Mani’s on Maple: the Happiest Hour
Around happy hour, I’m usually in Downtown Los Angeles where there are many enjoyable happy hour joints. However, I was invited to Beverly Hills last week to check out Mani’s on Maple and so I was off to the Westside. If I wasn’t such a happy hour fan, I think I would have stuck to my “suits” happy hours where the business wear clad happily quaff.
But my eyes were opened at Mani’s. There are young people here! Or at least the more casually clad. Although I’m not overly fond of the untucked pinstriped shirt look (god forbid if they wear seashell necklaces and flip flops), the vibe was noticeably different. This is due to the fact Mani’s is located near the offices of a large social media outlet (ahem, Myspace).
I never managed to visit the Mani’s on Main or the Mani’s on Fairfax (now both closed). After an ex had told me they were “hippie” and flavored their baked goods with apple juice, I sort of lost interest. But I was assured no, this Mani’s on Maple was just about fresh and GREAT tasting food.
As it turned out, the night I was there, they were having a huge in-building happy hour. Those who worked in the building got to try out the hand-crafted specialty cocktails and food for the amazing price of $2 each. This was incredible as the normal price of happy hour is extremely affordable anyway. Drinks and food are $6. SIX DOLLARS. I don’t know how they can do it. The food is fresh and not your average deep-fried filler finger foods.
We ordered everything on the menu; heirloom tomato bruschetta, olive oil poached tuna salad, slow roasted salmon salad, ceviche, both skewers (tofu/ butternut squash and beef) as well as sliders. For the sliders, you had a choice of grain/nut (with wheat bun), moroccan lamb, bbq short ribs, turkey or beef.
I started off with the Ward 8 which I’ve been seeing as the cocktail of choice from intrepid bloggers who visited Mani’s on Maple before me. This Ward 8 was slightly too tart for me. Usually this is one of my favorite bourbon cocktails but perhaps I’d ask for a touch more bourbon next time. On the other hand, the fresh lime daiquiri was wonderfully piquant and delicious. The tartness was expected and balanced.
The charmoule marinated skewers are served with whole wheat pita. I didn’t try the veggie one but thought the beef could have used more seasoning. Then again, you can swipe it through the yoghurt sauce and be pretty happy. If I hadn’t just had Bar B Kosher earlier in the day, I probably would have liked the skewers a bit more.
I also didn’t try the salmon salad though it looked great with the farmers’ market peaches and bleu cheese. I was indulging in the bruschetta and the olive oil poached tuna salad instead with the fennel, cherry tomatoes, olives (kind of reminded me of a nicoise salad in a way). I wish I had tried the ceviche which was an explosion of color but I was trying to save room for dinner.
I will definitely have to come back for another happy hour. I want to try so many other classic cocktails on their list including the Moscow Mule, Classic Pimm’s Cup and Bees’ Knees.
Two happy hours weekdays- 3-7 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. Food & cocktails only $6.
345 N. Maple Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210