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Jun 1, 2012 06:41 PM

Update: Ended up at Waterloo & City (Was: Stuck near Centinela/Jefferson area, best place for good drinks and comfort food?)

No idea if this live real time request will work but my wife and I are without both kids but have to stay around the Culver City/Westchester area (I think that's where we are) for the next 1.5 hours, since traffic makes it impossible to travel further. Need suggestions for a place with great cocktails and good comfort food in the area.

Update: Ended up at Waterloo & City. New for me but wife's been. I'll try a bit of live blogging here. For drinks, I'm having an O'Hara's Irish Stout, which is rather smooth and mild compared to Guinness or Murphy's (or the Young's Double Chocolate Stout I had at Father's Office a while back). Mrs. PeterCC is having a "Westside" (gin, peaches, mint, lemonade).

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    1. re: bulavinaka

      Go now - it's small and gets very crowded... Head west on Jefferson, which merges with Culver - it's on the right side, by Prince of Wales. Should take you no more than five minutes from Centinela and Jefferson... Good luck!

      1. re: bulavinaka

        Thanks for being on the ball, bulavinaka. Traffic was really frustrating me so we ended up at Waterloo and City. Just ordering now. Will keep Tripel in mind for the future.

        1. re: PeterCC

          Waterloo & City is very good. The charcuterie items are our favorite, very good drinks of all sorts, beet salad is standard at most places but we like it here as well, brussels sprouts and bacon is a natural, sticky toffee pudding hits the spot esp. if you're still drinking a stout. Sounds like you got seated no problem - you're already ahead of the game, especially on a Friday night...

          1. re: bulavinaka

            We squeezed into the last two seats at the bar. Pictures and descriptions of what we ate forthcoming.

            No dessert for us at W&C, as, when we were stuck in traffic earlier, I had spied a sign for Hotcakes Bakes (with a proclamation that it was a winner of Cupcake Wars), so it became a mandatory pre-dinner stop for my wife.

            1. re: PeterCC

              The cupcake that won them that title is the tres leches/spicy mango/horchata cupcake. Very unique in the cupcake battles, interesting flavors, you'll probably either like or... I think the sticky toffee might be more memorable - with a stout... :P

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Well, unfortunately, we had already bought the cupcakes by the time we got to W&C, so dessert wasn't even on our radar when we finished our meal, and I didn't see your recommendation in time. :-( Next time!

                My wife picked up a box of 12 assorted mini-cupcakes, including the winning tres leches flavor. She also got this decadent square of salted caramel, which was a 3" x 4" piece of shortbread with a centimeter-thick layer of salted caramel on it. I don't even like sweets and I had to have a bite of that.

    2. As I said in the OP, we ended up at Waterloo & City for dinner tonight, at the bar. My wife enjoyed her Westside, as did I with my stout, during our meal.

      My wife had the Spring Onion Soup, Truffle Gruyere, Brioche Crouton, and the Zucchini Blossom & Oregon Bay Shrimp Fritters, Piri Piri Hot Sauce. The soup was more cheesy than I expected, but the flavor of truffles really came through. I'd probably try it again in the future. The fritters were more a hybrid of tempura and beer-battered, but held on to more oil than I'd prefer. The piri piri hot sauce was pretty hot, but the heat left the palate quickly. It was decent dish, but heavier than I expected, and I probably wouldn't order it myself.

      (The fritters actually just made me really want to try Shunji's shrimp-stuffed zucchini blossoms, which I've seen many times but never had.)

      I ordered the Pig Trotters, Sweetbread, and Salsa Verde (the bartender clarified that the dish was a terrine, though it does not state so on the menu) and the Smoked Eel & Foie Gras Terrine, Piccalilli, Soy Gastrique, Brioche.

      The trotters and sweetbread terrine had a wonderful mixture of flavors and textures. The outside of the slice was wrapped in a dry-cured ham like prosciutto or jamón serrano, and it was draped with a single delicately-salted strip of anchovy. The trotter pieces were smoky and tender, and the chunks of sweetbread were delicate and creamy. (Speaking of Shunji, the sweetbreads were not unlike the shirako I had there last month.) The salsa verde was pesto-like in consistency and had a rich smokiness.

      On the same plate, I also found a pickled(?) pepper [insert "Peter Piper" jokes here], with crunchy seeds that reminded me of whole-grain mustard. If anyone can identify it for me (it was the size, shape, and color of a green manzanillo olive, which was what I first mistook it for, with a straight stem), I'd be in your debt.

      The smoked eel & foie gras terrine really surprised me. I was expecting it to pack a bolder punch, but it was milder than I expected, in a good way. The eel was lightly smoked and the soy gastrique was luckily nothing like the thick, cloyingly sweet sauce that's slathered on unagi in sushi restaurants everywhere. The foie was delicately pungent and very tender. The terrine was dotted with generous chunks of both, and the sweet-tartness of the piccalilli brought it all together.

      I'm very glad my wife suggested W&C tonight while I was cursing at the traffic. She had to overcome a poor service experience there the first time: She had requested a substitution on a dish, which was denied by the kitchen even though it was due to a medical condition. To be fair, the menu at the time did state that substitutions would be politely or respectfully declined, but still, she had expected (and I would expect) some leeway for a food allergy or a medical condition. Interestingly, the disclaimer was not on any of the menus we got tonight.

      [Pardon the poor lighting on the photos; it was dark.]

      4 Replies
      1. re: PeterCC

        Caper berry (the pickled pepper with big seeds). I like Waterloo and city - great bar menu for happy hour. Simpler than the reg menu, but very good. Good staff, drinks, beer, wine. It's a winner.

        1. re: CulverJack

          Yes! Thanks CulverJack! (Does your name derive from living in Culver City?) Mystery solved. I've never had (or even heard of) caper berries. I like capers a lot, but I absolutely loved the caper berry that I had last night. Amazing little fruit!

          (Oh, I forgot to mention in my previous comment, in addition to the menu no longer saying they'll decline substitution requests, they also accommodated my wife's request to have the piri piri hot sauce on the side last night. So they must have loosened their stance on that.)

          1. re: PeterCC

            Yep - CulverJack comes from my living in Culver City and as an homage (old school)/shout out (new school) to ChinoWayne, whose posts I've enjoyed hugely over the years. I liked the sense of person (name) and place (city). It takes away a bit of the anonymity and tells a little something.

            Is your CC the same?

            1. re: CulverJack

              Nah, nothing as cool as your reasoning, just my initials.

              I've relatively, heck, not even relatively, actually very new here (2 months and counting), and I haven't come across many of ChinoWayne's posts yet. I'll keep an eye out.