On a recent Friday afternoon, a nice crowd enjoys the atmosphere and food at one of Long Beach’s most popular spots: The Social List.
Why don’t these folks have to work on Friday afternoon?
More power to them because the warm ambience is the perfect accompaniment to fine food and drinks.
“We pour our hearts into our food,” Luis Navarro (co-owner with his wife Brenda) said. “We reached back into time and added our own twists.”
The Impossible Burger is a veggie burger that achieves a seemingly impossible mission: tasting like a “real” hamburger.
“I eat this one myself,” Navarro said.
Delivered on a house-made bun, the burger includes vegan sauce, tomato and perhaps the most surprising ingredient, vegan cheese that really has the taste and texture of conventional cheese.
Castro Fries start with their classic shoestring fries and come with slow roasted pork shoulder, thinly sliced ham, pickles, mustard, cream and cheddar cheese.
From the description, it would seem like it’s kind of a mashup, but instead the colors, textures and most importantly, the tastes are distinct.
“Most chicken pot pies are kind of skimpy on the filling." Navarro said. “We didn’t want that with our version.”
It’s packed with chicken, creamy carrots, pea, potatoes, celery and herbs.
It’s smothered in a creamy, butter-like sauce and served wrapped in flakey, delectable uncomplicated house-made pastry.
Brunch on the weekends is highlighted by Peanut Butter French toast and Crab Cake Eggs Benedict.
“Rule Number one,” Navarro said, “is the cocktails have to live up to the food."
Cocktails are the creations of Brenda Navarro and bartender Eric Lindsay. By concentrating on fresh ingredients, the cocktails feature an excellent mixture of new creations and some traditional tastes.
A personal favorite is the Triple Crown ($12), served in the saucer-like champagne glass you see in old movies.
What makes the Triple Crown special is the Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur. Most Maraschino Cherry Liqueur is overpoweringly sweet.
Luxardo cherries have their roots in 1821 Italy and are real cherries that that have a natural sweet taste that a blends smoothly with the habanero-infused honey and bourbon.
The Sazerac cocktail starts out with Dickel Rye, add Scrappy’s Orleans Bitters (from New Orleans) and a dash of Absinthe. Absinthe was once thought to cause mental craziness, but now we know better. It just tastes good.
The Poppet ($10) features rum, strawberry syrup, St. German Elderflower Liqueure and another uncommon ingredient, lychee puree. Sweet, but not too sweet and strong but not too strong.
“We want to be an extension of people’s kitchens," Navarro said.
Quite a bit of European-style communal seating, some smaller tables, a bar-height counter that opens onto Fourth Street. There is outdoor dining, which is in the process of being expanded.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW
The Social List presents special nights, including Havana Nights last summer and celebrating Oktoberfest through Oct. 31.
Happy Hour is 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays, with half off on selected plates.
The Social List is at 2105 E. Fourth St. The phone is (562) 433-5478 and the website is www.thesociallistlb.com.
They open weekdays at 11:30 a.m. and weekends at 9 a.m.
There is outdoor seating and a kids' menu. Parking on Fourth Street can be challenging.