I’ve been in the doldrums lately. First our aged cat, Taliban, had to be put to sleep. The only blessings were that it was a peaceful end (thanks to Dr. Lori Pickell of TLC) and that it brought our brood of former ferals down to a mere six. But within a week, a new striper appeared in the backyard having learned somehow (could he be a kneazle?) of the vacancy.
As we pondered how to trap him, my husband was diagnosed with a “superficial” skin cancer which was excised on Halloween morning. The two-inch incision, complete with black plastic stitches, would have been perfect to give the kids who rang the bell that night a scare, but it was covered in telfa and tape and he refused to go to the door.
Of course, it rained that night curtailing the trick or treaters and leaving us with a huge surfeit of Snickers, Butterfingers and Almond Joys. I was going to put them safely away in the spare freezer, but somehow I forgot. Then came the dreaded “fall back” to Standard Time, and when I realized the candy was still out at 4 p.m. on Sunday, it was getting too dark to venture into the garage.
Perhaps I could have stowed our sweets on Monday, but I didn’t. Tuesday was both election and catch the kitty day. We managed to do both and walk the neighbor’s dog before dusk. (Is it just me or is the sun heading toward the horizon by 2:30?) And, then we turned on the TV and watched as our country turned scarlet and our hopes for the planet’s survival plummeted.
On Wednesday, after a bleak morning at UCLA learning the limitations and costs of next year’s health care plans (presuming Congress doesn’t immediately defund the ACA) I finally froze our stash. Somehow, there wasn’t nearly as much as I’d remembered, probably because we’d solaced ourselves with it continuously from Halloween on.
By then, the cat was neutered (as were our hopes of a decreased feline population) and recuperating in the guest bedroom. We had no desire to listen to political post-mortems or to sit in the creeping physical/emotional gloom. We needed a break — late lunch (“lupper” actually) at a quiet restaurant with easy parking and a comfort-food menu. So we headed to Oceanview Bar & Grill in Montrose to drown our sorrows in high-test French-press coffee, braised short ribs and sesame-crusted ahi, knowing that the restaurant has a fully-stocked bar should we desire more potent remedies.
Oceanview is one of the most pleasant eateries in Montrose. The view isn’t of water (the restaurant takes its name from its street address), but on a clear day you can catch a glimpse of downtown LA to the south and the Angeles National Forest to the north. The building, with its gaily striped green and white awnings, has a lovely terrace with umbrella-shaded tables, two carpeted dining areas with comfy booths, dark-wood furnishings and a humungous horseshoe-shaped bar center stage. Best of all are the vintage Montrose photos dotting the walls, including one of Prohibition liquor being poured into the gutter by the local Sheriff’s Department.
Oceanview is open all day long. A breakfast — served till noon on weekdays and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday — of their apple custard brioche French toast ($10) with a side of smoked bacon ($4) is highly recommended! At 3 p.m., we were almost the only customers besides a trio of “regulars” bellied-up to the bar gleefully drinking to their party’s stunning victories. “Free at last!” one of them toasted the others as we walked in. Luckily, we were able to seat ourselves out of hearing range and, instead, listen to Oceanview’s classic rock backdrop. Carly Simon and Harry Chapin were perfect for evoking our nostalgia for simpler times.
We discussed starters. He wanted the street tacos with steak, guacamole, Napa cabbage, pico de gallo and spicy aioli ($9) while I preferred lettuce wraps filled with a mixture of chopped chicken, carrots, squash, zucchini, Napa cabbage, onions and ponzu sauce ($10), both of which we’ve had before and liked immensely.
We somehow wound up compromising on popcorn shrimp with spicy chili aioli ($11). The heavily battered, crispy bay shrimp were plentiful and tasty, but (IMHO) our original choices are more interesting.
The short rib ($23) entrée was spectacular. A generous cube of fork-tender meat in a deep, complex gravy perched on a huge portion of rib-sticking “traditional” risotto, loaded with tangy cheese, butter, wine and rich broth was just what the doctor ordered to lighten our mood as it weighted our stomachs.
Our other platter (also $23), a large slab of seared sliced sushi-grade ahi resting on a dual bed of unexceptional rice pilaf and a terrific Asian slaw made up of Napa and red cabbage with shredded carrot coated in a tangy sesame dressing, was just as good. Even better, it was paired with platonic Brussels sprouts, pan-roasted with thick-cut bacon to a salty, crispy, lightly browned smoky perfection.
We also tried a quinoa side salad ($5), the grain sprinkled in with field greens, grilled veggies (carrot, yellow and green squash, red pepper and eggplant), a smattering of feta cheese and a sharp, sweet balsamic vinaigrette. And then we contemplated dessert. Housemade bread pudding (mango/coconut – $6) and molten chocolate lava cake (with vanilla ice cream – $8) sang their siren songs, but we couldn’t make ourselves ask for anything except the check.
If only we hadn’t eaten all that Halloween candy. But, fortunately, it’s gone and Oceanview isn’t. The worst is over. We’ll be back!