Piknic, even better than a picnic!

There’s a wonderful little restaurant in Playa Vista that my soon-to-be-husband and I like to frequent – Piknic.

We heard about this great place from a couple of friends who lived nearby. When Dan and I found ourselves trying to figure out what to do for dinner one night, we decided to try Piknic out. Boy, were we glad we did because this awesome restaurant has quickly become one of our favorites.

Dan started out with the fried calamari while I opted for the “healthier” option of the Piknic Basket salad. The fried calamari was decent, not rubbery or chewy and not too heavily breaded. The salad is something I vividly remember and highly recommend. A wonderful array of mangoes, apple, berries, sunflower seeds, Roquefort cheese, candied pecans tossed with greens and a savory balsamic vinaigrette, this salad could serve as a meal on its own. The sweet fruitiness played well with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and the nuttiness of the pecans and helped tame the very strong cheese.

For our main course, Dan, being the carnivore, opted for a well-done steak. I went with their mac n’ cheese. The steak was delicious, flavorful and cooked to order. Their mac n’ cheese is a mixture of penne with a rich cheese sauce, sausage, shrimp and chicken. It’s a very heavy dish and I could only eat half of it after the salad. As far as mac n’ cheese goes, this has to be one of the better ones, definitely NOT your Kraft or Velveeta. It certainly was cheesy but I would have preferred a little more sauce as I am an avid fan of cheese. The sausage, chicken and shrimp were a wonderful addition, making this take on a classic dish a bit more upscale and sophisticated.

Of course, we had to have dessert. The tray came around and the selection made it hard for me to choose one. Dan opted for some sort of rich chocolate concoction – a box of hardened chocolate with a ganache/mousse filling – a must for anyone who is a chocolate lover. I went with some sort of berry-licious evil that had me forcing myself to finish it despite reaching the point of bursting.

Since that first visit, we’ve returned many times, mainly for brunch. They serve breakfast only on the weekends till 2pm.

The first brunch we had there, I opted for the smoked salmon omelet. The salmon was a bit fishy so I wasn’t completely thrilled with it. However, the lox and bagel platter is something I’ve ordered several times. Simple and delicious, the salmon has a wonderful smoked flavor, the bagel perfectly toasted and with a side of a generous-sized lump of cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions and capers, this dish is a filling yet somewhat light breakfast. The lox benedict is another dish that is worth ordering for breakfast or brunch. A twist on the traditional eggs benedict, smoked salmon replaces ham and the hollandaise sauce is infused with dill. And they don’t kid around with portions. Instead of 2 benedicts, you get 3 along with a side of fruit or potatoes.

They also offer people the option of creating their own omelets, offering up less-than-common toppings such as asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, veggie sausage, goat cheese and feta along with the usual culprits.

Their pancakes are another thing to come here for. Huge, fluffy and incredibly tasty, they offer up a small variety, including lemon-blueberry and banana-chocolate chip (with or without raisins). They also have an almond-encrusted french toast which is another one of my favorite dishes.

For lunch, their burgers are savory and huge, and their sweet potato fries addictive. They also offer up wraps and a wide variety of salads.

Another item on the menu that I absolutely adore is the banana date smoothie. I order this practically every time we go there for brunch. The dates soften the strong banana flavor and is a wonderful way to get in that glass of milk in the morning.

They also feature a full bar if you want a place to go for a couple of drinks and appetizers. They have a fenced patio with a fire pit and comfortable seats that makes this place a warm location to hang out.

The Catty Critic gives Piknic 4 NOMs.

Piknic
13020 Pacific Promenade
Playa Vista, CA 90094
http://www.piknic.us
M-F 11am-11pm
Sat-Sun 8am-12pm
Price: $$ ($30-40/couple without alcohol)
Piknic on Urbanspoon

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