Santa Monica: All Aboard The Independence
The Independence just opened in Santa Monica in the space of a former Buddah’s Belly. It’s named after the old railway line that wended its way from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. The Metro Expo line is currently being extended to Santa Monica and everyone is very excited since one of the new stops will be near the Promenade, just steps away from The Independence Tavern.
The first cocktail to catch my eye was the LA Speedway. I love Amaro Braulio and knew I had to try this gin cocktail. It’s perfect for those who prefer stirred cocktails.
LA Speedway – gin, Amaro Nonino, Amaro Braulio, rhubarb bitters, celery bitters
We also checked out the arranci with butternut squash. These were quite filling and this would be a great app to be shared with a group of four or two if you were only doing apps.
I know grilled octopus is trendy but The Independence serves up a good dish with nicely chewy octopuss. I really liked the addition of beans and grapes to keep it light.
Buenos Ayres (pronounced like Aires) was a little bit on the sweet side. I was a little surprised the stone pine liqueur didn’t keep it more herbaceous but it is a rum drink with maraschino. Perhaps I’d ask for only half the rim to be sugared next time.
Buenos Ayres – Jamaican rum, maraschino liqueur, stone pine liqueur, lemon, Curtis smoked banana bitters, cayenne pepper, sugared rim
The lamb ragu was a warm, comforting pasta. I loved the wide flat noodles and the mountain of fresh cheese. Really nice sauce which can make or break a pasta sometimes. This one was a success.
The Independence sent out a couple of drinks for us to try including the vodka-based Sawtelle. It’s perfect for spring and would be a good drink to whet the appetite. I’ll have to investigate the Curtis line of bitters because I was really intrigued by the lime bitters and the smoked banana ones in another drink.
Sawtelle – citron vodka, kumquats, blood orange, house honey-ginger syrup, Curtis lime bitters
I can’t help but order mushrooms every time I see them. These wild mushrooms were served with a poached egg making it a suitable meal for veggies and meat lovers alike.
Another great drink to start a meal with or have during your dinner would be the Campanula Sour. It was pretty juicy like a punch rather than a stiff cocktail. With the bell pepper, it’s definitely a food-friendly drink.
Campanula Sour – grapefruit vodka, elderflower liqueur, red bell pepper, mint, Jerry Thomas bitters
The Independence also sent out dessert. How could we leave without trying a bite of the warm brownie? We couldn’t and you definitely shouldn’t. It’s the perfect size after a fun meal.