Lemonade is a lemon flavored drink, typically made from lemons, water and sugar. Lemonade is also a buffet-style eatery, located at the corner of Abbott Kinney and Venice Boulevard in Venice. After bumping into my good friend Cathi this past Sunday morning, she suggested that we pay a visit, as she claimed that it was “good, healthy food.” Apparently, that is just what I needed after a joust with a niggling cold earlier that week.
So we met at Lemonade, and entered into what was a bright, and sheen-like space, with a long “L” shaped buffet that proudly boasted a “Garden of Eden” display of attractive dishes, some cold, some hot, but all radiant with color and brightness. The protocol at Lemonade is to grab a tray, and slide along the buffet, all the while choosing, and sampling tasters that are enthusiastically presented by the sparklingly uniformed staff. So we did just that!
And what a humungous choice there was, and although almost spoilt by such an extensive array, we chose anyway. We both went for the two items for $7.50. The beauty of Lemonade is that one can split each item portion into two, thus making four items each, yoo-hoo!
For myself it was brussels sprouts with parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar; avocado with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, lime vinaigrette; beets, pickled red onions, hazelnut vinaigrette; and cauliflower, golden raisins, almonds, curry. Whilst Cathi chose braised lima bean, with lemon and parmesan cheese; the aforementioned avocado, arugula, pomegranate and blue cheese; and watermelon radish and ahi tuna with snap pea and sesames. I also applied a superb slab of citrus poached salmon fillet for an extra five bucks.
To make our visit to Lemonade apropos, we each also had a generous tumbler of lemonade, for myself, an intriguing watermelon and rosemary blend, and for Cathi the delightful ginger peach.
The rooms at Lemonade consist of one that I named “snake in the grass,” not because I was a snake, or Cathi for that matter, or even any of the other diners, but because the walls are completely painted with images of grass (the field kind, not the “medicinal” kind). The other was “the bird room,” so because the walls have childlike images of birds emblazoned upon them. We chose the bird room; such was our flight of fancy.
I must say that this food is splendid. Fresh and flavorful, skillfully prepared, and fun and quirky, and the recipes are a surefire way to attain the utmost pleasure as opposed to that once dreaded motherly command of, “you must eat your greens!” For those who wish to stay in the realm of traditional school cafeteria fare, Lemonade also offers plates of pot roasts, served with orzo rice pilaf, or salad, for $9.00 each.
Take your choice from: chicken basque, artichokes, olives, lemongrass chicken, ginger and orange, traditional short rib, red-miso short rib, beef stroganoff, wild mushrooms with sour cream, vegetable stew, vegetable stock, romesco, BBQ brisket, lamb tagine with figs, apricots, almonds, turkey with dried cranberries, sage gravy, or tamarind chicken with bok choy, carrot, shitake.
So this past Sunday, contrary to what you may have heard, God did not rest, he made a huge buffet of vegetables and other foods, and saw that it was good. So did we!
1661 Abbott Kinney. 310.452.6200.
Mirror Contributing Writertim@smmirror.com