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Food

Late Night Eats: Mao's Kitchen

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Most late-night grub benefits mightily from the drunken torpor we're often in when eating at two in the morning. Let's face it--the places that serve food deep into the night are not usually those we patronize when in full command of our senses. And, yet, there are exceptions. Luckily for me (since it's 50 feet from my apartment), Mao's is one of them. Every dish is prepared a la minute and you can tailor your order to suit your taste (vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, tofu instead of pork and, uh, vegan with the sauce on the side!)

The atmosphere at Mao's perfectly reflects its Venice Beach locale: casual, loud and funky. The crowd and staff is typically young, tattooed and cute. While service isn't always too zippy, you don't notice it too much with all the action going on around you. Mao's doesn't serve alcohol which, depending on your perspective, is either a good thing or a bad thing. Frankly, for me, that's usually a good thing after a long night of drinking. No need to contribute further to what's already shaping up to be a fine hangover, right? But on to the food!