Think there aren't any restaurants open late in L.A.? Residents who work late beg to differ. Rebecca Pardess and Drew Johnson, a couple who both work long hours, have their local just down the hill from their house.
Silver Lake is known for its aloof hipsters, but Rebecca Pardess and her boyfriend Drew Johnson have found a neighborhood spot where everyone knows their name. Rebecca, an associate producer on a daytime show, spends long hours writing promotional copy about health issues that scare her. ("Tune in to hear about this new way people are dying!") Drew, her long-time boyfriend, is a cinematographer who gets home late after shoots that, usually, go into overtime.
They're not your typical "industry couple." They don't drop names or talk film noir. Instead, they take advantage of the little time they have together by walking to their corner bar, Edendale, when their long days are done.
Edendale is huge, a gigantic cavern of Silver Lake cool, with two outside patios and a long bar. I ask for the house Cabernet, and I'm surprised at how delicious it is. Rebecca and Drew lead me to one of their favorite comfy tables to talk "Girls Gone Wild" and coyotes.
Laurenne: So, this is your spot?
Rebecca: Yes. I'd say we come here once a week. At least. Sometimes three times a week. It depends.
Laurenne: Why do you like it so much?
Drew: So many reasons. It's relaxing. The food is really good. There are always several bartenders so there's never a wait. Plus, a lot of people probably walked here. We see the same people all the time, and the bartender knows us. In LA, the neighborhood bar thing is really rare.
Rebecca: We live up the hill, so it's super easy to get to. Getting home is the hard part because we have to walk up a hill. And there are coyotes. But it's worth the risk. Plus, I've usually had a few dirty martinis by then, so I'm not scared.
Rebecca leaves to get her first dirty martini of the night. The vodka sloshes over three green olives as she brings it back to the table.
Rebecca: They make the best dirty.
Drew: Oh, and the place used to be a firehouse.
Rebecca: Yeah, they converted it
Drew: The architecture is really cool.
Rebecca: Yeah, and this whole area used to be called Edendale before it was Silver Lake. I like how they're representing the past. Oh, and I love that there are no "Girls Gone Wild" chicks here and no frat boys.
Drew: Yeah, nobody comes to Edendale to 'bro out.'
Rebecca's face contorts and she starts to panic.
Rebecca: Oh no! We're going to be the worst interview for you. We're not single. You're totally looking for 'Girls Gone Wild' chicks who have crazy stories. We're a couple. And we come here after our jobs because we work crazy hours and we can walk here. How boring!
Laurenne: You're not boring. You're drinking dirty martinis together and you take on coyotes to get home. Come on. How long have you been together?
Drew: Since freshman year of college.
Rebecca: He called me 'green eyes' at a party, and I loved it. And then we took some breaks for a while. After we broke up the second time, Drew moved away for a bit. When he moved back, we decided to see each other once so that it wouldn't be awkward if we ran into each other randomly.
Drew: And then we saw each other...
Rebecca: And now we've been living together for almost 3 years.
Laurenne: On a scale from one to ten, how much do you love each other?
Rebecca: Me too! I was gonna say eleven.
They're so cute, I have to stop being mad (read: jealous) at them.
Laurenne: So, would you say that Edendale keeps you together?
Rebecca: Sure! We both work pretty late, so this is our place to catch up.
Drew: We take advantage of the little time we have by drinking together at Edendale.
Rebecca: And they have a special late-night menu just for us.
Laurenne: Is it good?
Rebecca: I don't remember. I'm pretty drunk by late night.
Laurenne: Why do you like to drink so much?
Rebecca: Because reality sucks.
Drew: We're not raging alcoholics or anything.
Rebecca: Well, on the weekends we are.
Drew: The couple that drinks together, stays together.
Laurenne: So, your favorite thing on the menu is the dirty martini?
Drew: I go with Amstel Light.
Rebecca: And the food is great too. I swear. I mean, they make the best dirty, but the food can't be ignored.
Plates stream out of the kitchen and land on our table. We've ordered a little bit of everything: shrimp and goat cheese pastries, a Niman Ranch burger, mushroom potstickers in lemongrass-ginger-coconut milk, a grilled cheese and tomato soup, and vol-au-vent, a puff pastry filled with beef short ribs, pasta, mushrooms, peas, shallots, and balsamic caramelized onions. I have to say I'm impressed. This is not bar food.
Rebecca: See? Isn't this place the best? This shrimp pastry tastes like China and Greece had a baby.
Laurenne: I love the lemongrass. I feel like I'm in Cambodia.
Rebecca: Everything is flakey and satisfying. It's comforting and buttery with a slight tang.
Rebecca: Oh! I had my 26th birthday party here. I drank about 10 dirty martinis that night. That was a crazy night, but awesome because the courtyard here is so perfect for a birthday party. It can hold lots of people.
Drew: Perfect for smokers.
Rebecca: OH! And we've made out in the photo booth. Is that cool? We have a million photo booth pictures on our fridge. Oh, and I have hooked a lot of my single friends up here. There are such cool, good-looking people here, and I like to be a wingwoman because I have nothing to lose.
Laurenne: Does that usually work?
Rebecca: I've never really seen any long-term relationships come out of it.
Long-term relationships are rare in LA, especially stable seven-year ones whose members both agree they love each other at an eleven out of ten. Maybe drinking together really does do the trick. I will be at Elendale later in case anyone is interested in testing the theory.
Photos by Shane Redsar
The Edendale Grill
2838 Rowena Ave., 323-666-2000
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