Mexican restaurant Chulita in Venice Beach is another good address for food and cocktails in Los Angeles. Located further north from The Rose Venice on Rose Avenue, it boasts a cute little terrace made of wooden planks. The inside is even nicer and offers a true change of scenery. Wooden benches and stools covered with Mexican print throws and cushions, lamp shades in woven palm leaves, clay pots on the shelves… Erase the walls and concrete floor from your mind, replace them with ocean views and clear sand and you could be eating at a beach shack in Mexico.
Chulita specialises in botanas, i.e shareable dishes. Produce is organic and comes from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. In fact, each dish description refers to the farm it’s sourced its ingredients from. The seafood is also local, and so is the meat which is hormone- and antibiotic-free as well. Have I made you hungry yet? Yes? Good, let’s proceed to the food then.
In line with my new obsession for ceviche, I ordered the hamachi aguachile (a Mexican type of ceviche) tossed in with radish, avocado, cucumber, red onion and citrus. To accompany that, I had the Brassicas, a dish of broccolini and kale with an Orange Chile de Arbol (a small strong Mexican chilli pepper) vinaigrette. I cleaned up both dishes.
Chulita being a Mexican restaurant, there were obviously tequila and mezcal on the menu. The various bottles of agave spirits come from artisanal Mexican distillers. For my first cocktail of the night, I started with La Chulita, the house specialty obviously. It was made with a mezcal infused with serrano ham, housemade tepache (a fermented drink made from the peel and the rind of pineapples), orgeat and lime. I followed it with a Casa de Fuego. Tequila based, this cocktail also listed Aperol, aloe, agave, lime and five spice seasonal peppers among its ingredients. Both drinks were really good. La Chulita was quite refreshing and worked well with my slightly spicy dishes. The Casa de Fuego was a perfect nightcap before calling it a night and cycling back to Santa Monica, a contented smile on my face after yet another great experience of the Los Angeles dining and cocktail scene.