Malibu wasn’t a destination on this trip last November, but it was a convenient spot well outside of the thick and heavy Los Angeles air that provided the opportunity to find a bite to eat, as well as being the perfect place to take a deep breath and settle into the coastal CA atmosphere. This was only my second trip to California, but I had learned the first time that I prefer my relationship with LA to be more of a coming-and-going one; i.e. fly into LAX, shuttle to the car rental, and get as far from the city as quickly as possible. LA certainly has sights worth seeing, for however long your lungs can stand it, but my love affair with this state lies in the places you have to drive a while to reach. This trip, our destination was a few hours north of LA, but having just spent the entire morning traveling from the east coast, we needed sustenance.

Santa Monica Mountains – CA

About an hour away from the heavy city traffic, we stopped for some obligatory shots of the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains and continued to look for somewhere to eat. Lucky for us, it was a Monday afternoon, not a holiday, and probably the start of off-season in these parts, so we consulted the map and settled on a little seaside restaurant called The Sunset. We turned the corner to find a quite uncrowded beach before us, and our eatery nestled perfectly among the cliffs.

Not really a place to stop for a quick, easy bite, it definitely fit the bill for One-Nice-Meal-Out in terms of cost, but this was a whole experience. One that I didn’t hesitate to start with an Espresso Martini, because it was very possible I may never again sit in a restaurant looking out the window next to me at the Pacific Ocean, with an Espresso Martini. I don’t drink fancy coffee’s often at home, nor do I drink often otherwise, but when in Rome, or Malibu in this case….

So, about the food. The menu was filled with worthwhile options, including the lobster roll my travel companion opted for. But I’d never before eaten fish tacos, and these would set a precedent for every one I’d consume after. Maybe it was the location, with the lazy, salty Pacific air blowing in the window next to us, or the sun that just hits different in California. Maybe it was the fact that I never had fish tacos before so there was nothing to compare these to. Maybe it was the fresh cilantro, which doesn’t taste anything like soap to me, and will always be a welcome addition to tacos. Boston last month came close to measuring up, but I have yet to taste a fish taco anywhere near as mouth watering as those I had here at The Sunset.

Maybe it was the truffle fries, of which I also never had before, but now always get if it’s on the menu, because TRUFFLE FRIES!! are like having dessert first!

It was probably a combination of everything, including the few moments we spent just basking in the sun at the waters edge, but this whole experience felt like the perfect “Welcome” to the west coast, and the perfect way to decompress after a six hour flight and the stress of getting out of LA. I couldn’t have found a better way to begin this little trip, and if you ever find yourself meandering up the coast of California, I highly recommend checking out The Sunset. If the whole experience could be summed up in one photo, this one would be it. Total stereotypical California. Who would even want to pick up a phone and scroll when you have this in front of you? I guess it’s what the youth these days call “A Total Vibe”.