Where Do You Wanna Eat?

It’s again that time of the year when it gets dark early, which is when you’ll most likely find me at the newly refurbished Blue World Lounge. Imbibing in a few of what my father-in-law liked to call his “evening prayer.”

Along with the conversation of the day, the one topic that mostly comes up is the old stand-by, “What do you want to do for dinner?” “Oh, I don’t know, what do you want to do?” “Where’d you like to go?” “Oh, probably some place local…”

When we used to live down the street, we kept a little jar with our favorite restaurants’ names in it, and if we came to a bypass, we’d draw out a lucky winner, and that’s where we’d go. Unfortunately, we never seemed to pick the paper that said ‘Link’s house.’ I always thought it would be a kick to show up at his place, saying “Hi. What’s for dinner?”

Wait… How about maybe just another “touch” before we decide about tonight, and then another little tipple, or maybe two more, to completely take us back to the first bars in - no, we’re supposed to be thinking about eating, here. And it’s automatically turning into thoughts about the first restaurants in Venice. And what was available on your “night out.” What if you could go back in time… Where would you go?

Probably arriving by the electric rail car, you’d meander down the arcaded walkway along Windward Avenue, being swept away at the unique varieties of the-then modern life, appearing before your very eyes.

“Why, this must be like it is in grand old Venice right now,” you’d think, as you came to the famed pier. “I’ll certainly not miss visiting the gondoliers later today. But first, a stroll around.”

Of course you’d venture out onto the pier, past the famed auditorium, out along the northern side, past the dance pavilion and the aquarium, then out to the end, to gaze upon the wild Pacific Ocean, as if you’d never seen it before. And yet, oddly, you felt like you were strangely familiar with the feeling the sea invoked within you.

Maybe it was just that fresh sea-air hunger that everybody’d been chatting about lately. How the new-fangled ideas like this, or maybe the treatment of your catarrh, bronchitis and consumption, being cured by Inhalene, a healing vapor of carbolated oil of tar, could evoke such feelings.

Then you arrived at the Ship Café. Notorious for it’s famous service, it’s featured expert cuisine and excellent “sunset service,” you knew this was the eatery for you. You’d already heard how on July 1st, 1905, Nina Adams had christened the bow of the Ship Hotel “Cabrillo” to an appreciative crowd of 150 invited local guests. L. Marchetti, the restaurant’s proprietor, hosted the festivities. And since then it’d been a real doozy of a hit for everyone dining there.

But not enough for Abbot Kinney, the doge of Venice. He closed his Ship Café in 1907 for extensive renovations, doubling the seating capacity of the dining room. A gangplank was also added to facilitate patrons’ accessibility to the promenade deck and the Banquet Room, without requiring them to pass through the main dining room. This only helped increase business to this “must-see” tourist spot.

Baron Long, who had started out in the Los Angeles area organizing boxing at the Vernon Fight Arena, then teamed up with Julius Rosenfield in 1917 to purchase the Ship Café, making it the most distinct and picturesque establishments in all of Los Angeles.

Originally designed by architects Norman Marsh and Clarence Russell to replicate the Spanish galleon used by Juan Cabrillo, discoverer of the Santa Monica bay, it was a rollicking place throughout early Venice history. After completely burning in the horrific fire on the pier in 1920, it was rebuilt and maintained its prominence until the pier was ultimately closed and torn down in 1946.

By the mid 20s, Ward McFadden took control of the Ship Café and made it the Brown Derby of its day, the ‘in’ place where motion picture stars mingled with Los Angeles area politicians and wealthy businessmen. The dining was intimate, the food excellent, and Ward McFadden, Ralph Arnold, who was the proprietor in 1929, and Tommy Jacobs, a decade later, were the perfect hosts. A grand time was had by all.

Now, let’s stroll down Windward Avenue shall we, and see what we could find to eat along Venice’s main street. At the corner of Ocean Front Walk stood the Hotel St. Marks, the most grand of the buildings along the street. From the early-20s through the 30s, it featured Pete’s Grill, specialty “quality service,” for those hungry tourists and hotel residents alike.

Across Speedway, humorously named by Abbot Kinney due to the fact that in the early days, this one-way lane was often clogged with blowing sand, forming dunes that would make traversing it almost impossible, thus the comical nomenclature, you’d find Dr. Hunt’s Windward Hotel, which also opened in 1905. Through the ages, this sole surviving building has hosted a plethora of dining establishments. In 1918, you could find Atwood’s Cafe there at 25 Windward. Fast forward to the mid-50s, and now you’d find a liquor store and a Chop Suey restaurant. The liquor store was still there in the mid-70s, when the east side of the ground floor became St. Charles Place, which opened on July 31, 1975 as a restaurant and bar, featuring live entertainment.

In November 1977, Barry Levich & John Anders opened F. Scott’s &, a “celebrated cabaret.” In the 80s came St. Marks jazz club, which became a strong fixture in the local scene. Then along came the short-lived Tantra Bar, which then merged into Drake’s Supper Club. On March 13, 2003 a sign was posted on its front door, giving notice of its closing due to “extreme vandalism,” and that it would reopen in a couple weeks. Nope, never did. Then on January 20, 2005, the place reopened as the Venice Cantina, but that too was ill-fated, closing on May 13 of this year. And now we await the imminent opening of Danny’s Venice Deli, featuring an interior mural by Rip Cronk showing caricatures of famous Venetians throughout its history, and one of the few surviving gondolas. Phew, what a history!

In 1915, you could dine at Abbot’s Restaurant at 12 Windward, which seems to be non-exitant in any early photos, except for one postcard of its neat interior, with a counter running the length of one wall, and table dining along the other side, all under murals of fine exterior foliage and lots of mirrors. Or today you can eat at the aptly named The Patio at 20 Windward, former home of Clarence’s Barbecue in the 30s, or the now boarded-up Cafe de la Plage at 46 Windward.

Also down the block was Menotti's Buffet, located on the south side of the street at 52 Windward Avenue, which opened to rave reviews in 1915. The name is still visible on the original tile floor at the front of the Townhouse bar today. During the Prohibition era of the 1920’s, when liquor was banned, there was an illegal speakeasy hidden in the basement, while the restaurant had been converted into a grocery store. Murals adorning the basement walls of the Townhouse were originally painted sometime around 1915 and depict landscape scenes of early Southern California, including some romanticized canal views in Venice. It is now home to the Cantina Del Corazon which has been brought back to life with restoration of some of these original murals.

In the 1950’s the old bar’s name was changed to Grady’s Town House. On May 2nd, 1972, Ronald and Annie Bennett purchased the bar from the old owner, Gus Hinkleman, with the name then shortened to the Town House, and today is home to one of the oldest continuous running bars on the west coast.

In one old photo of the turnaround for the Venice Miniature Rail Road at Windward and Trolleyway, there’s a sign in the background for The Mint Café, approximately located next to today’s Animal House clothing store and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at 80 Windward. Then in the 60s there were also Cleopatra's and Amoon's, where Animal House and the Tattoo Parlor are today. Across the way on the north side of the intersection, you’ll now find a new Campos Tacos stand, taking over from the old J.J. Chill’s stand. And back in the 50s, it was known as Mary’s Hamburgers & Hot Dogs (sponsored by Coke), with a big sign on the corner proclaiming “The Pup.”

Just around the corner at 1611 Pacific was a Venice eatery institution, NuPars. Open in the 70s, a lot of today’s residents remember going there for breakfast, mainly. Here’s where we open your tour up to those who were there.

Jim Smith - First there was Da Driftwood, on OFW near the paddle tennis courts. It and NuPars were run by Jurgen, part of a German family who also worked in the restaurants. He also had a place called Jurgen's in Hamburger Square (Washington and Speedway) for a brief time. Jurgen wasn't big on names. Both Da Driftwood and NuPars were preexisting names. Jurgen made the best potatoes I've ever had.

Steve Avooski - I just remember taking Judy (my bride) to NuPars with a friend in around 1971. I was trying to talk her into moving to Venice, as she was a very upscale urban girl. We were eating in this dive (Nupars) and this bum (old word for homeless) shuffled up to her and pointed to her food and asked, “you gonna eat that?” She turned white with fear, and didn’t know how to handle the situation. He was looking for a hand out, and she froze. My friend and I started to stifle laughter that couldn’t be contained, and created a very memorable meal. We did end up moving to Venice, and have been here over 30 years.

Jacky Lavin - The first place I ever ate when I got to Venice was Nupar's. Didn't it have another name also? You could get 3 eggs with potatoes or tomatoes for 63 cents - circa 1973. Don't forget the Brown Bagger (which was actually on Washington) and also the place that looked like a ship and became a sushi bar (The Seagull, 18 17th Ave at Speedway).

Marcia Stone - NuPars was the neighborhood restaurant. I’d always sit at the counter and order German pancakes. The short order cook was the best I ever saw - so fast! They weren’t open for dinner, and I remember there was a hotel above it.

Bob Hughes - They had the best German egg pancakes, served with lemon and powdered sugar (pure heaven…). And what about on Abbot Kinney? The Merchant of Venice - buy the table you're eating off of; The Comeback Inn - great vegetarian; Harry's BBQ - for $4.99 ribs, corn, salad, roll... more than you could eat; Chez Helene - provincial French - (also known to locals as "The Restaurant of Death" - actress Eileen Brennan was struck by a car out in front (both legs broken) and the famous Sara Ribikoff murder).

Or we could stroll up the boardwalk, and see what we could find. If it was 1976, we could start at The Driftwood, 1921 OFW at North Venice Blvd. It offered cocktails, lunch, dinner and Dixieland Jazz.

Next up would be world-famous Jody Maroni’s Sausage Kingdom. Opening on the carnival known as the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Jody Maroni, the Sausage King, has been hawking his handmade family recipe gourmet sausages since the summer of 1979, delighting all who passed by with his constant banter and deliciously unusual concoctions. He has sold thousands of his handmade all-natural gourmet sausages to locals and tourists alike. He called them “haut dogs” because they were finer and fancier than any other sausage on the planet, and he made them with chicken, duck, lamb and pork and added in all kinds of natural flavorings such as cilantro, oranges, tangerines, figs, corn and apples. Some of them even had beer or tequila for additional flavor and moisture.

Having learned the art of sausage making from his father, Max the Butcher, Jody merged the family secrets with international cuisine and a respect for health and nutrition, all the while living in the apartment above the concession.

Today, the entire boardwalk is really just a carnival midway, with eating shops every few doors away. Monkee’s Burger is just north of Jody’s; actually, right next door.

And somewhere in this area, was where Robert’s Restaurant once operated. Stephen Pouliot - A place on south Ocean Front. Always jammed-full of "the beautiful people." It was happy powder city. A place where you could snort a line of coke and chase it with a chilled glass of home squeezed.

Lynn Hanson - Very cooooool at night on the beach.

Betsy Goldman - It was probably around 1978. I lived on Tahiti Way in the Marina. A friend, who lived there also, and I went to Robert's numerous times. It was our favorite place to have dinner. I remember it as being a hole-in-the-wall type place but beautiful - all white.

Jacky Lavin - Ah yes, Robert's was the first place to have unusual flowers - protea on the tables.

Jill Prestup - I do remember Robert’s when I played paddle tennis at the beach. It was a great hangout during and after hours but too pricey for most of the paddle tennis crowd. The owner liked us, so we would use his bathroom and get drinks there.

Marcia Stone - It was very sophisticated and modern. They served California upscale cuisine, and it was there I met Hal, who later opened the eponymous Hal’s on Abbot Kinney, with my old high school friend, Linda Novack, but I digress…

Muscle Beach Café, at 19th Avenue, comes up next, then the fascinating Good Karma Natural & Organic Fast Foods at 1809 OFW. Followed by your basic Chinese Food, at 18th Avenue. And then we come to another old milestone of Venice dining, now inhabited by Café Bada.

Lynn Hanson - The Meatless Marathon Messhall was open till 3 or all night, or maybe I arrived at 3 after the Circle Bar. Middle of the night spanish omelettes, the only time I liked breakfast. My welcome initiation into vegetarian food after growing up on meat & potatoes {which I never liked } in rural Minnesota.

Jim Smith - Actually, the Meatless Messhall, before that it was Java Time (as was Cafe 50s). Great place for us veggies.

Gary Flanigan - Years ago, I worked at a vegetarian joint on Venice beach called the Marathon Meatless Messhall. It was a typical hippie sort of joint; Bob Dylan ate there ocassionaly, etc. There was one guy who came in and asked that we burn his toast. He even sent it back one time saying "Would you please burn this some more?" The last straw was when he asked for chopsticks to eat his oatmeal.

From 1905-1920, there was the grand Mecca Buffet building, at the southeast corner of OFW and Market Street, or Zephyr Place, as it was referred to back then. It was one of the first buildings erected during the initial rush to open Venice in 1905. But come the Volstead Act of January 16, 1920, many of the local drinking and high-class dining establishments either went out of business or changed hands. One of four great saloons west of the Mississippi, the Mecca Buffet had helped Venice become the finest amusement center in the entire west coast. Now, with Menotti’s Buffet becoming a grocery store, the Mecca Buffet became a drug store, no longer able to serve liquor to its patrons. Years later, this amazing location would become the Fortune Bridgo gambling hall, and then the infamous Gas House, of 50’s beatnik fame. One of Venice’s true shrines, sorely missed.

Across Market Street today you’ll find Big Daddy’s, at 1425 OFW. This was originally a big-time restaurant open in 1914, known as the Strand Café. It’s specialties and features included ice cream, a new fad at the time, a parlor, and a lunch room. The perfect spot to dilley-dalley a while. Now it’s the surfboard stompin, graffiti spoutin restaurant to go daddy-o.

The building that now houses the famous Sidewalk Cafe was one of the last of Abbot Kinney's Venice buildings and was originally designed as a four-story building, but only the first floor was ever constructed. It was sold to the Harrah family (of Nevada gambling fame) and was turned into a bingo parlor (Budgo because bingo was illegal). During prohibition, underground tunnels were expanded to accommodate bootleggers. In the 1950's and early 60's the building housed artists' studios and was, in fact, the crash pad for beatnik poets such as Jack Kerouac. Before the Goodfaders bought it in 1976 from the Hormel hot dog people, the vacant building had stood abandoned for almost 20 years. Motorcycle gangs used the arches as their own parking space.

In 1976 Mary Goodfader's bookstore, Small World Books, lost its lease in Marina del Rey. Bob Goodfader, while bicycling on the bike path, saw the building and called the number painted on its front. The Goodfaders and their friends, Walter (Skip) and Penny Dixon bought the building in 1976 for the bookstore. Bob and Skip decided to open a small takeout place on the side of the building not in use by Small World Books. The restaurant was such a hit that they reopened as a patio restaurant. Ever since then, the Sidewalk Cafe has been the best place to enjoy the Venice Boardwalk.

Lynn Hanson - I was a rollerskating waitress, when Ron Kovic used to hang out there. I lived on rollerskates back then, I rollerskated to work from my attic in an old house in Ocean Park along the beach. The place had no kitchen, which was fine with me, and I could watch the surfers while showering, as I looked out my skylight.

Oak O’Connor - I remember the Sidewalk Cafe and it was lower key than it is today and not so crazy.

Jim Smith - Tourist trap.

Kelley Willis - The only place I really patronized was weekend mornings at the Sidewalk Cafe bar. The big change since then was the permanent awning they put out over all the seating. I used to hang at Joe's Diner on Main, just over the line a couple of blocks into SM. And there was the Tommy's at the end of Pico, that's now a Cha Cha Chicken...

Ever patronize the Charley Temel Ice Cream store on OFW between Horizon & Westminster? Remember it when it was Love That Yogurt, back in the 80s? This location was also The American Beauty Barbecue & Tea Arbor back in the 1920s. What an enticing combination! The old Manny’s Market is now the American Burger, at the corner of Westminster.

Now we come to pizza row. First there’s Pizza Pizza in the block north of Westminster, then the old Del Cor Pizza, at Wavecrest. Once declared as having the best pizza in Venice, it has been Grace’s Pizza for 10 years, since 1996. In the early 70s, I remember it was the Sea View Café, with the bar Westwind Cocktails next door north. This place featured a garage door that would open right onto the boardwalk, so the inside was outside. Great place to catch an afternoon beer buzz.

Café Venezia, at Brooks, was the Match Box back in the 60s. From that corner going north, you’d come upon the Ocean Front Market, then Alex’s Café.

Next up is another Venice landmark, Figtree’s Café. It’s been open since 1978, at 431 OFW at Paloma. Back in the 70s, it was Snack Time, with the Love Shop next door. In ‘69 it was Anna Haag’s Antique Earrings & Gwyndolin’s Handmade Clothes shop.

Katherine Braun - I do remember Figtree but nothing specific to say. I’ll have to think about it.

Jim Smith - Great food, but too expensive for many Venetians to be able to go on a regular basis.

Pat Hartman - I'm flattered that you ask me about the hangouts. Unfortunately I rarely had enough money to eat out.

Lynn Hanson - My first place on OFW was next to what became Figtrees, which had the best ever lemon poppy seed muffins. I WANT THAT RECIPE! Anybody got it? I loved the apartment except for Gypsy perching on my windowsill & serenading the passersby, while I was trying to sleep after staying out late at the Marathon Meatless Messhall. And so it goes…

So next we come to the present Candle Café, 325 OFW at Dudley. In ‘86 it was the Café Croissant, according to a painting by local watercolor wizard Raymond Packard. Before then, way back in the 40s, it was The Breakers, hotel and restaurant I believe.

Right next door you’ll find another present Venice institution, the Venice Bistro, which was originally the old Suzanne’s Kitchen, at 321 OFW. This monumental cafe was an originator of the healthy, hippie cuisine, and back in the day, it even featured Rickie Lee Jones on piano, getting her first foothold on the music scene. In 1976, the property changed hands, and it became Land’s End. Open from ‘76 until 1991 and owned by Pierre Denerome, this was a seminal restaurant along the boardwalk in those days.

Betsy Goldman - I remember thinking then, it was probably around 1985, when I lived on Dudley, that it was an upscale restaurant. Was it really? I remember Pierre. He was quite a character. I remember that at Land's End, it was brunch, not breakfast, and I had eggs benedict.

Jacky Lavin - Let's see, eggs benedict at Lands End. I’ll have to think about this some more. I do know that 6 months later, after it closed, Pierre opened 12 Washington at Speedway & Washington. Not quite as good.

Katherine Braun - Land’s End, which I remember I liked a lot. I think it was a good place for steamed mussles.

Todd Darling - I did think going to Land's End was the height of decadence back then.
(Remember the mussell soup?)

Marcia Stone - I loved this great French restaurant. It seems like everytime we went there at night, strolling down the boardwalk, we’d see Greg Hines dining at the next table. I’d known Greg since his days in Severance, and I used to go see them play all the time at the St. Charles Place club. And also Dirk Hamilton there too, but I’m getting off-subject again…

Another mysterious place was the old South Beach Café, at 2 Rose Avenue. Another hang-out in the morning for a lot of locals. It’s been closed since January 11th, 2006, and we’re hoping for a new generation of dining experience to take hold on this prime location.

On The Waterfront Café, at 205 OFW, ends our gastronomic trek northward along the OFW. Back in the 60s it was Weinberg’s Market - “from farm to you.” A mainstay in the Jewish community then so prevalent along the boardwalk in that neighborhood. At some point in time, Walter (some German guy) opened up an all-purpose restaurant, then sold it to Jean-Pierre (a French man), who then sold it to Stefan Bachofner (Swiss, I’m presuming), that today is the destination of many seasoned traveler. Some might remember its use as a location in the recent movie ‘Million Dollar Baby.’

Susan LaTempa - Here's where I want to be at about 4 o'clock on any sunny afternoon: sitting at a beachfront cafe, drinking a great beer, eating some interesting food, surrounded by people who've traveled from all over the world to get to this spot and are pleased as punch to be here. With a Continental cuisine, and German/Swiss specialties, including bündnerteller, curry rösti, apple strudel, along with imported brews and an international crowd bringing a global touch to a local hangout, this is the place to be.

Anonymous famous actor - After a hard morning of bicycling the bike path, we'll break for lunch at On the Waterfront Cafe. Nice spot, very low-key, and they have great Swiss bratwurst. There's always someone busking on guitar out front, sometimes badly, sometimes fantastically, but there's always a show. So we'll hang out at the beach a little longer and then come home.

Ah, you probably thought I forgot about the Lafayette Café, in the old Waldorf Hotel at Westminster, which opened in the early 60s. I saved the best for last! Owned by Arturo and Fernando Garcia, it specialized in unpretentious cooking and atmosphere, and for years served as a sort of central meeting arena for Venice residents, artists, writers, would-be local intelligentsia, and just generally anyone who felt like hanging out.

It featured a colorful, if somewhat primitive mural on the back wall, painted by Spurloor Lawson, of a never-dull panorama of urban Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, and Notre Dame. On the other walls, surreal 50s style graphics of huge hot fudge sundaes and cherry pie a la mode contributed to this coffee shop’s feeling of timelessness.

But one of the most lasting aspects of the Lafayette was the Princess Deluxe juke box, which contained many a hit from the good old days. And you could hear the Beatles’ “You Know My Name” as a rarity. Arturo Garcia didn’t dare change those records, because the place “was home for too many people, and I want to keep it that way.”

In April of 1978, the restaurant expanded into the space to the north of it. A bit more open and spread out, with local artists’ artwork displayed on the walls - anyone remember my one-man-photo show there? - this was the side I enjoyed the most. Until, ultimately, the power of the buck took over, and the Lafayette served its last meals on June 30, 1985 and closed forever.

More local takes on this landmark eatery -

Jim Smith - The Lafayette dated back to the 50s at least. It's location at OFW and Westminster was central for everyone. Anna Haag worked here along with some other great waitresses, including Ruby. There was a Pagoda right in front of it, which was not restored by the city. It was a sad day for Venice when the Lafayette closed. Randy Brook wrote a poem about the Lafayette Cafe in 1975 which was reprinted in one of the on-line Beachheads.

LaFayette Cafe

When you reach for the illusion and close your fist on sand
When the time it takes to say “hello” no longer fits your plan
When your special friends have all left town and you just can’t find your way
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

When your mind has turned to ashes and your face has turned to clay
When the moonlit dreams an’ promises have broken with the day
When your newfound lover blows a kiss and slowly walks away
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

When your treasures are in boxes in somebody’s garage
When your castle walls have crumbled into yesterday’s mirage
When your keys have fallen off the ring and they tow your car away
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

And we can start over with nothing
But a seagull in the sky
A diamond lace of broken glass
And a dream that will not die

When all the self-important fools have left their violence on your door
And you will not seek forgiveness for the honesty you wore
When they’ve taken all the love you bring and the songs you have to play
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

When you grow tired of your leisure and your magic ocean view
When the words you write won’t fit the page and the meaning don’t break through
When you just can’t find redemption in anything you do or say
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

When your highway songs’ve all been sung and the road has brought you back
To the place you started from with your rainbow blanket and your pack
When you reach the place where the gulls won’t fly and the children do not play
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

Through all the wind and tears Abandoned fears
And voices lifted high
Waves pounding on an empty beach
That told us not to try

When all the love-lost gypsy children you thought were yours to save
Have given back their broken minds and vanished with the waves
When your rainbow tears have washed the streets and there’s nothing left to say
I’ll meet you down at the LaFayette Cafe

Stephen Pouliot - I fondly recall the Lafayette...and it's always full counter and spinning stools upholstered in red oil cloth. What a great hangout with decent prices for students, locals, and the needy, all living on a limited budget. Waitresses got the job done but still found time to chat and know your name. I think there was a cool vertical Lafayette sign on the outside. It had that wonderful smell of bacon grease, frying eggs, and cakes on the griddle. Outside of the weight lifters, few were watching carbs or calories. A gastric light went out when they shuttered the place. It's inconceivable that nothing close to it has appeared on the boardwalk. Is there really that much money to be made from tee-shirts?

Todd Darling - Our main beach diner was Lafayette. I'll send some memories of Lafayette - Ruby the waitress who kept having heart attacks and kept coming back only days later. Best huevos rancheros AND waffles in Los Angeles. The place had exceptionally bad coffee - used to make a pot of esspresso upstairs at Lorenzo's and bring it down with us. And it was definitely the best place to see a really stoned crowd for breakfast.

Jacky Lavin - I still crave that great green salsa from the Lafayette for the huevos.

Betsy Goldman - I don't have any special memories about the Sidewalk Cafe or Figtree's Cafe. This is what I do remember. At the Lafayette - I used to eat breakfast there quite often on weekends when I lived at 615 OFW. What I really remember is the cooking area that was was visible from the counter. One day I saw one of the cooks picking his nose. I didn't go back after that. I don't remember any favorite items. Although I do remember the steak tartare at 72 Market St.

Scott Mayers - I remember almost all of them with great fondness and regret for what was truly Venice. I most of all remember Ruby – who had one too many Marlboro’s and perhaps not enough Gin, who wore giant handkerchief bouquets on her shoulder as she delivered the extraordinary breakfasts that were huge and cheap and wonderful for all the characters that were there scarfing them down in the much-missed Lafayette on the Strand, home to Goldie Glitters (alavascholom) and Devine and SandyBoxSandy and all the peeps who were truly Venice. Boo-fucking-ass-hoo!

Catherine Hess - Yeah! I loved all these places. Let me get back to you when I have a moment…

Lynn Hanson - Thanks for calling forth the fun memories…

Ah, the memories. I think I’ll have just a “touch” more, if you please, right here as I settle back into my Saarinen Womb chair, and just forget about eating anything, anyway…