Question: Frankly, I don’t remember ever having sweater weather so late in Los Angeles. Global warming, I know, I know, but for a while in early May, it felt like the Ice Age was coming back, complete with the woolly mammoths. Anyway, now that it’s hot again and God is in Her own kingdom, it is time to eat outdoors again. Any great ideas on the Eastside?
—Cecile, Silver Lake
Answer: When it stays hot at night, it’s time to gravitate toward the thatched veranda at the original Cha Cha Cha at the eastern end of Melrose, still painted in bright, flat Caribbean colors, still pumping out tropical rhythms, still turning out the same great empanadas and spicy shrimp and fennel-scented corn chowder that made the place so popular in the late 1980s. Restaurant fashions may come and go, but a sweaty bottle of Red Stripe is eternal. Still, there is something awfully compelling about Cliff’s Edge, the stylish Silver Lake nightspot that is less a restaurant with a dining patio than a secret garden that just happens to have a restaurant attached to it. The bruschettas may be a little under-realized, the pastas overcooked, the salads less composed than assembled, but the vaguely Italianesque Californian food is mostly pleasant, and the tiny lights, soaring stands of bamboo, and terraced tables are magical on a hot night. I remember liking this space 15 years ago when it was a girls’ bar that hosted the occasional floating dance club, and it is even nicer lubricated with Pinot Grigio than it was as an eternal fountain of Bud. Cliff’s Edge, 3626 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 666-6116. Got a burning culinary question? Try us: firstname.lastname@example.org