In operation since 1944, The Venice Whaler previously had a reputation as a slightly dumpy restaurant on the water in Venice. Recently, Mike Dobson completed a total overhaul of the restaurant to bring it in line with other eateries in Venice and Marina del Rey. Chef Nick Liberato also modernized the menu with several fresh takes on classics and dishes inspired by other cuisines from around the world. Some of the new menu highlights include the tuna poke and the shrimp rolls served on brioche. Another exciting dish is the hangover lettuce wrap, which combines slab bacon, chicharrones, guacamole, and yuzu kosho aioli.
Mike Dobson enlisted Kelly Patry, known for her work at Seven Grand and Honeycut, to redesign the space. The Venice Whaler now has a more modern feel that still gives a nod to classic beachside architecture. The restaurant also boasts ample bar space, including a wonderful outdoor area that overlooks the beach.
Anthony Settecase helped re-imagine the bar menu with some creative cocktails, such as the Moscow Whale, which combines ginger beer, Angostura, citrus-ginger syrup, and either vodka or bourbon. The bar also features 13 beers on tap, including several craft brews.
Orange County boasts a number of traditional breakfast spots where diners can find excellent egg concoctions, along with bacon, sausage, pancakes, and waffles. In addition to these eateries, however, the area also has some of the most unusual breakfast joints in the country. For example, Champion Food Co. transforms from a boba shop into a Chinese breakfast eatery during the morning hours. The restaurant churns out unique menu items, such as salty crullers that diners dip into steaming soymilk, and a hybrid sandwich-taco stuffed with shredded beef and scallions. Another popular dish is the ci fan tuan, a glutinous rice burrito with pork rousong.
At Anepalco’s, Chef Danny Godines pulls from Mexican, Spanish, French, and American traditions for excellent, high-concept breakfast dishes. Some sure winners at the restaurant include the huevos rancheros and the huevos divorceados, which combines a green and red sauce with over-easy eggs, fried tortillas, and cheese.
Trieu Chau serves traditional Vietnamese and Cambodian breakfasts, which typically involve noodle soups. Starting at 7 a.m., the restaurant begins service of dishes like Chao Chow noodle soup, which boasts shrimp, liver, fish cake, fish balls, ground pork, and slices of roast pork and duck in a deep, golden broth.
A popular dish from Southeast China, Hainan chicken has become ubiquitous in Southeast Asia and many parts of the United States. The dish includes chicken steamed with scallions, sesame oil, and fresh ginger over rice seasoned with peanut oil, shallots, and chicken broth. Several different sauces may accompany the dish, depending on the restaurant. The most common sauce ingredients include soy sauce, garlic, scallions, and/or chili oil.
In Los Angeles, Savoy Kitchen serves perhaps the best rendition of Hainan chicken, which comes on the bone and with three different dipping sauces. Tasty Choice is also known for its Hainan chicken. The restaurant offers a huge serving size complemented by pickled vegetables and a braised egg.
For the most visually appealing Hainan chicken, diners should go to Green Zone, an organic Asian fusion restaurant. The dark, boneless meat is from organic chicken, and the rice comes spiked with a deep lemongrass flavor. Tasty Garden, a Hong Kong-style cafe, serves a very simple version of Hainan chicken that explodes with flavor, especially when diners use the minced garlic and scallion condiment served on the side.