A few weeks ago I dragged the girls (Gigi, Starr and Katharine) to one of my favorite spots in Lincoln Park, Summer House Santa Monica. Designed as a swanky but laid-back eatery with California flare, it’s easy to walk in the doors here and feel hundreds of miles away from the Second City.I love how the interior feels like a warm, beachy patio courtesy of this enormous glass ceiling bathing the room in golden sunlight. H and I discovered this spot last winter (one of the coldest and most brutal on record) when we were desperately searching for any place offering respite from the frigid temperatures and endless snow. Before this place, I was prone to permanent hibernation from January through mid-March but twenty minutes here and I can almost convince myself that I hear the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. My favorite cocktail (and the one I always order) is the Palm Fizz, a delightfully bubbly blend of aromatized wine, apples, lemons and prosecco garnished with the freshest rosemary. The aroma is intoxicating!
Wearing my purple lipstick (discussed here) and folding Ray-Bans (available here). As a starter, we ordered the fresh burrata appetizer. If you havent tried burrata, please please please, do not deprive yourself any longer. This miracle cheese is the stuff of serious food porn! Similar to mozzarella in shape, this spring-y mound is filled with fresh cream that spreads around on toast like a dreamy cloud. Paired with a slow-cooked tomato jam like this and served with house-made toasted bread points, it makes a delicious and unique start to any meal. But it’s these biscuits of bakery nirvana that have me returning time and time again to Summer House. Fresh and baked-to-order, the biscuits here are giant crusty pillows of decadent butter dough served with a poblano-honey butter and additional honey on the side.
Just look at that slow, sexy drizzle. Doesn’t that just make you swoon? Kudos to Gigi for pouring the honey so perfectly.
Naturally, as bloggers we have a tendency to follow our own paths but on a rare occasion, our taste buds will sync up in a beautiful harmony. What exactly am I saying? We all ordered the same lunch. The Seared Ahi Tuna Salad! Perfectly spicy seared ahi tuna, a glorious mound of heart-healthy avocado, mizuna and napa cabbage and a tempura nori (seaweed) ‘crouton’ all married together in a yuzu sesame vinaigrette. A clean, delicious California-inspired lunch! Perfect balance and crispness in every bite.
After our meal (well also before since you can’t miss it when you walk in the door), we all crowded up to Summer House’s famous cookie bar to awe at the daily selection. Bakery heaven! Cookies of all shapes and sizes including those GLORIOUS and ENORMOUS rice krispy dotted chocolate chip ones!Not to mention their delicious selection of unique rice crispy squares. But it’s the simple chocolate chip and sea salt chocolate chip varieties which I almost always fall for. It can be hard to get chocolate chip cookies right: the batter must be butter-y and fragrant with a soft center but crispy edge. And the chocolate must be lush and indulgent without masking the flavor of the cookie itself. Summer House hit the nail on the head with their recipe! Situation at the very front of the restaurant, it’s almost impossible to leave without one of these in your hand! They even offer gluten-free varieties, not to mention their famous bacon chocolate chip (sadly not on display that day). In fact Summer House’s Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies are so wonderful that they inspired me to whip up my own version at home (for those times I can’t make it to Summer House… the horror!). Recipe coming November 3rd!