“Seasonal Southern California Comfort Food”
Just up the stairs and past the bursting bushes sits a cafeteria-style Los Angeles eatery with all the charm of a summer day as it welcomes you in like Grandma would for dinner.
The door was already open.
With bountiful options in front of me, I didn’t have time to even glance at the vast menu. Right away, a fresh-faced young man greeted me, “Welcome to Lemonade. What can I get for you?” You only see a smile that bright in Hollywood.
Being a huge #Foodie, my vision became distorted and I blurted out, “What’s good?” I think this question was the question of death, because everything looked good and the man in front of me continued to name practically everything on the menu. My friend, (oh, did I forget to mention I had someone with me?), nudged me. He knows just how indecisive I can be. Poor him. He had a long road ahead of him that evening. The night was young, and I had a lot of eating to do.
“Can I get a sample?” I requested.
“Which would you like to sample?” the man asked.
“What’s goo-“ I stopped. There were at least 20 prepared salads. I restarted, “I’ll try that one first.” I pointed to a Kale, Mushroom, and Kumquat dish under the Marketplace Portions. It was heaven. Kale, my favorite superfood, had never tasted so delicious. He added a healthy portion to my biodegradable paper plate. Next up was a sampling of the Broccoli and Ricotta with Champagne Vinaigrette. Of course, I opted for it as well. I definitely had my greens down. Now for protein: I tried the Pineapple Chicken, Green Beans, Coconut, and Jalapeno with Jerk Dressing. It packed a suspected punch. Caliente – in a good way.
More protein? Why not? “Let’s add some Seared Ahi Tuna with Crushed Orange-Ginger Ponzu Sauce on there for good measure,” as I read from its individually labeled sign. My friend is a tuna fanatic as well, so he followed suite.
All this time, the celebratory lemonade had been bubbling behind me. Not just yellow. Oh no. That would be too easy. There were at least 6 flavors: let’s start with Old Fashioned, which is what I chose, of course. The lovely lady behind the counter showed me some additional lemonade flavors like Cucumber Mint, Watermelon Rosemary, and Blood-Orange. Coming in at $3 per, after one sip I felt satisfied with my investment.
Typically, I wait until the weekends to enjoy any type of dessert, but this was a special occasion: my first time at Lemonade. My friend and I impulsively ordered one supersized Strawberry Macaron and a mountainous slice of Coconut Layer Cake. I don’t generally care for coconut, but my friend does, so we gave it a try.
My other half held his plate full of 3 delicious Marketplace Portions (Israeli Couscous, Wild Mushroom, and Parmesan with Lemon Truffle + Lettuce Wedge with Cherry Tomatoes, Radishes, Nuts, Blue Cheese, and Dressing) and, of course, a healthy serving of Creamy Mashed Potatoes and White Truffle Mac ‘N Cheese.
We opted to enjoy our meal on Lemonade’s outdoor seating deck. Surrounded by greenery and the bright lights of the restaurant’s sign, we dug in.
The Seared Ahi Tuna with Crushed Orange-Ginger Ponzu Sauce was our favorite dish of the evening. The sauce compliments the tuna so perfectly, and above all the tuna was completely fresh. All of the greens were uniquely executed, fresh, and crunchy. Eating healthy is extremely important to me and I honestly feel that I could eat at Lemonade several times per week and achieve a high standard level diet just as I do when I cook for myself at home. Although, passing up dessert each time may become a problem…
But before we discuss these 2 crazy desserts, let’s give the Creamy Mashed Potatoes and White Truffle Mac ‘N Cheese Hot Portions our full attention. Preserved in piping hot cast iron pots, these were some of the most savory comfort food dishes I have enjoyed in some time. I’m from the Midwest (from a farm in the country to be exact) and I love my mashed potatoes and cheesy macaroni. I hold a high bar; so trust me when I say Lemonade receives 5 stars for their spot on execution. Coming in at $3.75 each, this is well worth the coin.
Shall we take a moment of silence? We have made it to dessert! The strawberry macaron, literally the biggest macaron I have ever seen, fell from itself as I pinched off piece after piece and slipped it into my mouth. Not being used to large amounts of sugar, I became a little unruly. My friend tried to refocus my attention. He prompted, “Try some of this Coconut Layer Cake.” I found his fork in front of my face. Okay – why not! The verdict: I normally dislike coconut-based dishes, but this was INCREDIBLE! It was moist and delivered the perfect ratio of cake to frosting to coconut.
“I feel sick,” came rolling out of my mouth, “In a good way. In an extremely satisfied way, and I think I’m experiencing a sugar high. Are you feeling it too?” I asked my friend. He laughed his high-pitched laugh and we looked at one another and asked in unison, “To-go boxes?”
We piled our shameful leftovers into plastic containers labeled Lemonade, and stuffed them into what looked like a sufficient sized plastic bag, but our goodies burst out the top.
As the sun was setting, we cradled our Lemonade loves and walked toward my friend’s apartment in WeHo. He cocked his head, “Aren’t you going to have a sip of your Lemonade?” I completely forgot about my drink…
I took the plunge.
“Oh no. This is going to become a problem.”
9001 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
- 3 Marketplace Portions ($7.75)
- Kale, Mushroom, Kumquat
- Broccoli, Ricotta, Champagne Vinaigrette
- Pineapple Chicken, Green Beans, Coconut, Jalapeno, Jerk Dressing
- Seared Ahi Tuna, Crushed Orange-Ginger Ponzu ($6)
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes ($3.50)
- White Truffle Mac ‘N Cheese ($3.75)
- Strawberry Macaron ($4)
- Coconut Layer Cake ($5)
- Old Fashioned Lemonade ($3)
LEMONADE WILL BE OPENING ITS DOORS IN SAN DIEGO THIS SUMMER – WITH 2 NEW LOCATIONS! SO, STAY TUNED FOR SOME MAJORLY GOOD EATS, SD!