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Beach Gourmet: A Pot of Gold:

Early this past Sunday morning I was chatting with a friend who I met whilst we were picking up our first eye-opening cups of Joe, and she shared with me that she had just seen, and taken a few pictures of, quite the most beautiful rainbow she had ever seen, suspended in the sky over the Westside, following a vibrant rain shower that had just passed by. I commented that I was going off to Marina del Rey, to check out a restaurant with a new friend, and began to wonder if this restaurant would be the proverbial pot of gold at the end of said rainbow, or just a spirit dampening downpour of disappointment. The restaurant in question was Nichol’s in Marina del Rey. Advertised as a family restaurant, it certainly did not violate that description, because upon entry my guest, Joaquin, and I bore witness to families, partial families, couples who may become families and single people who could well be part of a family, all munching and slurping happily away in this traditional and welcoming restaurant.The décor is, shall we say, well established, with a distinctly 1970’s vibe that appears not to have been “adjusted” by an interior designer since. The evident popularity of Nichol’s that day determined that we were required to take a 15-minute wait before being escorted to our comfortable booth.After being seated, our server, Charlotte, presented us with menus and left, only to return a few moments later to introduce us to Lauren, who would be taking care of us from that moment on as she, Charlotte, was taking a break. Well done everybody, we were now set to be spoilt for choice by a menu that, er, spoils for choice. Yes, Nichol’s menu is large, with a plethora of breakfast lunch and dinner items that cover all of the traditional diner choices and more, including some international favorites like Penne Bolognese (penne pasta with homemade meat sauce, $12.50), Mediterranean Quesadillas (chicken, avocado, pesto and feta cheese, $9.75). and a Chinese Chicken salad (chopped lettuce, crispy wontons, peanuts, red bell peppers, scallions and carrots tossed in sesame ginger dressing and topped with sliced chicken breast, $10.25).It was, however before ten o’clock on a Sunday morning, so we both gravitated to the breakfast menu, an extensive, varied and distinctly un-nineteen seventies document, with some delightfully tempting offerings available. As well as a myriad of standard egg dishes, with the expected accompaniments of fresh cut potatoes, fresh fruit and toast of choice there are some new millennium features available. Grilled Herb-Chicken Breast and Eggs (with aforementioned trimmings, $9.95), California Scramble (eggs scrambled with goat cheese, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and basil, $10.50) and a trio of Benedict egg dishes were just some of the tantalizing tastes on offer, but a couple of other choices caught our eyes (or stomachs). For Joaquin, it was the Ground Beef Scramble (eggs scrambled with ground beef, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions, $10.25) and for myself it had to be the Rainbow Trout and Poached Eggs (served with fresh cut potatoes, toast, and tartar sauce, $13,95).Our delightful replacement server, Lauren, took our orders and returned in good time with two plates, well presented and hot, with sensible servings that exuded quality and value instead of the eye-popping quantity that is ubiquitous in so many family establishments these days. I must say that my Rainbow Trout was absolutely delicious. A flaky and tasty freshwater example that melted in the mouth and topped with two perfectly poached eggs, it made for a more than satisfying way to break my fast. The potatoes were good and all round it was a great meal. Joaquin appeared to enjoy his Ground Beef Scramble as he consumed it in record time, but did allow me a taste before it vanished. It was tasty and flavorsome with a slight hint of spice and thankfully not smothered with cheese.So, upon reflection, it appears that I did not find just trout at the end of the rainbow that Sunday, but also a golden gem called Nichol’s.

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