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yesterday cam turned 39. so old! (sorry, cam.)

we had a little celebratory lunch at rice in manhattan beach. rice is a little sushi place run by a former shojin employee, shojin being a delightful little vegan sushi restaurant in little tokyo. where shojin is dark and mysterious (kind of funny considering it's located in a mall), rice is light and airy. since it's only a block or so from the ocean, it's the kind of place that might grab your attention during a leisurely sunny stroll. with shojin, you have no other reason to be in the area.

lunch was lovely. (the struggle to find parking, not so much.) shojin has great food and interesting drinks, but it is not really a family friendly kind of place. even without allergy concerns, you kind of need menu stability with small kids. it's hard to explain to the kids that the thing they loved last time isn't available this time. even reasonably adventurous paul has his comfort food favorites. rice had edamame, mild miso soup, vegetable tempura and pumpkin croquettes. score.

the biggest problem with shojin, however, is that tempers are shorter there. that's just how it is. cam and I used to enjoy the food at a restaurant called campanile--but we could hardly ever go there because we'd fight the whole time. rice didn't have that vibe, and the kids were engaged and excited. i was intrigued because their sushi selection had an equal number of fish and vegan options. god bless cam for being so open minded, but sometimes i feel bad for making him eat what i eat.

before we left, the waitress loaded us down with extra chopstick clips and trinkets for the kids. and we took a few gluten-free lollipops on the way out.

while there are things about shojin i definitely prefer, rice was a much more relaxing family experience overall. nola already wants to know if we can go back.



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