Sunday, January 29, 2012

Open Plaza 1935, PRL, then Menchies

Last week Carole and I had made plans to go with two of our favorite people, Mallory and Jesse, to try a new restaurant in downtown Hollywood. We got to Open Plaza 1935 just after 7:00 and it was pretty quiet for a  Saturday night. I didn't have high hopes just by the name, taking ambiguous words and throwing them together does not make a name, but when you walk in the ambiguity starts to make sense. The restaurants web site describes themselves as "Cafe/Bar/Resto/Lounge/Show/Art & Gift Shop" and they have made this actually work. Very kitschy, very interesting, very cool. There is outdoor seating available, unfortunately next door is one of the half dozen Hootchie clothing stores downtown whose volume on their stereo is set to 11 and it would have made conversation impossible. Inside does not resemble a restuarant, it is a cross between a lounge, and grandma's living room. The table we sat at had upholstery wing-back chairs across was a wall of old Golf magazines, they had some neat, eclectic pieces of art and furniture, plus they sold clothing and used books both for $2 a piece.

We started off with some drinks, Mallory, Carole, and I each had a glass of wine, a Cabernet Sovenion, Temparnilo, and a CariƱena. Jesse ordered a Quilmes beer. We ordered an appetizer for the table, which came with 4 empanadas, 4 pieces of bruschetta, and a quesadilla. The empanadas were fresh, crispy and delicious, the fungi bruschetta had so much incredible flavor that we were all impressed by it, the quesadilla was unimpressive, not bad, just nothing special.

None of us were starving, especially after the appetizer. Carole, Mallory, and I each just ordered a sandwich. These are not just plain boring sandwiches. They are available hot or cold, and made on bread baked in house. Picking 4 different ingredients including meat, cheese, vegetables, imported olives and a host of other things only costs $5.00. Jesse went for the pesto pork chops. Normally when I order chops at a restaurant they are double sized and imposible to cook correctly and more then one person needs to eat. His pork chop was thin, cooked perfectly, and came with a very flavorful pesto sauce. The oven roasted potatos were seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and the salad that was on the side looked delicious. The total dinner was around $70, including the tip, but we had a $25 gift certificate so it made it a very inexpensive meal.

After dinner we walked around the shop and looked in the curios at all the interesting things for sale and spoke briefly with the owner, who was very friendly and thanked us for coming in that night. We really did have a terrific time and it will be a place that we visit frequently and take people from out of town too.

The night was still young and we only had one adult beverage a piece so we decided to walk across the street to PRL Euro Cafe. The menus say that PRL is the "sexy communist way to say Poland" I don't know if it is or not, all I can say is the place is really neat. It is small, it can be smokey, and if you are not a beer person this is not the place for you. They have about 7 or 8 beers on tap, the rest are in bottles. The best way to order is to forgo the menu and pick beers that are on the wall, those they have, what is listed in the menu is a crap shoot. They do have the mainstays, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and others, but their real niche is unusual, foreign, high gravity beers. I had a Dunkle, a Delirium Tremens, and a great IPA that I can't remember the name. The place can get a little crowded and loud, but it makes it even better. Also if you are in the mood for a little food, next door Mauro's Pizza has cheap, large slices that can soak up any amount of hoppy liquid you put in your stomach, and you can grab a slice and bring it back to your bar stool.

Before we left them for the night, we walked over to Menchies Frozen Yogurt. This store model is popping up all over the place. If you have been to a Pinkberry or Yogurtland it is the same thing. You get a bowl, fill it with yogurt and toppings and then pay based on weight. Not rocket science, but delicious, and if you stay away from all the fattening toppings it is low-cal.

We had a wonderful time with our friends and can't wait to try another place soon. We were very impressed with Open Plaza 1935 and hope that they continue to do well. It would be great if they could talk to their neighbors and see if the volume could be turned down to a level that won't interfere with the other people trying to enjoy themselves in downtown.

Every Monday night at Young Circle downtown is a food truck roundup. We are thinking about trying it tomorrow, we will see how the work day goes.
Open Plaza Hollywood on Urbanspoon

PRL Euro Cafe on Urbanspoon

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