Saturday morning, I got to surprise the girls with an extravagant meal at one of the most blissful spots in LA – Shutters on the Beach!  When I saw that this month’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 was taking place on August 29th, I realized it would be the first Saturday that Julia, Rachel and I would all be together and had to submit a proposal!

The three of us headed down to Santa Monica for a scenic walk down to Venice Beach. Perfect for building up an appetite 🙂 The girls knew there was a surprise in store that involved food, but were otherwise in the dark! When we turned around and reached the beginning of the bike path again, I read them part of my Foodbuzz submission. Cue the waterworks!

Almost exactly three years ago, I left the East coast and became a bonafide California girl. Although I have been homesick hundreds of times, I have made many friends and even new "family," like my wonderful roommate Julia. I would say she is like the sister I never had, but I actually have two sisters, both of whom I’ve been trying to convince to move to CA. Secretly, I would like to upload my entire family to the East coast, and I finally have my first convert — my sister Rachel! She has bought her one way ticket to LA for the end of August, and Julia and I are ditching our duds in Hollywood to move down to the beach with Rachel.    

Since the 29th marks the first Saturday we will all spend together, I would love to share with my blood family and my friend family a fabulous meal that celebrates everything I have come to love about California — healthy food, sun, surf, laughter and the beach. 

The girls were beyond excited when we reached our destination!

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I had settled on Coast, the downstairs “casual” restaurant at Shutters.

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Coast is a little bit more laidback and has a very clean, “country cottage” feel to the decor.  We put in our names and got out of the killer heat! We snagged some fancy drinks from the bartender…they were so refreshing! No name, but this champagne cocktail contained sparkling wine, 1 ounce elderflower liqueur, shot of soda water and a lemon twist. 

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We got seated pretty quickly and settled down with our drinks in the covered patio area, which was wicked hot but gorgeous. Yep, that’s the ocean outside those sunny, glowing windows!

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The combination of our morning walk (6+ miles) and the late hour (nearly one!) made us hungry. Luckily there were some interesting packages on the table…

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…that turned out to be breadsticks! MMM.

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To start we ordered one of the best menu items to share – the Lemon Ricotta pancakes. Served with gorgeous berries, these pancakes are light, fluffy, and somewhat tangy.  I’ve honestly never tasted anything like them!

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We each ate one of these light, fluffy pillow-like pancakes immediately. Unlike most other pancakes, there is no real dry, wheat, or floury taste. These babies are so moist, it’s amazing that they stick together!

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To go along with our meals, we ordered an array of bubbly, colorful drinks. Sparkling rose for Julia, Prosecco for me, and a mimosa for Rachel.

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We ordered three distinctly unique dishes with the idea of sharing at least a few bites between the three of us. Rachel got the cheese and mushroom omelet with potatoes. These eggs were PACKED with ooey, gooey cheese!

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Julia ordered the steak & eggs, which also came with potatoes. The steak was incredibly tender and cut like butter!

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Both their dishes came with dry wheat toast, served in a cute straw basket.

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My meal was the best…sure, I might be biased, but it was pretty amazing! I ordered the Bulls Eye, which came with roasted eggplant, spicy tomato & sunny side eggs. The presentation was gorgeous!

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There was a crispy slice of bread on the side, smothered in a delicious…cheese? Whatever it was, the taste was pretty neutral but the texture was light and fluffy and complimented the crunchy bread.

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The eggplant & tomatoes were SPICY and the eggs were perfectly cooked! I would definitely order this again and might have to invent my own version so I can have it at home.

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Our waiter Jason must have known we were enjoying a special morning because he encouraged us to sit and relax for as long as we wanted, and was constantly stopping by the table to joke with us or chat for a minute. He even humored us by snapping a cute posed photo!

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And then the girls humored me by taking another posed picture outside the hotel 🙂

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My planned proposal was a big success! It was so great spending the day with two of my favorite people and we definitely accomplished exactly what I set out to do…

With a perfect view, delicious food, and fabulous company, this brunch would highlight how the simplest elements can take a meal and meld it into an experience that will hopefully forge a bond between the three of us, old family and new.

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Thank you Foodbuzz and Visa Signature for helping me create a perfect California moment!

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