Some days you are out walking your people when the urge to eat a good meal strikes. We were walking in Irvine with my friend Tank, and decided we would take them to the Lazy Dog Cafe, our preferred restaurant. I’m Hamish, by the way, and being a Scottish Terrier from a very distinguished background and with excellent gourmet tastes, I know where to find a good meal that makes my people happy. At Lazy Dog Cafe in Torrance they have a nice setup. Inside the restaurant all the people who don’t have dogs usually eat. They must be cat lovers—I can’t understand that, since that cat Funky at home always runs away when I ask her to play. What kind of fun is that? Tank, who is an English Bulldog, is very aristocratic and social and really enjoyed his walk to our patio table. Tank and I sat on the outside patio, greeting the other dogs as they went past. Airedales, Jack Russell terriers, poodles and chihuahuas were there. Even a little lab pup who was barely old enough to talk, said hello. Tank and I discussed Lazy Dog’s “secret menu” and what looked good to us today.
First of all, they took our drink order. Tank and I each ordered a nice bowl of water to start, while one of my people got a Hawaii Five O, which is a Hawaiian version of a Long Island Ice Teas. I let my other person order a drink called a High West Manhattan, while Tank’s people got a drink called an Strawberry Basil Mojito, with rum, triple sec, fresh basil, fresh strawberries, lime and more. I did eavesdrop on the conversation a bit and heard that the drinks were good, especially the Manhattan, a nice mix of High West rye whiskey and vermouth, which came with some very interesting Luxardo Cherries on the side. They are dark, somewhat tart, cherries and not sugary sweet. The Basil Strawberry Mojito was said to be a refreshing, unique and delicious drink.
The waitress came back and got ready to take our order. Part of why Tank and I like this place is that it has a “secret menu”. He ordered a chicken breast and I ordered a hamburger patty. We could also have ordered carrot sticks or rice (brown or white) as healthy dog choices, but we were out on the town tonight so the meat sounded good to both of us. For $3.95 the burger and chicken are a good deal. So reasonable, in fact, Tank and I let our people treat us today.
One of my people ordered a Turkey Burger and the other, one of the house specialties. This was a seasonal dish, the lamb shank. Tank’s people ordered some stir-fry kung pao chicken, chicken tortilla soup and a pulled pork flatbread. I was in my owner’s lap when the food came, so I got to see what the people’s food looked like. The chicken tortilla soup looked great, with chunks of tomato,tortilla chips and chicken floating in it and a nice grilled corn tortilla on the side. The house salad that came with the kung pao looked good too and was certainly a generous size.
When the main course came, I barely had time to see my people’s food before mine came. My hamburger patty was nicely cooked and delicious. Tank’s chicken looked very good too, a generous portion of nice big chunks of white meat that he definitely enjoyed.
My people’s food looked very good. The turkey burger was garnished nicely and I heard her say the taste was very good, with a nice piece of Swiss cheese and some nice avocado wedges on the side. There was also a little cup of cole slaw on the side. To me, it looked like my other person had chosen wisely. The lamb shank was big and meaty, topped with a burgundy-thyme gravy and served with mashed potatoes and sauteed baby spinach. I heard talk of it being so tender that it practically fell off the bone, as well as being extremely delicious. My taste buds perked up at the thought of that lamb bone, hoping that soon it would be mine. In the mean time, I got back to my burger.
Tank’s people had ordered the Kung Pao Chicken and it looked like a good version of that famous Chinese stir-fry dish, with fresh scallions, red peppers and lots of chicken chunks in a red, not too fiery sauce. The dish was garnished with plenty of peanuts. It came with a nice cup of rice on the side. Tank’s other person ordered the flatbread. It looked nice, with a thin crust and colorful toppings. I heard them say how nice it was that they had such an eclectic choice of items representing so many ethnic cuisines as well as nice American dishes. I too felt it was good, at least for a gourmet dog like myself that knows about the “secret menu”.
Dinner was finished, and everyone was having nice conversations. Tank seemed to be hitting on a cute beagle across the way. There was only one to go container on the table and I hoped it was for me. Why do they call them doggie bags anyways—people almost never give the bags to us the next day! The patio was still packed with people and dogs sitting around the outside fireplace having drinks. Most importantly, the dogs I passed said they were having a good time. The lab puppy was just ahead of us on the way out and everyone thought she was so cute. I bet they won’t say that when she is full grown and 100 pounds!
The next day, I got my lamb bone, a little of the spinach and some of the mashed potatoes. My person had said it was excellent and I agreed. The thyme-burgundy gravy was great and the marrow in the perfectly braised bone wonderful. I spent a long time enjoying that bone. I think I’ll bring my people back here more often.
Del Amo Fashion Center
3525 West Carson Street
Torrance CA 90503