I have been really excited to eat lunch at Urth Caffe in Santa Monica since becoming a Venice Beach resident. It's the place my friend Mark and I would go on all of my visits to see him over the past few years and when I was planning on moving here I relished the idea that I could pop into the cafe at whim and order up one of their urth-ly delights, because the food can be really good. Great matcha drinks in all different forms, luscious organic salads, interesting wraps, gobo teas, magnificent muffins and more.
But, the other day when I went to lunch there I realized that all my prior visits must have been filled with that kind of "ignore-your-wallet" mentality that allows us to plop down more than average dollars for items we normally wouldn't even consider spending that kind of dough for when we are on vacation or away from our home towns.
Yes, they have mastered the art of cappuccino foam art, but so has Groundwork where you file into a tiny hole in the wall space, get greeted by a jovial girl commandeering the espresso machine and get to read your daily horoscope that they paste on the counter top daily with care in a very grassroots and personalized way.
This whole meal cost me $16. That's not a dinner plate, but a small side plate of salad. And it's only the half order. Urth Salad is a yummy thing with hearts of pine, garbanzo beans, feta cheese and artisanal lettuces but notice the only two tiny tomatoes? Very delicious ginger, carrot, celery and beet juice as well but it came to me warm.
The place is always super packed, customer service doesn't seem to be high on anyone's mind, and it's oftentimes hard to find seating. I can do better at the Venice Farmer's Market and recreate that salad anytime at home. I'm over Urth and not likely to go back anytime soon.