Friday Night on Abbot Kinney

IMG00220-20110904-1632My good friend Nichole and fellow recent SELF blogger texted me on Friday morning saying she was going to be on Abbot Kinney on Friday night sampling her chocolates.  If you haven’t tried Nicobella’s chocolates you are missing out.  Her new line of “Munch” is amazing and a great little treat with nice variations from regular dark chocolate.

After a long week I figured a stroll on Abbot Kinney might be a great retreat.  Little did I know practically the entire city of Los Angeles would be spending their Friday evening on Abbott Kinney.  Parking was challenging, and even walking on the sidewalk was a bit hard to navigate with the crowds – a bit reminiscent of Disneyland on the 4th of July.

The plethora of food trucks and their various cuisines are on both sides of the street with everything from pizza, to cupcakes, burritos, and every kind of ethnic food.

After visiting with Nicole and of course getting a bite of her chocolates we decided to have dinner.  Although the food trucks were tempting I really wanted to sit down and have a date night with Jeffrey.

Axe with chef Joanna Moore just reopened after being closed for renovations.  I wanted to do a review for my clean eating restaurant blog since they offer many options. 

At 8:15 we tried to get a table and although several tables were open they told us it would be 10 pm before something opened up or just 45 minutes for a seat at the bar which was not an option given our level of hunger.

We then walked down the street and went into Hals.  I have not been there for years and although they were extremely busy they found a quieter table in their upstairs room and were very accommodating.

Hal’s is not a clean eating restaurant but they certainly have many choices.  I decided I wanted to stick as closely to my usual routine but maybe splurge a bit.

Protein choices were limited since they don’t have grass-fed meat or Jidori chicken.  They had one wild fish entrée but Jeffrey and I were sharing and he was not in the mood for seafood.

IMG00210-20110902-2052 I chose the Manuel’s salad, which had endive, mixed greens, goat cheese, grapefruit and walnuts.  It had a beautiful presentation and was very tasty.

Jeffrey wanted one of their small gourmet pizzas.  One had goat cheese and olives and another had heirloom tomatoes and lamb (which is normally grass-fed).  He asked our waiter Jose which he would recommend and he said “why don’t I see if you can have ½ and ½ so you can try them both.”  I thought that was a very patron-friendly suggestion.

Unfortunately Jose came back and said the kitchen would not do that but insisted he would bring both pizzas since he felt bad about the suggestion.  Hal’s gets high marks for their waiter Jose.

The 2 other menu items we selected were the squash blossoms with ricotta and a small side of the polenta.  Hal’s used to have this side of polenta years ago and then took it off the menu so I wanted to try it again given I have good memories of it.

 Both pizzas had lots of protein.  I ate ½ of a slice of crust and then the top of the rest and the top of one other slice.  I had one squash blossom, which was a little soggy for me.  I had a few bites of the polenta, which was amazing but can be addicting.

 Manuel Mares, the chef at Hal’s, does a great job with coupling flavors and concepts, giving a nice balance of taste.

 Not the most high protein meal (a splurge like I said) but shows you can navigate a menu and have some protein and a little extra carbs and be okay.  I was not bloated the next day so it worked and showed there was not too much salt in anything.

 If you want an adventurous Friday evening head out to Abbot Kinney for numerous food options and people watching.  If you want a “scene” you won’t be disappointed.