The Local Peasant

On Saturday I joined up with my good friend Amber for a visit to the Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks (on Ventura). I parked in the Ralph’s across the street to avoid the valet charge. Ralphs has signs saying they offer free parking up to 2 hours, although it’s not metered and no one takes a ticket… so I’m not sure how they track that. I highly recommend parking there. I crossed Ventura looking for the entrance, and looped around to the valet area. Still a little lost, I followed a couple who just valeted their car, as the went back to the street and found a practically unmarked entrance. The door had a faint graphic of the logo, but other than that there was nothing suggesting an entrance. So hidden.

The restaurant had window booths (although the windows have diffusion on them, making it practically opaque and only letting in the glow of the street lights), and also long bar style tables. Amber and I took a corner booth. We met up at 6pm for an early dinner, and you can see from the photo of the restaurant it was only starting to fill with patrons.

Amber was a little disappointed that they no longer had two of the items that she enjoyed a lot the first time she came, but in fairness to the Local Peasant, the food they brought was delicious. I got the portobello burger. I normally am hit-or-miss with portobello, and this was so tasty. It had an onion ring in it, which added a crunch. The avocado added a creaminess to it and made for a beautiful presentation. I mean, this is a bar and yet not your average bar food. It also had tomatoes and sprouts with a topping of fresh mozzarella and a pesto drizzle. OMG, so good.

Did I mention it was cheap, around $20 total for the meal, beer and tip? After the bill was payed and it was time to part ways, I grabbed this photo along Ventura waiting to walk back to my car. The sky has been especially dramatic lately. At least it makes for some beautiful commutes home after work.

Miceli’s

On Friday night, my sister invited me to Miceli’s to use one of her Groupons. The deal was a 3 course meal for $15 (1 appetizer, 1 salad, and 1 pizza). If this deal comes up again, get it!

We made reservations for 8pm at their Universal location. Parking was a little tricky as it was Friday night along Ventura Blvd, but they offered valet (for a cost) or you could search for a spot along the narrow winding side streets leading up into the hills (like I did, because Im a proud cheapskate). I was running a little behind because of an accident on the 101 (per usual), so when I finally found a parking spot and walked half a mile down to the restaurant I was about 11 minutes late. As I walked up to the door of Miceli’s, a family was exiting the restaurant with the mother saying “Im glad we got here when we did, because if you get here after 7p, forget’aboutit!” I continued in, thankful Erica made reservations because the waiting area was packed with people. I apologized for being late and she said that even with the reservation she was told it would be a 15 mintue wait, which was perfect timing given my tardiness. After a few minutes of chatting, Erica’s name was called out by a man with a cone shaped bullhorn. We made our way through a packed restaurant to a back area where they gave the 2 of us a table for 4, which was great because it gave us room to spread out (a rarity at a packed LA restaurant).


This place was like being in a cartoon. The walls are covered in murals representing “old Italy” and hundred’s of chianti bottles in signed straw baskets strung around the restaurant as decoration. In the center of the restaurant a band was set-up. Occasionally the wait staff would get their 15 minutes of fame, jump up there and belt out a song. While singing they also walked around the restaurant with the microphone to make all sections feel included. On this Friday night there was a tween birthday party happening in a section behind out table, which meant the songs karaoke’d were mostly Miley and Bieber (not my favorite, but it made them happy).

When using a Groupon you have to present it while ordering, which basically implies to the waitress, I’m a cheapo that uses coupons. Don’t get me wrong, I love Groupon but when presenting it right off the bat, it always makes me think the service will be less than stellar because the waiter knows we won’t be spending a lot of money. At Miceli’s I was proven wrong, the waitstaff was excellent. Our waitress was a woman in her late forties (?), and she was extremely attentive constantly refilling our drinks and checking in with us. Considering it was a packed restaurant, it was all the more impressive.

Our Groupon allowed us one appetizer (we chose the fried zucchini), one salad (perfect for 2 people), and one pizza. We chose the large veggie pizza, but the deal was even good on their fancier pizzas (up to a $22 regularly priced pizza). What a deal! The food was delicious, the live music and crowds were entertaining, and the service was great. My sister and I each left with a doggie bag of 2 pieces of pizza each, and the total spent on the Groupon and tip came to $22. I highly recommend Miceli’s for families and groups, and remember to make a reservation!

Photo taken from Yelp.com