I’m gonna make what may be considered by some a controversial statement: I really like Long Beach, you guys.
For my birthday a few weeks ago, Mark and I took a short jaunt south to spend a leisurely Saturday with our little pup. In the morning, we lounged at Portfolio Coffeehouse, then headed over to the Belmont Shore area to scout out food options. Making our way through the diverse crowds of weekenders wandering the main thoroughfare, we decided to stop at the very cute Tavern on 2 for a pleasantly surprising lunch.
The inside dining area is fairly small, resembling both in square feet and décor a garage. We, however, nabbed a table on the patio area out front to accommodate Pliny – the dog, not the beer. Speaking of beer, Tavern on 2 has a pretty decent craft beer list. We tipped back a few Stone Ruinations (below) while we enjoyed the warm February afternoon.
We had relatively low expectations for the food - we'd never really heard anyone cite Long Beach as a food destination. Those expectations were wiped away with the first dish of the meal, the beef oxtail poutine. The meat, braised until fall-off-the-bone tender in a luscious burgundy red wine reduction, rested on top of cheddar cheese curds and unnecessarily good duck fat fries. A gut-bomb, but an amazingly delicious one.
After the poutine, we thought it would be smart to order some veggies. The roasted cauliflower (below, left), tossed with thyme, Spanish cold press olive oil, citrus salt, fried capers was simple and elegant. The pan-roasted Brussels sprouts (below, right), made with apple wood bacon, cipolini onions, white balsamic vinegar and a fig reduction, were wilted a little bit more than we typically like our mini-cabbages, but still very flavorful.
By the time the Tavern on 2 burger hit our table, we were uncomfortably full. Somehow, we still managed to take a few bites of the Paso Prime Ranch beef burger, which came monstrously heaped with brie cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and Tavern On 2 signature ketchup sauce on a brioche bun. There could've been more char on the burger and the bun, and there is a LOT going on here, but I’d venture to say it’s a burger that would not embarrass itself in L.A.’s gourmet burger arena. And the excellent, thick-cut housemade chips are a great accompaniment.
We rolled ourselves out of there very, very satisfied – almost too satisfied, as we had to fight off food comas to make it to the off-leash dog beach to play with the puppy. All in all, a really wonderful experience in the LBC, and all due respect to Mr. Snoop D-O-double-G, completely drama-free. We will absolutely be visiting again soon, especially with springtime on the horizon!