Tasty Places :: La Vida Cantina

Tasty Places :: La Vida Cantina

It is finished. And that means that I’m just beginning again. I finished my half marathon on Sunday and I did so without my knee exploding or falling off. And this means that training for the (full) Los Angeles Marathon is back on. Yay.

Can you feel the enthusiasm?

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I do this. Groan when I’m ailing – bemoaning the pain, jealous of those jogging the parks, the sidewalks as I drive; but lazy, hopelessly tired when well; full of gripes. But if running were easy, I suppose everyone would do it.

A big motivator for these runs – in addition to the heavy medals we get after crossing the finish line – is food. I eat plenty of it while training, and always enjoy a hearty meal after one of these big races. Sunday’s Surf City Marathon was no exception, three of my favorite homies heading to Costa Mesa with me to replenish and refuel after 13.1 grueling miles.

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It was a first half marathon for my friends Sandy (aka the work wife) and Julio, both of whom survived and are hungry for another medal (OC is up next in the Beach Cities Challenge). Our friend Kristina, Julio’s partner Gil (who brought a congratulatory cake from 85 Degrees), and two of our kids met us at our restaurant of refuge, La Vida Cantina at The Triangle. I admit that what kept me going on Sunday was knowing that, eventually, I’d have my lips wrapped ’round a straw, sipping a salty-sweet margarita post-race. Maybe my runner’s high was still kicking in; maybe it was my beloved company; but I have to say that my experience at La Vida was one of the best I’ve had in a while.

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The service was part of this. Perhaps we got lucky, but our waiter (didn’t catch his name) charmed us; treated us to fabulous service. Funny and responsive, he and the rest of the crew made us feel comfortable and welcome.

We also enjoyed the setting, our seats outside The Triangle’s rooftop patio. You can’t beat a SoCal February, the temperature a idyllic 70 degrees. I could have chilled there all afternoon, and probably would have had it not been Super Bowl Sunday and in a hurry to get home (more for the commercials, though I crashed and missed the entire first half). If close to home, La Vida would be a definite “kick it” spot, especially on Sundays for their brunch, the “B” word bringing me to a third reason for my La Vida love…

Their food! Both sumptuous and reasonably priced. Those who know me are aware of my fondness for enchiladas suizas, especially from Los Compadres – all other suizas are compared to theirs. This is what I ordered at La Vida, and I have to say that their version held up pretty well to LC’s; not as creamy but with more fire to them. Don’t know if I can really compare, truthfully. The La Vida suizas certainly satisfied and left me wanting more. And their margarita delighted me; made me forget about my heavy fatigue, my pain (while not acute as it had been, my knee still gave me a little trouble). Lesson learned here, La Vida Cantina is a wonderful go-to spot after a race, and anytime. If it weren’t so far away, I’d designate it as my crashing spot after LA. I have a feeling however that, after 26 miles, I will stop, drop, and eat at the first alcohol-serving hole-in-the-wall I’m able to find near the finish line. But thank you, La Vida Cantina, for treating us to a wonderful time after Surf City!

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La Vida Cantina
1870 Harbor Blvd. in Costa Mesa

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