My mother loves fish ‘n chips and I love seafood tacos so what better place to indulge in both than Gladstones in Malibu? Easter Sunday turned out to be a spectacular day. The drive up Pacific Coast Highway at noon was a little trafficky, but not too bad. Who cares about stop and go when you have magnificent views of the ocean on a gorgeously sunny day?
Our reservation was for 12:30, and due to careful planning on my part, despite the maddening crowds on the highway, we arrived ten minutes early and were seated right away.
I had not eaten breakfast, so when I looked at the menu my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I started with the clam chowder—oh my, so rich and creamy. I could have stopped right there and been very happy. But the shrimp tacos were on their way.
My mother announced her fish ‘n chips, the most expensive I have ever seen on any menu anywhere, were the best she had ever eaten since leaving England. But really, $24.95? Oh well, it was Easter. And we had to pay for the view.
My shrimp tacos were a very good value. Three tacos crammed full of shrimp and coleslaw for under $17. Why didn’t I take a photo of our food?
After more than an hour of solid eating, neither of us could do any more damage to our meals. I shoveled the rest of my mother’s fish (one large piece of cod) and a handful of her french fries—I mean chips—along with my two tacos into a box to take home. The bus boy very kindly brought me a fresh container of guacamole.
It was such a fabulous day and I had nothing else planned so I didn’t feel like racing back to Culver City at that very moment. So we sat on the walkway overlooking the ocean. I am not usually very good at sitting and doing nothing. But water, and especially the ocean, always fascinates me. So an hour and a half passed very quickly.
I watched the people on the beach, some of whom were waiting for a table (a one and half hour wait without a reservation). A couple of sailboats came by.
To the south I could see the Santa Monica Pier. I noticed a yellow speck in the sky at the end of the pier which turned out to be some brave soul parasailing. His or her turnaround point was just in front of us… maybe returning to Marina del Rey where there is a parasailing operator.
A man paddled his surfboard with an oar alongside his companion in a kayak. A young man and woman chased their little dog around on the sand—I don’t know who was having more fun, the dog or the humans.
I’ve been to Gladstones many times over the decades. Perhaps the most memorable occasion was in the 80s when I worked for TOSCO, an independent oil company based in Century City and then Santa Monica, until it came to a sad end. We were a fun-loving group back then. We had unlimited expense accounts, the money flowed with the oil, and we partied as hard as we worked.
One sunny summer lunchtime several of us piled into a colleague’s convertible Mustang and headed for Gladstones. We sat outside on the deck in the glorious Malibu sunshine looking down on to that pristine white sand. I don’t remember if we ate anything (except peanuts) but I do remember we all ordered a tanker load of Long Island Iced Teas.
I think there were six of us… how we all crammed into that car, I don’t know. It was probably three women and three men but it was a long time ago… we were all SO young!
Whenever some good looking men walked by on the beach, the women would throw peanuts at them. When pretty women walked by, the men would throw the peanuts. Did I say we were young?
By the time we finished drinking, half the afternoon had gone by. We had to get back to work! In those days, I am not proud to say, drinking and driving was not a big thing. We all piled back into the Mustang and were, needless to say, quite rowdy all the way back to the office.
I have to say, for better or worse, that was one of the best times of my life. I have so many stories from that period.
And sitting out there at Gladstones on Easter Sunday brought back a ton of memories. Life was so different back then. Much more innocent. Much more trusting of everything. Maybe it was my age. Or maybe it was the times.
But it was time to go home and back to 2012. After all, 2012 is another of the best times of my life!
(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)