Summertime is my favorite time! Ice cream, bbq, watermelon, avocado, popsicles, berries, peaches, so many beautiful delicious things flourish this season! My favorite thing to do in the summer is take a sort of mini staycation to one of LA many beach cities. By mini, I mean spend the day, but that’s not really the point. It FEELS like a vacation, and that’s what’s really important. Granted here in LA it’s pretty much always summer (weather wise), but there is something very calming about spending a leisurely brunch just a few steps from the beach on a lazy July afternoon. Here are a few of my favorite summer morning hangouts.
New to the brunch scene is Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt. Love & Salt describes itself as an Italian restaurant with a California soul. The restaurant itself is a beautifully simplistic modern space that feels beachy without being obvious about it. The space is relaxing enough as it is, but coupled with ample sharing sized portions truly encourages a leisurely experience. The three of us ordered entirely too much food (as usual), but didn’t seem to even dent the list of items we wanted to order. The meal began with the Smoked Fish Board which is served with 4 separate fish preparations including smoked salmon, trout served 2 ways, and a whitefish spread. The board is served with mini bagels and whipped cream cheese all served on a longboard looking platter. The board alone was probably more than enough food, but we have abyss like stomachs so we had to add five more menu items to our order. Other favorites included the Crispy Fingerling Potatoes served with a buttermilk aioli, the Duck Egg Pizza with pancetta, panna, potato, rosemary and parmesan, toasted zucchini bread with house made strawberry jam, and the warm cinnamon coffee cake with whipped crème fraiche. We also tried the Ricotta Pancakes, though I would recommend skipping them as the ricotta inside was served a bit too runny for our liking. Manhattan Beach certainly has plenty of terrific brunch and lunch spots including my previous favorite Manhattan Beach Post, along with Fishing With Dynamite, Little Sister, The Stand House, and nearby Abigaile in Hermosa Beach but there was something about Love & Salt that felt like a true getaway.
For a more unique beach day I often spend my mornings at Superba Food + Bread in Venice. While Superba’s 2nd restaurant is very different than the Rose Ave. Snack Bar it’s equally enjoyable. Superba Food + Bread is another airy open space that I would be happy living in a cardboard box on their patio…well this is Venice so maybe let’s say an organic cotton reclaimed wood hand crafted custom tee-pee. It is nearly impossible to keep the drool from rolling down your chin as you peruse the pastry case (which I encourage you do prior to ordering.)
My favorite item from Superba is the Kouignamann (pronounced queen-ah-mahn) which is a sort of like croissant cake coated in butter and caramelized sugar. Yes it’s as delicious as it sounds. The only problem is it’s only available at 11am and is usually sold out shortly after. The other issue is when I do finally get one, I inhale it far too quickly to take a picture, so you’re just going to have to believe me that it is a thing of beauty. The Everything Croissant is yet another impressive pastry from Superba. The Everything Croissant captures the flavors of the classic everything bagel but combines it with a croissant filled with chunks of cream cheese topped with black and white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, onion, black pepper, and sea salt. Because I have to pretend I don’t just eat pastries for breakfast I often order the Avocado Toast. While avocado toast is definitely oversaturating the foodisphere, especially in LA, this is one of my favorites because it isn’t just some avocado on toast that I can make at home. This in-house fresh baked toast is covered in pickled fresno chilies, radish sprouts, and cilantro which all add a different level of flavor and interest to the regular old avocado toast. The toasts and pastries are definitely the way to go here, though the egg dishes and pretty solid as well, please skip their grain hotcakes which are healthy-ish pancakes a.k.a not good…you just don’t mess with pancakes people. Other Venice (or Venice ajcent) brunch favorites to enjoy on a sunny beach day include Gjusta, Gjelina, Salt Air, Scopa, Café Buna, and Tasting Kitchen.