The Running Goose’s famous salt cod churros
One of the great pleasures in life is lazy Sunday – the last day of a long week with no agenda other than to roam and have fun offline and out of the home. For the Cute Gardener and I, it often means three things: a big screen movie, casually adventurous eating, and leisurely day drinking.
A lazy Sunday eatery requires a certain laissez faire ambiance. It shouldn’t be too stuffy or highbrow, nor overly loud or busy (aka “currently trendy”). It should serve small things meant to be shared, have a decent wine or cocktail list, and provide a section of outdoor seating for enjoying the mostly glorious Southern California weather. Recently we discovered a gem called The Running Goose that easily fit the bill.
The Running Goose touts itself as offering “California comfort food in Hollywood’s backyard” which is true. The restaurant is located on a cute section of Cahuenga boasting its very own organic herb garden on site, which patrons can easily stroll through while waiting for their food. It is also squeezed up against a towering loft building and the sounds of music coming from various open windows gives the impression of eating amongst a lively community on a lovely afternoon—all things conducive to lazy Sunday idling.
Arriving late afternoon we had the entire patio to ourselves as an eager waiter polished glasses in the tiny indoor dining room by the bar and served wine to a dog lady yapping on her iPhone. With a bottle of wine, we ordered up a storm of dishes and wasted away the better part of the day under the electric glare of a heat lamp and the close proximity of a fire pit.
We had heard about their famous salt cod churros so we ordered a plate of that pronto. The crispy, fried wands came out hot and light, looking exactly like their Mexican donut cousins yet tasting like fish and butter as we dipped them sparingly into a lemon and saffron aioli spiked with tiny bits of nori. Based on the deliciousness and creativity of the churros, we ordered more small plates to share. This included an empanada appetizer filled with the darkness of mole on unctuous tender shredded lamb.
Our favorite dish, the duck confit, was a gorgeous miniature pan swimming with generous chunks of meat, blistered cabernet tomatoes, ricotta masa gnocchi, basil and a poached egg. One tine poked into the yolk created a rich creaminess that weaved the entire dish into a luscious belly warming experience. Another dish of pork belly cazuela swam with hot Latin American pozole flavors and came with a lovely charred flatbread reminiscent of a tortilla to scoop the vibrant soup and bits of radish up with at the end.
Things can also get wacky on a lazy Sunday after the bottle of wine has passed its halfway point. Sometimes when we find ourselves enjoying the food, we do crazy things like order beef ribs for dessert. Those beef ribs, unlike the smaller portions of everything else on the menu, arrived as big as a house drenched in pink pickled onions and leaves of cilantro. After stuffing a few final clumps of seasoned meat into my mouth, I drained the last of my wine glass and listened to the sounds of a neighborhood winding down for the week and gave myself permission to do so as well.
We left with a sense of bittersweet fondness, as places like The Running Goose don’t seem to last in our neck of the world. With El Nino heading our way, we knew the restaurant would be confined to serving out of the tiny dining room and the vast patio would be lost to storms for a whole season.