The Nina, The Pina, The Santa Monica is the name of my favourite cocktail in the world and you can only get it on Connie & Ted’s Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood. That is if anyone else attempts to make it it’s never going to be with such artistry. Can I list the reasons why I love it so much? For a start it looks beautiful with its little polka dots. Imagine – a polka dot cocktail. It tastes sensational. It’s made with mescal, pineapple, honey, basil oil, lemon and black pepper. I can even convince myself it’s healthy. Pineapple is antioxidant heavy and the best thing for a cough – I discovered it when I was coughing and spluttering fresh off a plane from London. Mescal, well, Mescal is the new tequila, tequila is the new gin and gin is the new vodka. The combination of these ingredients are heaven sent.
The cocktail list at Connie and Ted’s is endlessly delicious. The Bourne in East LA is tequila tamarind, line, Mexican mole bitters, hellfire bitters and soda. They even came up with one called Brexit. Gin, amaretto, maraschino, lemon, orange and walnut bitters. It’s the only kind of Brexit that’s palatable, right? Let’s just say the cocktail list is inspired. Connie and Ted’s has more than earned its stripes as a wonderful fish and shellfish restaurant, inspired by the classic clam shacks and fish houses of the New England sea board.
I’m not a fish fan but I’m a Connie and Ted’s fan. They do a wonderful Happy Hour where you sit at the bar and sample their exquisite snacks and drinks. It’s not really a scene but it’s super cosy and friendly but in a chic way. For instance I’m quite happy to go there alone and find someone to talk to, even if it’s just the barman. You can watch people ordering crazy things like raw uni – sea urchin. It comes with all its hedgehoggy tendrils. Sorry I’m too faint hearted to try it but people do and it’s always a drama. Going ‘oooh’ and ‘errrrr’.
The partner and chef of Connie and Ted’s is Michael Cimarust. He is from the acclaimed Providence restaurant and before that he mastered seafood as a line cook at Le Cirque in New York and then as a sous chef at Spago. He named Connie and Ted’s in honour of his grandparents who took him fishing and made Michael clean and fillet the day’s catch. Ted passed away January 1, 1996 but obviously lives on forever in this gorgeous and unique restaurant that brings East Coast to West Coast and back again. And always with wonderful style.
By Chrissy Iley