My parents just recently moved to Sherman Oaks, which has afforded me the opportunity to explore the Valley (which, admittedly, I haven’t really done since high school!), and topping my list of places to try first was Tipple & Brine. With its emphasis on handcrafted cocktails, its focus on celebrating sustainable, locally-sourced, wonderfully fresh seafood, and its delightfully rustic décor (expressly directed by owner and Vantage Restaurant Group Principal, Richard DiSito), Tipple & Brine has the makings of becoming one of my favorite foodie destinations in the Valley. The cocktails are all equally superb – from the Strawberry Fields (with Beefeater Gin, St. Germaine, strawberry purée, lemon, basil, and soda), to the Mexican Firing Squad (with Olmeca Altos Tequila, lime, house made Grenadine, and bitters – made spicy, of course!), and the Honey Badger (with Dickel Rye Whisky, honey, lemon, orange bitters, cucumber, and jalapeño), are all individually complex and creative. The menu is also deliciously inventive, with fresh raw dishes -- in addition to gorgeous, freshly shucked oysters, of course -- like Hamachi with blood orange, black garlic, and hazelnuts. Small plates perfect for sharing, such as the Sea Urchin Toast with avocado mousse or the Fried Octopus with squid ink aioli allow for many bites of beautifully layered flavors, and in my book, the Kale salad with green goddess, manchego cheese, castelvetrano olives, and fried chickpeas (my new favorite crunchy little snack!) lends just the right earthy base to these other aquatically-oriented dishes. It was pointless to try to resist ordering the Carrot Cake with butterscotch Bourbon sauce and candied pecans, which was exactly as decadent, sweet, and sticky as I dreamed it would be. I’m thrilled to know Tipple & Brine is truly just around the corner from my parents’ new place, and can’t wait to join them there for leisurely weekend meals in weeks ahead!