Röckenwagner for our last lunch of 2007 – and Parkhouse Eatery for the first lunch of 2008. Delicious in both cases. Especially the plump old-fashioned apple pancakecafestmonica.jpg with crème fraiche at Röckenwagner Cafe & Bakery in Venice’s Abbot Kinney boutique district, absolutely packed with the young and the beautiful, fueling up before New Year’s Eve.

We hit the crowded cafe after a trek up to the Getty Villa Malibu, where the gazillion dollar refurbish of the once-glorious villa left us cranky and hungry. Antiquities in a theme park, aggressively framed by dining and shopping opportunities – that’s what the Getty money bought. If you remembered the old Getty villa from years gone by, you will be aghast. Get on a plane headed for Sicily or Pompeii instead, where the environment matches the collection. But back to the food.pancake2.jpg

At Röckenwagner, we consumed a mixed bag of sensational German apple pancake (right), tiny tuna sandwiches on brioche with designer salads, and an unsatisfying niçoise salad with over-cooked “poached” eggs. The breads, and especially a nut-filled scone, were lavish and wonderful — the Rockenwagner bakery continues to impress. By the time we finished up lunch at 1:30pm, the temperature was 80 degrees.