The feeling inside La Isla, on Bridge just west of the river, is laid-back and celebratory. Western fantasy, Dances With Wolves-style paintings of animals and the men who wrangle them hang on the walls, along with Old West photos and framed news clippings. There are plants (real and fake), suspended paper bells that look leftover from Chinese New Year, and some painted globe chandeliers that might have come from a midcentury diner. An exterior roof façade crowns the kitchen, making it seem like you’re outside while the kitchen is in a little cabana on the beach.
We just purchased a half a pound—each—of fresh chanterelles (it is fall, people!). But in a bout of lunch-box paranoia, Evan feared that the mushrooms would shrivel in the fridge and miss their peak. So we minced the beauties and made a mushroom duxelles (say “duke-sell”)—a classic French dish of mushrooms roasted with shallots, fat and wine. Nearly a tapenade, the stuff is versatile enough to work on vegan bruschetta or dress up leftovers.