Anniversary Weekend pt 3: Tar & Roses, Santa Monica

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We massively overdressed for this one.  I probably wouldn’t have, but Ryan wouldn’t tell me where we were going.  The people next to us were wearing jeans or running shorts.  But whatevs.  It was our anniversary, and we never dress up, so it was nice.

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We clean up nice.

Tar & Roses was effing fantastic.  Seriously, the best restaurant experience we’ve had in LA. The food was incredible, creative, and inspired, and the waiters were friendly and fun, not stuffy and distant.  They’ve won a ton of awards, especially for a restaurant that’s only a little over a year old, and they deserve a ton more.

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We had a lot of deliberation over what to order.  Ryan really wanted to get their popcorn, which is supposed to be a show stopper, but other things intrigued me more, although we’ll definitely have to do the popcorn on a future visit.

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We started with a trio from the charcuterie menu, which changes constantly, and I wish I’d remembered to take a picture.  A lot of the items sounded fantastic.  Even the cheese, and I hate cheese.

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We settled on two bruschettas–one with lemony salt cod and capers, the other loaded with duck, some kind of delicious jam, marcona almonds, and arugula–and some variation of salami.  They also threw in some housemade pickles, little toasts, and some amazing whole seed mustard that I would eat with a spoon if I’d had one.  I’d never had salt cod, but with the lemon and capers (I love capers), it was really good.  And the duck was spot on.

We also got the wood roasted english peas with mint and sea salt, which were yummy.  The wood roasting was interesting, and the peas were perfect.  You were supposed to eat them like edamame, but the shells were tender enough to eat, too.

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Those big meaty things are crispy pig tails.  I had to fight Ryan on that one.  They show up like that and I asked the waiter how to eat them.  He said “just like a chicken wing.  Pick it up and dig in.”  So we did.  They were kind of freaky because they had vertebrae, and the very end was super fatty, so we didn’t eat the massive fat bit, but the meat was really good, and oh my god, the glaze.  The menu says it was sriracha, honey, and cilantro, and jesus christ, I would bathe in it.  It was so incredibly good you could put it on toenails and I’d eat them.  And the pig skin was so incredibly and crispy and gaahhhh.  So damn good.

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That’s me in a little black dress and pearls eating crispy pig tails.  That’s how I roll.

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Sometime during the crispy pig tail party, these little ricotta gnocchis showed up.  But if I hadn’t taken a picture, I wouldn’t remember them.  They were coated in flakes of cheese, which I avoided, but the rest was good.  The sauce was yummy if cheesy (I know that’s a good thing in most people’s books), and the gnocchis themselves were perfect.  But this one didn’t wow me much, maybe just because everything else was so fantastic.

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Maybe, too, because we knew this fellow was on his way.  Behold, the shellfish pot, complete with “scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, maitake, [and] curry” according to the menu.   And two fantastic toasted pieces of crusty bread.

Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

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Everything was perfect.  And woodfired.  Those are wood fired shrimp.  And they were cooked perfectly.  Even good restaurants always seem to overcook shrimp.  And the curry.  It was multidimensional and had a little bit of heat and was so delicious.  This was an amazing dish.

ImageRyan was quite pleased.

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And it’s a shame I didn’t take a picture of the scallops, but they were works of art.  You can just see them, peeking out of the bottom layer.  So buttery and perfectly done and gorgeous.

We even did dessert.  Ryan normally balks at dessert because he’d rather eat more dinner instead of sweets, but we figured no one around would do dessert like these guys.

We were right.

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As good as I’ve now read that the strawberries are with the honeycomb ice cream, when you’re us, this dessert menu is a no brainer.  Chocolate + hazelnut +salted caramel anything = no contest.

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Ryan went to the restroom, and this showed up like 15 seconds after he left and it took all my willpower to not stuff the whole thing in my face and deny it ever arrived.  So good.  And that ice cream!  The chocolate was stiffer than a mousse, but softer than fudge, and ridiculously rich.  Mmmmm

This was how the bill showed up:

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Cute, right?  Well done, Tar & Roses.  We can’t afford to do this kind of thing except for special occasions, but I’d love to go back.  Such an awesome experience.

We didn’t want to wrap up our night, so we decided to walk down to the Santa Monica Pier. But I wanted to make a side trip.

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Seriously, how gorgeous is the new 3rd Street Promenade Apple Store?  Amazing.  And the ceiling/roof is glass, too.  It’s about four times as wide as our Century City store.  And just so incredibly beautiful.  I was sad they were closed, but even the view from outside was stunning.

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I made Ryan take a picture with me on the pier because I like pictures to remember awesome experiences, and this whole weekend was fantastic.  I’ll hazard to posit that we have at least five more years in us.

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