (I don't usually eat meat but the few vegetarian things they have on the menu are very good). They also do the local food thing.
Then onto Hillcrest where I had the best time on Sunday. In addition to the cactus for the backyard, asparagus, apple cider, and curry flavored hummus, I picked up a christmas present and a most amazing belt. The belt was handmade by Chi Stylez and is super stylin and is flat because it snaps instead of buckles (say goodbye to the buckle lump - I just lost 3 lbs by buying this belt). I can't stop raving about how cool this is - it's beyond me in coolness - I'm going to have to work on upgrading my style to keep up with it.
Then the present (which was the reason I went to the market in the first place). There was this barley wine the man enjoyed a few months ago but just couldn't part with the cool-looking empty bottle. So BottleHood reworked it for me into a pencil holder. Check out the other stuff they make on etsy - old bottles to vases, drinking glasses, candle holders... I'm all in on upcycling. Last night I spent 20 minutes looking through our liquor collection thinking "if I just finish the bailey's that's a bottle we could do something with", "there's not very much tequila left...", etc. Drinking for the sake of upcycling? Things could be worse.
Then over in Normal Heights there's Tao, a restuarant that serves yummy Asian food, with a specialties of fresh made tofu. It's tiny and Saturday night we gladly put our name on the list for a table. As there's no space to wait inside, they called us when the table was ready, and in the meantime we just had to go over to the Irish bar across the street. If you're not into Irish bars, LeStats (a coffee shop that often has live music performances) is also across the street. Tao is the kind of place that gives you a little salad before and scoop of ice cream after your meal, included. And the chef has come out to say hello to us and ask how the meal was every time I've been there.
As you can tell, I just love small restaurants. I'm so spoiled from going to these little places with super nice staff, that I feel kind of weird going to a "regular" restaurant where no one talks to me. At Zensei, everyone who works there says good night to me when I leave, and it seems like that's the way things should be.

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