I miss the ocean. My entire family does. We’re not exactly landlocked now, but we can’t walk to the beach, either, so it always requires a degree of planning.
Since we got Azzy, I’ve been scouring L.A.’s beaches in the quest to find a dog-friendly one — preferably one that doesn’t require a leash.
My big, happy boy requires exercise, and I won’t allow him to drag me behind him like a rag doll, so off-leash is definitely preferable.
Where are the dog-friendly beaches in Los Angeles?
I soon discovered there is a woeful lack of dog beaches (read: none) in the actual city of Los Angeles, and the closest one to Hollywood is in Long Beach.
I have a friend who lives in Santa Monica, and she says you can be with your dog along the “wooden walk” at Santa Monica State Beach, but if Azzy were to set a paw upon the sand, I will get a ticket. My friend in Hermosa Beach said the same about her ’hood.
We really need more dog-friendly beaches in Los Angeles — Los Angeles proper!
Back to Long Beach
Some people (like myself) don’t consider Long Beach to be a part of L.A., but technically it is.
Long Beach belongs to L.A. County, and I actually know some people in L.A. proper who commute to Long Beach for work every day. That sounds really rough, but I guess it’s doable.
Mike grew up in Long Beach, so there was no need to obtain any sort of directions. All I had to do was locate the Rosie’s Dog Beach, tell him where it was, and we would be on our way.
Even though we went on a weekday, there was traffic, and it took us 57 minutes to get there from Hollywood. It’s a good thing I made everyone wake up early!
About 20 miles before our exit, Azzy got all excited and wedged the top part of his body between me and Mike in the front seat. We’ve been here once before, and he was recognizing the sights and the smells.
Free street parking
Once we got to the general area, there was plenty of free parking on the street. They also have a paid lot, which I imagine gets filled up pretty quickly on weekends, but it really wasn’t too much further to park on the street and walk through the lot to get to the beach.
Halfway across the beach, we noticed they had little doggie stakes in the sand, so we knew we were in the right place. (All the dogs frolicking around also provided a clue!)
Azzy started whimpering like he does when he sees other dogs and wants to go over and say hello, but we kept him on his leash until we found a good spot to settle into.
Right when I decided to keep Azzy’s leash on, a husky came up to Azzy like a long-lost cousin, and they got busy sniffing each other. To be fair, I removed Azzy’s leash at this point. This husky also had the same whimper as Azzy, so we figure that’s where Azzy gets it from.
I gotta say, the dogs were all very, very well behaved. I expected some humping here and there, but it was like church on a Sunday.
As soon as he and the husky parted ways, Azzy made a beeline for the water and pranced toward the deeper part the ocean like he’s been doing it his entire life.
I didn’t see a single fight. Mike reported seeing a scuffle between some pugs a bit further down, but that was the only thing resembling a fracas that he saw.
We did see some German and Australian shepherds near us who just couldn’t stop barking. I don’t think it really bothered anyone — and Azzy walked right by them like they weren’t even there — but the owners weren’t too happy about it and ended up leaving shortly thereafter. Basically, there was so much order, their dogs stuck out like a sore thumb, and they were probably embarrassed.
Lots of polite playing
The whole setup was great. It’s like all the dogs were equals here. I saw little dogs running after big ones just as often as I saw the big ones chasing little ones.
The lady sitting next to us was laughing at her corgi chasing after a Dachshund. She told us the corgi gets dominated “everywhere he goes,” and now he finally had his chance to experience what it was like to be on the other side.
I also noticed that the dogs all stayed relatively close to their owners, with no one having to call their dog’s name.
I don’t know how they do it. There were all sizes of dogs, but everyone was on their best behavior. Rosie’s Dog Beach runs a tight ship!
All in all, Azzy was such a good boy! He peed on somebody’s sandcastle, but, in his defense, I think that person already left for the day.
Wear them out before lunch
At a certain point, Azzy came over, totally spent after a long day’s play, and just sat next to me, looking out at the water. He had no desire to move at all. I think he completely wore himself out.
We were waiting for him to get his second wind, but then Sasha announced that he was hungry, so we took that as a sign that it was time to embark on the next chapter.
But I am going to say it one more time: We need some dog-friendly beaches in Los Angeles!
Lots of dog-friendly fare near Rosie’s
I did my homework. For you. I wanted to go to a dog-friendly place that was also close to Rosie’s. There were a lot of places from which to choose, and we even saw a doggie spa that offers both self-service and professional grooming that was only a couple of minutes away. You can’t miss it.
Post-beach brunch at The Attic
The Attic was the perfect spot for our needs. An added bonus was that Mike spent a pretty big chunk of his adolescence on this part of Broadway — his home-away-from-home was almost directly across the street.
Not only was The Attic literally 5 minutes away from Rosie’s, but their menu made me drool. They had your standard brunch fare (every day!), but then they did you one better and offered tantalizing morsels like jambalaya, gumbo and, gulp, a bourbon Belgian waffle — with sliced bananas, candied walnuts, Chantilly cream and bourbon-spiked maple syrup. This definitely got me thinking about our imminent trip to New Orleans (I’m probably there while some of you are reading this).
Now, anyone in their right mind would have decided right then and there that this waffle was the way to go, but I happened to be in the mood for something savory, so my taste buds were migrating toward the shrimp and grits.
Mouthwatering menu selection
I’m a huge fan of shrimp and grits. I feel like I have to try them whenever we visit a restaurant that has them in their menu. I should really do a write-up someday of the best dog-friendly shrimp-and-grits restaurants in L.A. —that’s how obsessed I am. I’ve even inspired Mike to make them for me.
So, I got the shrimp and grits. Mike got a burger and fries, and Sasha got the kids’ sliders.
I’m always stoked when there’s a kids’ menu. It makes the kids feel special, which makes for a more enjoyable outing all around.
The kids’ entree comes with a drink and choice of two sides (apple sauce, biscuit, fruit, rice or mash).
Oddly, they didn’t offer fries as a side, but our server had no problem accommodating us when I asked for a side of fries.
Large list of libations
I ordered a Mr. Tea, which was a delicious mixture of green tea vodka, lemon juice, muddled cantaloupe and simple syrup, garnished with a lemon peel, but it was served in a coupe glass.
I personally think coupe glasses are too small for a drink, so I allowed myself to get another drink from the extensive libations list.
My do-over drink was a mint julep, which was also served in a smaller glass, but it was stronger and looked like an adult snow cone, which was kind of exciting.
Another thing that was tempting me was the Bloody Mary list.
They offer a “basic” Bloody, plus seven variants on the yummy, savory classic. Also, they offer a ton of garnishes on their Bloodies, like okra, asparagus, egg, green beans, bacon, shrimp, pepper jack cheese, and I even saw someone with a short rib slider on top of his.
I didn’t go there, but I made a mental note for next time. We all had such a magnificent time at Rosie’s that I’m sure we will be here again.
But back to my grits.
Excellent shrimp and grits
I tend to be picky about texture. I adore grits no matter what, but if someone can deliver them creamy, they will have a fan for life.
The Attic’s grits were on point. They were so creamy, they had the consistency of mashed potatoes. And the shrimp were more like prawns. They were big, tender, juicy and packed with flavor. They seasoned the shrimp with rosemary (among other things), and I remembered them fondly for hours after I ate them.
Also, the grits had honey-glazed ham in them, whose sweet-and-saltiness also complemented the grits quite satisfactorily. The whole thing was an extremely pleasurable experience, and I found myself wondering what it would take for me to get Mike to make them so well (Mike chimed in that they probably weren’t using instant grits. Duh!).
They have a dog menu
Now here’s the very best part: The dog menu!
No matter where we go, we will have a menu. I cannot, however, say the same about our canine companions, although I am seeing more and more doggie menus creeping up in restaurants these days. Since these chronicles are ultimately about Azzy, I always have to give serious props when we can order food made especially for him.
They offered four choices — chicken, bacon, sausage and ooh-la-la filet mignon. We ordered the chicken option for Azzy and, true to form, he gobbled it up in a matter of seconds.
The Attic is very spacious and has a lot of seating. There was an outdoor area adjacent to the sidewalk where you can look out at the street, and we were seated in an area near the bar that had more of a roof but was far enough from the kitchen and close enough to the outdoors to be designated for dogs.
Good food, drinks, ambiance and conversation
They had cool décor and lots of things to look at, including some local photography that was for sale.
Of course, everybody wanted a piece of Azzy, and he was more than happy to do cute poses for their affection. I especially like the looks on people’s faces when they realize there was a dog under the table the entire time. And, as usual, he is the perfect conversation-starter, and we ended up talking to the people next to us for a nice, long while.
There were so many other things here that I wanted to try, both food and drink, that I will definitely be popping back in after Azzy wears himself out on the beach next time.
We hit some traffic getting back to Hollywood, but it was more than worth it, and I savored the visions I had of tearing into my leftovers … .