One of the greatest things about being a starving artist and composer in Los Angeles is the steady stream of wonderful people that enter my life. Last night I had a spotting session with director Oscar Torre and his actress/producer wife Chuti Tiu for their independent feature Pretty Rosebud. It was a tremendously fun evening – we laughed, we talked, we brainstormed. It’s exactly the kind of situation a composer wants to be in. Yes, it’s business, but more important it’s building a relationship, and that you can’t fake. We finished at 11pm and realized we were starving, so the two suggested their favorite local all night eatery in Manhattan beach called The Kettle. You know me, I love a good diner, and I had never been to the main drag on Manhattan Beach, so I was pumped.
Now usually when I think of a 24-hour joint, I imagine a local, hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment. Oozing with character, same staff for 30 years – classic back roads America. The Kettle, however, keeps it classy without losing the warmth of a small town diner. Modeled after an old world “little house on the prairie” kind of place, the restaurant is huge, rustic, and full of life. Hanging at the restaurant for a while it was clear that this was the place to come – you feel the sense of community There was a wait list when we got there at 1130, which, while surprising, is actually a good sign. And in fact even after we were seated the waiting line never went away – people just kept pouring in. The menu is rustic home cooking meets classic diner fare meets California. This means that you get big hearty portions of a variety of diner staples like meatloaf, a patty melt, or a club sandwich, but you can also get thai lettuce wraps or an avocado BLT. This also means that you won’t be leaving without spending at least $12 (unless you split a meal or opt for breakfast). But, it’s certainly worth it, especially considering all the pretty local beach clientele this place attracts. Yum.
But let me tell you the real reason to visit here: homemade honey bran muffin. I’m dead serious. All of us ordered salads and I was rather bemused to discover that salads come with a choice of homemade muffin… holy crap. That muffin came out griddle-warm with a big scoop of whipped butter on the side (we all know how emotional I get over whipped butter). It was moist, sweet, had a slight crunch to it from the griddle, a deep earthiness from the bran, and covered in melting butter… I could have eaten 4 and wouldn’t have felt even a little bit sorry. Yes, my Crab Louie salad was quite good – the perfect blend of texture and simplicity I like in a salad. Hell we even split desserts that were phenomenal: house made bread pudding with a whiskey cream sauce and an apple cinnamon cobbler a la mode… But what I’m still thinking about the next day is that damn bran muffin. I can’t wait to return for breakfast and try their honey bran pancakes… I’m screwed….
The best part for me was the surprise of Oscar and Chuti making this a belated birthday dinner. My dessert came out with a candle and the two of them treated me to my meal – a very generous gesture on their part and, let’s face it, always much appreciated for the starving artist’s ever-dwindling wallet. At the end of the day there is nothing better than sharing a meal with new friends who I can work so well with and am certain will be in my life for many many years to come.
1138 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Click here to read my review on YELP