First Fridays on Abbot Kinney -- a monthly cultural event where retailers in Venice showcase their goods while sometimes providing live music, appetizers and cocktails -- has lately seemed to center more around food trucks than local businesses. During the dinner rush last Friday night, hordes of tipsy and hungry Angelenos scurried to popular food trucks including Grilled Cheese Truck, Barbie's Q, and Fishlips at the Brig, on the corner of Abbot Kinney and Palms Boulevard, to take their place in massive lines which seemed to have a longer wait than Gjelina--starting at nearly two hours to eat at the bar.
"Trust me, it's worth it," one young man shouted to his friend fighting to snag a place in line at the Border Grill truck. Bright lights flashed from police patrol cars at nearly every street corner, as cops pulled over drivers for making U-turns and other infractions. Police officers firmly instructed cars blocking traffic while waiting for the valet in front of Wabi Sabi to find alternate parking, which was scarce on the street.
Galleries, jewelry stores, and smoke shops stayed open late, selling photography, hand-made crafts, and baked goods laced with marijuana. Shima, a small organic sushi restaurant, had the shortest wait of 20 minutes, and served fresh brown-rice sushi, grilled shishito peppers, miso soup with spicy sardine balls, black cod with Asian mountain peaches, and soju encased in its own ice bowl. By nearly midnight the crowd had died down, couples stumbled off to hail taxis, cops dispersed, and all that remained was the sound of a guitar and voice of a young female street performer.