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Classic Los Angeles: A Day at the Beach, Then on to Neptune's Net

The illusive, secluded Malibu beach.
The illusive, secluded Malibu beach.
N. Galuten

If you grew up in Los Angeles, there are certain food-related things that you just wound up doing, or at least should have. Among them is a day at the beach followed by beer and food at Neptune's Net in Malibu. It's a day that, once completed, will make you love your friends, your life, and your city a whole lot more than you did when you woke up that morning.

Beer and clam chowder work strangely well after a day of sunstroke.
Beer and clam chowder work strangely well after a day of sunstroke.
N. Galuten

Your day should begin relatively early, with a text message from a friend that simply says "Beach?". You'll throw on a swimsuit, cram into the waiting car, then head north on the PCH, searching for that elusive, secluded stretch of beach (I have found such a beach, but sadly, am not allowed to reveal its location). If you forgot to eat before you left, and it's a weekend, stop at the Hows market on Trancas for tri-tip sandwiches.

The fried seafood sampler is especially good after ingesting salt water.
The fried seafood sampler is especially good after ingesting salt water.
N. Galuten

Once beached, exhausted and now furiously hungry, it's time to drive further north (depending on your friends, the car stereo will either be blasting Neil Young's "Zuma" or a compilation of classic Necrophagist), to the biker nesting ground that is Neptune's Net. Neptune's, for reasons that cannot be explained, is always, always, a further drive than you think. But when you finally arrive, you'll be starving, and their clunky fried sampler plate, fresh steamed clams, and creamy, buttery clam chowder, eaten alongside a tall bottle of Newcastle or can of Steel Reserve, are certain to satisfy you. Normally, the food at Neptune's can be a bit under-seasoned, but that's why you swallowed all that salt water before you arrived.

Neptune's Net: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, CA 90265, (310) 457-3095, http://www.neptunesnet.com/