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Call Me Pussycat

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LAist reader Nadia is such a big fan of our blog that she invited us to join her for her final-day-of- work happy-hour-hurrah at Nikki's in Venice. Nadia is looking to move toward more creative endeavors, such as writing and inviting complete strangers to hang out with her on a day of celebration. For this, Nadia, we salute you. After all, we could have been a bunch of weirdos with camera who were just there to see if there were visible Uggs or muffin tops or asscracks... oh, right. We are.

What Nadia didn't know was that not-so-articulate Malingering who cannot write much of anything at all was LAist's representation at her shin-dig. I am not going to pretend to be a food person and go all out with the adjectives as I'll probably violate some food writing rules and be banned from eating out in the greater Los Angeles area. Sorry Nikki's. I'll let the camera do the talking.

Nikki's is located at on Market Street in Venice, just off west of Ocean and north of Venice Blvd, across from Aardvark's. Prior to Nikki's (which opened in March 2006), it was The Globe, and prior to that, 72 Market St. (owned by Dudley Moore). It is mere steps from the boardwalk, and the ocean breeze wanders in from the beach which provides a relaxed atmosphere amongst the modern hipster decor. How romantic.

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Of course the first thing we noticed was the larger-than-life wedgie on the wall above the bar, framed by a tramp stamp that says boldly "PUSSYCAT." (I personally feel if we're going to label anatomy we should do so in the correct location but whatever, who am I to define art). It took great self-control to not try to run up to the picture and yank that little bikini out of surfer girl's crack, but in the end the consensus was that this was merely an advertisement for the iceberg wedge salad ($8) so we let it be.

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Nikki's has their own asswriting shorts, which is appropriate as Venice Beach seems to be the mecca for letters printed across the behind. Also the word "Nikki's" is much shorter than "Venice Beach, California" (the asswriting indigent to the area) which may have a slimming effect. Hopefully they will round out the offerings with Nikki's henna tattoos and Nikki's on a grain of rice, but we'll give them some time. It's only been a year.

Note: The baseball fan in me kept seeing N-I-struck out looking-struck out swinging-I-'S, but there's not much I can do about that. Plus there were 7 or 8 flat paneled TVs tuned into the NBA playoffs so I was easily distracted.

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The crowd inside was as wonderfully eclectic as the population of Ocean Front Walk itself; there were a few moms with strollers, some very well coiffed males in flip flops, an amputee in a wheelchair, some post-work loosened tie suits, a few tourists, 2 visible asscracks and 1 pair of Ugg boots with cut off denim shorts. There were also a number of odd and interesting interactions going on amongst the various bar patrons which, for a people-watcher like myself, is reason enough to stay for 2 rounds of drinks. We won't tell you who we labeled "the pimp" or the "Hollywood madam" or the "wife swapper," as that would take all of the fun out of it. Go there yourself if you want to play the game. Bring your camera.

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Even more reason to stay for another round is the extensive happy hour martini menu. We won't lie, we avoided the "pussycat" like the plague as after staring at that wedgie all afternoon we felt pretty certain it would taste something like buttcrack and it wasn't worth the risk. White grape was a safer choice and we rather enjoyed it.

Our guest of honor Nadia recommended the sweet potato fries, and since it was her day we went along with whatever she said. Actually we are big sweet potato fans (maybe it's just all of the orange people we encountered this weekend that made us crave them) and we wanted to see how these compared to the rivaling Santa Monica/Venice fries from the Counter and Beechwood. Screw you, low carb diet. We have reporting to do.

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Two thumbs up from all of us. Nice and crispy on the outside, soft and sweet potato-y on the inside, nicely salted and not at all greasy. The fries came with 3 sauces: ranch, garlic and good ol' fashioned ketchup, which we didn't need because those little sticks of orange dynamite had a flavor which stood up on its own. Expect to see us looking like oompa loompas and flexing on the beach tomorrow. That's just how it goes.

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Nikki's menu consists of salads, sandwiches, and a few main courses, all under $20 and reasonably priced. Since all of those Carl's Jr. commercials on TV had us craving hot wings, we went for the buffalo chicken salad (above). Good call, Carl's Jr. This salad was an ass kicker. Besides containing sprouts and mushrooms and avocado which complemented the buffalo sauce nicely, we have to say, that was some kickin' chicken. Nikki isn't messing around with this stuff; the chicken had bold Tabasco flavor which could scare away a tourist on any given day. We're proud of Nikki for living on the edge.

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The official review on the turkey burger is as follows (I will not make any interpretations of these post-prandial utterances so they may remain pure and candid): 1) Can hardly tell it's a turkey burger 2) No complaints or shortcomings whatsoever 3) Rivals the Counter for a fine tasting piece of meat.

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Since we enjoyed ourselves so thoroughly at this celebration, we are considering starting "Nadia's Thursday Happy Hour," which would involve an open invitation for all LAist readers to invite us to their Thursday happy hours. Wouldn't you all just love that?

Nikki's
72 Market St.
Venice, CA
http://nikkivenice.com/

All photos by Malingering (aka Malignant), who can't write but knows that a picture is worth 1000 words, so you have about 9000 right here.