Abbot’s Pizza Company
Venice is known for its weird people, crazy artists, skaters, hippies, a carefree attitude, and most importantly: pizza. Some of the best pizza in Venice can be found only a few blocks from the beach at Abbot Kinney Boulevard and California Avenue. It’s called Abbot’s Pizza Company and it is hot, crowded and hectic. It also turns out some incredible and very innovative pizza.
When I visited Abbot’s for a few slices with my friends to take to the beach, there was a line that stretched out the door. Fortunately, it moved very quickly and we were inside the tiny, stuffy restaurant within a few minutes of getting in line. The good thing about how small it is, is that the smell of their famous bagel crust fills the entire place. The bagel crust is slightly doughier than a normal pizza crust and has poppy seeds and sesame seeds on it. We ordered slices of four different kinds of pizza.
Their plain cheese pizza is great. There’s nothing special about it, it’s just a quality piece of pizza. The second kind we got was the Popeye. It has tons of spinach on it with mushrooms and onions. There was no tomato sauce on it, which worked well with the spinach, but left it a little dry. The next slice was a Meat Eater’s. It had pepperoni, sausage and ham. There isn’t much to say about it, except that it was an exceptional slice of meat pizza, because of really good meats and of course, their delicious bagel crust. Last was the most interesting slice: the Salad Slice. This slice of pizza is completely covered in green salad with tomatoes and avocadoes with a light dressing. It’s perfect. They make the crust a little bit crispier so that the salad stays on and the salad itself, is very good. Thankfully, they put all our pizza in a box, so we could easily carry it the few blocks to the beach.
If you’re in Venice and you want some great, interesting pizza, check out Abbot’s. Abbot Kinney is a fun place to be anyway. It’s easily walking distance from the beach (it took us about five minutes) and Abbot’s has much better pizza than what’s sold on the boardwalk and it costs only a dollar or two more, ranging from two to four dollars a slice.
Abbot’s Pizza Company
1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Ice cream at MILK and Scoops
Good ice cream is probably the best thing I could ever eat. Even mediocre ice cream will satisfy just about everyone. Luckily, here in L.A., we are blessed with several exceptional ice cream shops. Milk and Scoops, which are both relatively new establishments in Los Angeles, are two of the best. Both shops make these ice cream fresh daily in the shop and have inventively delicious flavors that will consistently surprise you.
Milk, on Beverly Boulevard near La Brea, serves lunch and other food alongside their ice cream. The ice cream is made fresh by the shop’s staff. In fact, one of my friends works there, making ice cream. Although the ice cream is great, it’s what they do with it that really stands out. Like the Grasshopper—mint chip ice cream sandwiched between two macaroons and dipped halfway in chocolate. The cookie is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, a perfect compliment to the smooth ice cream. They also have great floats, like one with black cherry soda. Try it with vanilla ice cream.
Milk is owned by Bret Thompson, a well-known chef and restaurateur. His shop is on a corner and has outside tables on the sidewalk, a slightly fancier crowd than Scoops and is slightly more expensive. A scoop is $3.25.
Scoops is a little out of the way for me, but it’s completely worth it. It’s in a very cool neighborhood east of Hollywood near L.A. City College. There are bike shops and tattoo parlors everywhere. The only thing conservative about Scoops is that they serve ice cream and ice cream only. The flavors, however, are far from the classics and are constantly changing. When I was there, the flavors ranged from mocha Oreo to Guinness tiramisu to cocoa-tea-hemp oil (I don’t even know what that means).
Before I decided on anything, I had to try a few. I asked for samples of goat cheese fig, salty chocolate and brown bread—which is a mixture of vanilla ice cream, caramel and Grape Nuts cereal. They were obviously all just made; they weren’t nearly as solid as store-bought ice cream and still had some of the custard like feel of pre-frozen ice cream. And they were truly works of art in their taste. When I put the salty chocolate in my mouth, there was an immediate overpowering taste of salt, which slowly died down to reveal a rich chocolate with mere hints of salt. The brown bread was better developed in texture than in taste, and that’s saying something since it was so delicious. It was perfectly crunchy from the grape nuts, which contrasted with the creamy—almost runny—ice cream. However, the crowning jewel was the one I chose —the goat cheese fig, and I don’t even like figs. It drew the perfect amount of creaminess from the cheese, but still managed to leave only undertones of cheesy flavor. The fig brought on an irresistible sweetness and completed the flavor.
We asked the owner how he comes up with ideas for flavors. He told us that he’s been doing it for a long time and he gets suggestions from customers, so if you ever have a crazy idea for an ice cream flavor, pass it on to Scoops.
Scoops is inexpensive: $2 for a single scoop and worth a trip even if you don’t live close.
7290 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 939 6455
Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to midnight
712 N Heliotrope Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Monday-Saturday noon to 10 p.m.
Sunday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Kogi Korean BBQ
The “roach coach,” a medium of food delivery usually reserved for greasy tacos and construction workers’ lunches has now spread to delicious gourmet meals served. The food ranges from ice cream sandwiches to vegan sausages to food between two rice buns. But, by far the most popular are the Kogi Korean BBQ trucks.
Kogi trucks serve food that fuses the cuisines of Korea and Mexico. There are tacos, burritos, sliders and taquitos all filled with ingredients that are traditionally found in a Korean restaurant: BBQ short ribs, kimchi and tofu. Fusion food is a tricky thing to pull off successfully, but Kogi manages it. The tacos (served in traditional corn tortillas), their most popular item, are perfectly crafted to give the essence of Korean cooking through short ribs barbequed in a traditional Korean style and topped with a cabbage relish bursting with flavor and yet light enough to balance the heavy short ribs. It’s very Korean food and yet one is still reminded of a taco. If you want really strong flavor, try the kimchi quesadilla. The pungent, spicy Korean pickled cabbage permeates the thin tortilla and cheese.
Kogi also maintains a sense of mystery by not staying in one place. By posting on their website where the truck will be only up to a week in advance, they manage to create hype that attracts people from all over the city. It also means that if you want Kogi, you probably won’t have to travel far. They have three trucks and one of them is likely to be somewhere near you. I’ve caught the trucks at Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Palms Boulevard and at Pico Boulevard and La Brea Boulevard. Compared to most taco trucks, their tacos are slightly overpriced at $2, but they are also using very different and very fresh ingredients.
To find a truck go to kogibbq.com.