Monday, July 2, 2018

Where to Eat & Drink: The Daily Happy Hour @ Culver Hotel’s French Garden

The Eats & Drinks: Ten colorful cocktails and six unique “Chef’s Bites”

The Location: Culver City

The Vibes: Garden setting, outdoors, exquisite

Good for: Alone, dates, small and large groups

When-To-Go: Daily, 4 – 7 p.m. for happy hour

The $$ Factor: Apps, $5; cocktails, $9; beers & wines, $6 - $7

The 4-1-1: Originally named Hotel Hunt and once owned by Charlie Chaplin, the Culver Hotel is an official National Historic Landmark, too

Parking Situation:
Nearby valet and city parking structures

I’ll Be Back…: For the Atlantic Salmon Tartare and Lavender Collins!

I’m loving this amazing summer weather — I must admit, I’ve been looking forward to it all year long.

One of the reasons why I adore this season so much is because there are so many super cute patios around the city to enjoy a nice cocktail and a few nibbles.

Somewhere in particular that’s always been on my radar is the historic Culver Hotel, right in the heart of downtown Culver City. Many restaurants may come and go around it (and trust me, there have been plenty), but this beauty has firmly stood its ground for almost 100 years. Originally opening in 1924, it’s a breathtaking masterpiece to behold. It has a grandiose European flair that nods to a classic era long gone. Within the main lobby, there's an impeccable fireplace in the main lobby, plum wine drapery covering massive ceiling-to-floor windows and Renaissance-styled touches in everything from the chandeliers to the intricate ornamentation on the top of the columns.

Outside in the French Garden, pictured below, it’s just as equally gorgeous. Shrubbery surrounds individual seating to create secluded hideaways; strings of lights and bird cages delicately hang from the canopy of trees above, adding a touch of charm. Whether it’s at the high top tables, the Parisian style café tables or next to the worn wooden tables, there’s literally no bad place to grab a seat here!

The daily happy hour features ten colorful cocktails and six different “Chef’s Bites,” along with beers and wines. What blew me away was the price point for the quality. There aren’t many places you can grab $5 appetizers that are both well-portioned and quite tasty, or $9 cocktails that have as much flair as the ones here.

Food options seem to grab their inspiration from around the globe — there are Morrocan Spiced Nuts Furikake Green Beans and Polenta Fries Marinara & Parmesan. My favorite so far is the Atlantic Salmon Tartare, pictured below. I love all of the flavors in it and it’s great to share.

Out of the cocktails, I’ve tried the Lavender Collins, pictured below, a subtly sweet concoction of crème de Violette, lemon juice, lavender syrup and lavender spring. There’s a nice range of other options, too — whether you’re looking for rum, gin, brandy, tequila or whiskey.

And, make sure to save room for dessert! Although it’s technically not on the happy hour menu and probably about 50,000 calories, the Crème Brûlée de Jour, pictured below, is so. freakin. good. The custard filling is just the right amount of sweetness without being overbearing and the texture is just the right amount of thickness.

Also not on the happy hour menu but still worth the splurge is The Ruby Slipper, pictured below. It’s a delectable blend of vodka, raspberries, agave nectar, lime juice and sparkling wine.

So, the next time you’re in the mood for a beautiful cocktail to sip and decadent appetizers to munch on — all in an enchanted garden setting — I recommend checking out Culver Hotel’s French Garden. The ambiance alone is enough to keep me coming back for more.

See you there soon!

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