Hi all, Casey here. So one good thing that I would like to interject regarding the weddings and all, is the food. We watch a lot of Top Chef and Food Network (not that we are going to get all pretentious and call ourselves foodies or anything) so we get all kinds of crazy ideas about food in our heads. And one of the best things about a wedding* is having an excuse to try all the tasty things we see on TV. For instance, prior to the wedding we are going to have a rehearsal. And after the rehearsal apparently it is customary to have a dinner. And we couldn't just take our friends and family in the wedding party to an untested venue of questionable quality, could we?* Therefore we have taken it upon ourselves to scour the fine city of LA for reputable dining establishments in which to sup.
We began our culinary adventure at The Abbey in West Hollywood. The attendees were Janine, her mom Anna, her uncle Frank and myself. The Abbey is housed in a wonderful red brick building on Robertson just South of Santa Monica blvd. The decor is eclectic and charming with touches of religious iconography but still a bit of edge to it since it is a club and bar as well as a restaurant.*
Given that much of their business comes from the bar/club aspect, I was not expecting that much of the food. It is pretty centrally located in WeHo and so I thought that they would do more than enough business on drinks and the nightclub scene such that the food would be an after thought. The menu seemed to enforce my initial impression as it looked like dressed up bar food with items such as burgers, nachos, burritos and some salads. Mind you, from the TV I had learned that high end food had to have ingredients like cardamom and currant gelee. Here, I saw none of that.
We ordered drinks which included a key lime martini and a mango mojito, both of which were very well done. The mojito I was particularly surprised at since I don't normally like mango. On top of the drinks we got the nachos and calamari as appetizers. Well actually we got the "Abbey Nachos Supremacy" and calamari as appetizers. The calamari was good and had a light breading that was not oily like some can get and the nachos were exceptional. Even though they just consisted of tortilla chips, melted cheese, salsa, guacamole and meat, much like every other serving of nachos made since time began, they stood out from the hundreds of other nachos I had eaten mainly due to the high quality ingredients and the well thought out execution. Everything melded together well without being a soggy mess. The cheese and toppings were well distributed, not merely piled on top. All in all a very good start to the meal and a good step toward changing my initial suspicions about the food.
In light of the success with the nachos I decided to follow a similar vein for the main course and ordered "the Abbey Big one," which is a giant burrito stuffed with beef, cheese, black beans and rice, served with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. So again not reinventing the wheel but once again crafting it with high end ingredients and skill. It was quite big and so I had to eat it with a knife and fork, but it did not fall apart and all of the flavors still hung together well. Usually I don't like rice in burritos because it tends to dry them out but here the rice was moist and had absorbed some of the steak flavor of the beef so that it blended harmoniously.
Janine ordered their Southern Fried Chicken salad and enjoyed it as well. It was also of a formidable size and so I had to help some with the finishing of it. Frank had a chicken quesadilla and Anna had a salad.
All in all the dishes were all excellent and by the end everyone was so stuffed they had no room for dessert. And yet we ordered dessert anyway. We had to think of our future guests after all. What if we chose this as the location for our rehearsal dinner and everyone ate all the excellent food only to be accosted by a less than acceptable dessert leaving a bad taste in their mouths for the entire remainder of the wedding celebration? Why some of them may leave and never speak to us again. And so we bravely soldiered on.* We could not decide between the Oreo cheesecake or the Raspberry cheesecake so we ordered both and shared. They were both creamy and decadent without being too heavy and made an excellent end to the meal.
Overall I was delightfully surprised and felt this was a good start to our search. The food was great and the establishment was chic* yet fun. The only thing I can think of that may discount it by the end is the food and style may not be in keeping with the look and menu we go with for the rest of the wedding, but all of that can be decided later as we have more gloriously appetizing adventures awaiting us in the near future.
To Be Continued...
*I mean aside from the whole looking forward to spending the rest of my life with my beautiful and charming best friend. Obviously that goes without saying ... till I just said it. So. There you go. Now we are all on the same page.
* It was rhetorical but sounded odd without an answer so that is why I provided an answer down here. Aren't these footnotes helpful?*
*Also rhetorical but the answer would be 'yes' and yes this is a footnote on a footnote. (and this is a footnote explaining that. Which would make it a footnote^3. Try and keep up.)
*This maybe the definition of the word "chic" and I could use that word here to describe the decor. Though I am not 100% sure that is in fact the definition, so on second thought I am not going to use that word. Forget that you saw it there.
*Eating dessert when you actually full is not in truth one of the primary duties of a soldier. It is used here metaphorically.*
*This footnote is not as strong as the others but I hadn't used one in a while and didn't want you to think I had forgotten about them. They can't all be winners.
* I went ahead and used it.