This is less a review of a bakery/cafe/smoked fish house/expert on all things delicious and more a story of the time I stood next to Jake Gyllenhaal and couldn't keep my cool. Not that I had much to begin with...
The morning after a truly ridiculous, let's-try-to-forget-about-it night out in Vencie with my girlfriends, we were in desperate need of bagels and basically anything that wasn't wine. Sam and I managed to put on some semblance of actual daytime outfits and tried to convince bedridden Kaitlin to come with us.
"Kaitlin, I swear, watch this be the time we go and see a celebrity or something," I pleaded. I shit you not, I actually said this.
"I absolutely cannot get out of bed," she said.
OK fine then. Sam and I dragged ourselves from the Marina to Venice (it's not that far; I'm just being dramatic), all the while trying to put together the pieces of the night prior. We then parked and padded our way in.
Gjusta is highly revered (see Bon Appetit's obsession), but I have one enormous caveat with the place: it's so effing confusing. If you've never been there before, best of luck figuring out where to order. First of all, you're overwhelmed because there are displays of beautiful food running the length of the building. Secondly, it's busy and it seems like no one really knows what they're doing, plus the people working there are way too busy to herd cattle. But here's how it works: You grab a ticket, wait for your number to be called and then order. If you order to go, they'll call your name and you're off. If you dine there, they call your name and somehow actually find you.
Groggily, Sam and I made our way to the counter to grab our numbers. We safely placed ourselves against the back wall to lean, watch and wait for our time to order. As we stood, I felt more people shuffling in and one person sidle up next to me. Now, the restaurant is huge and there were several other places to stand but for some reason, this person got as close to us as possible. That's when I turned and saw it was Jake Gyllenhaal.
It was him. Over six-feet of muscle dressed in a t-shirt, basketball shorts, socks up to his shins and Air Force Ones.
When I see a celebrity in LA, I usually try to pretend I don't recognize them and give them zero attention. When it's Jake Gyllenhaal, though, and he looks more gorgeous in person thanyou could even imagine, it's a little harder to ignore.
So I did what any single, twenty-something woman nursing a hangover would do. I stood there and giggled uncontrollably. Seriously. I could not stop.
I am still haunted by the fact I smelled like stale wine and sweat, and did nothing but laugh nervously. There are a million other ways this could have gone down including, but not limited to:
"Hey Jake. Here for bagels?"
"Hey Jake, I once wrote a thesis paper about Donnie Darko and watched that movie at least 20 times."
"Hey Jake, how's your Sunday morning going?'
Or just, "Hey Jake."
But no. I laughed. Sam tried to take a picture. I stared through my Target aviators and kept my feet firmly planted in my Birkenstocks. I waited for my number to be called. I ordered. I waited for my name to be called. And then I got out of there as quickly as I could.
Because that's what sometimes happens when you're overwhelmed, hungover, starved and utterly star-struck on a Sunday morning in Venice's, if not LA's, hottest food emporium.
OVERALL: I've had little more than bagels, smoked fish, a couple pastries and lemonade here, but it's all been exquisite. Note that a loaded lox bagel with one lemonade totals $19. It's up to you whether thats worth it.
GO: When you're not hungover, so as to be prepared for anything. You never know who you're going to run into. All jokes aside though, go early on a weekend morning for the day's provisions. Hit it up after work to pick up a baguette and charcuterie for the dinner party you're on your way to. And if you run into Jake, handle yourself better than I did.