Southern Californian weather is so enviable that people from all over the world come here to vacation, especially in the Winter, when 60-70 degrees Farenheit is considered “cold” by those of us who live here. After many years here, I’ve assimilated to being spoiled. I put on sweaters and scarves (I even wear gloves sometimes) anytime the thermometer dips below 65 degrees, and when I see people in tank tops I know instantly that they are tourists or new transplants from a region where Winter means snow.
One beautifully clear blue sky day, the beach called out for a visit, so two assimilated East Coast transplants opted to go to Gladstone’s for lunch. This place one of those tourist and local favorites that has become a bit of a landmark. After their remodel about 2 years ago, it got a much needed structural and menu facelift. The sawdust on the floor and the barrels of roasted peanuts are gone, but the casual atmosphere and the fresh seafood still draw crowds.
Their Bloody Mary for $14 (they use celery salt on the rim) is a perfect drink to go with seafood, but you can also opt for wine, margaritas, or mojitos. The Traditional Caesar for $12.95 with garlic croutons is a satisfying version with just enough garlic and parmesan to compensate for the light anchovy in the dressing. The salad is perfect for those who like the “middle of the road” between a classic table side dressing and a toned down salad bar version.
I ordered a dozen oysters from the Northwest. They were fresh, creamy, and perfect with a squeeze of lemon. I loved the caper berry accompaniment, and for those who like cocktail sauce, horseradish or mignonette sauce, all were offered on the platter.
My friend ordered a half a pound of slow poached and peeled shrimp cocktail for $19.95 and enjoyed all of them without any accompaniment from the platter.
Not on the main menu, but offered as a side were home made lightly salted potato chips. They were as addictive as they look and thankfully crisp (unlike the ones I ate at Freddy Smalls).
Our hostess knew my dining partner, so she offered us a complimentary hot fudge brownie Sundae (normally $7) with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, nuts, chocolate chips, whipped cream on a brownie. It was a huge dessert and decent enough to satisfy, but it did not wow me enough to take more than a few bites.
The view from our beachside table on the patio was the most spectacular part of our meal. I must admit that compared to this view, any meal would come in second, so the fact that we had a good meal at Gladstone’s with a wonderful server (Chrissa from Crete), made this a perfect Winter’s day at the beach.