Wednesday, May 19, 2010

La Playita

Friday May 7th 2010
La Playita, 3306 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA

Apprehensively acting on an impulse decision to leave Sacramento en route for LA at 2 AM, we shot down I-5 in the middle of the night with a 32 year old man who has never been in possession of a valid license as our driver, while the rest of us caught up on some sleep. Arriving at 9:30 AM, clueless as to how we would kill the next 12 hours in front of us, we found ourselves being pulled in the direction of the freak magnet that is Venice Beach.
Having Recently been in the area for a wedding, Rick recognized our surroundings as we drove down the Lincoln Blvd stretch of California route 1, and remembered seeing people enjoying some type of "bloody fish drink", which we decided to seek out and try. Luckily this sign sported an unmistakable illustration of said drink and we stopped to check it out.
Seeing everyone with their murky red cocktails, vegetables and chunks of fish swirling around inside, I began to wonder if this was the right choice for first meal of the day. It was only 10AM, I hadn't even had any coffee yet, but I was definitely going to. Would coffee be a good thing to throw into the mix right after a varietal seafood morning? It certainly didn't sound like it, and to tell the truth I was becoming quite skeptical about ordering one of these things. Several times I stood at the window, ready to place my order, I'd see the guy coming over with his paper and pen, and I'd chicken out, step out of line, and resume looking at the menu, waiting for something to tell me what to do. And then I remembered the blog. I had to do it, for you, the reader. I could have walked to the Whole Foods next door, grabbed a falafel sandwich, and been like, "Today I went to Whole Foods, I had a falafel sandwich. It was good. I enjoyed it.", but that would have been total bullshit, so I sucked it up, ordered a small fish cocktail, and stood there on the sidewalk, clutching it in my hand, stirring it with my spoon.
A tentacle would pop to the surface, a chunk of avocado, a whole shrimp, a piece of crab, a blob of salsa. I took a few sips of the liquid and it was pretty nice, actually not too bad for breakfast, a tomato and vegetable based juice with a light fish flavoring. I had some spoonfulls of avocado and vegetables first before I got into the real seafood territory which I naturally had mixed feelings about.
The sight of a tentacle chunk and the texture of squid, in a drink context, that early in the day, after an all night drive, was I think just a little bit more than I had hoped to get into. A lot of the fish wasn't recognizable to me. Some of it came in sugar cube sized squares, and they all varied in consistency, certain pieces being nice and soft, others tough and chewy. I drank most of the liquid, ate the vegetables, and what I could manage of the fish, passing the rest along to our surprisingly alert driver who sat and gazed confusedly into the cup.
Instead of a drink, I would call this a chilled soup, and I probably wouldn't recommend having it first thing in the morning. I drank my coffee after this without any negative side effects, and the day more or less went in an uphill direction from there.

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