A short time ago, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern opened up a location in Santa Monica. On it’s own, this can be seen as a good thing, but an even better thing is that I was invited out to check the place out and give it a review. I happily accepted and set off for the place where the land meets the sea (well almost, Jimmy’s is a few blocks inland).
Once upon a time, I brought you Belcampo’s burger from the Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. It was a solid burger and one that I would absolutely eat again. Yet, when I found myself armed with a gift card sent to me by the good folks at Belcampo themselves*, I just had to make my way to the Santa Monica location for a full-on DineLA Restaurant Week experience.
I had always heard that Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica has a great burger, but the $18 price tag kept me from going for a long time. Eventually I was rescued by a parent visit and only had eyes for the burger. Of course, there wasn’t a lot of competition with the rest of the menu. Some things looked good, but it was hard to find an item free from vegetables, including the burger itself. But Rustic Canyon does something pretty unique with its burgers.
Brunch, first come-first served and LA is a combination that doesn’t work. Although I am usually asleep until long after brunch time, I have learned that most people are not. Of these people, many like to go out to brunch, causing other brunchers to wait in crazy lines for food. Compounding that difficulty is the seat yourself system employed by places like Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica.
I could go on and on about this, because it really is a terrible system, but I’ll get to the food instead…
Tar & Roses doesn’t exactly sound like a restaurant name. Rather, this restaurant in Santa Monica sounds like a bad indie movie or an alternative to being tar and feathered. But a restaurant it is, and one that my wife and I made our way to when she decided she was craving some bone marrow (insert innuendo here). Apparently the place has become quite popular because our only option was to take a seat at the bar, which was actually fine because it brought us closer to the blackboard.
Being a kid was pretty cool. No responsibilities. No money. No rent/mortgage/car payment. And you got kids menus. You know that awesome set of options that were simply meant as a cheaper alternative to the regular menu, but turned out to have the best stuff on it anyway. Things like grilled cheese, chicken fingers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were mainstays always a hit. Yet growing up can be tough, and not just because of those silly responsibilities, but also because you can’t quite get away with order PB and J at age 27. Fortunately, all is not lost. Burgers have taken a gourmet turn. Hot dogs are still popular for people of all ages. And then there is a little restaurant in Santa Monica called Hostaria del Piccolo.
Situated somewhere in the middle of 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica is a place called Monsieur Marcel. It’s easy to miss if you aren’t looking, and in the countless times I have been there I had never seen it myself, at least until I was looking out specifically for it. Based on the name, you would expect Monsieur Marcel to be French, and you would be right. The menu is populated with unpronounceable dishes, but fortunately they also come with English descriptions.
In Santa Monica, there is a little Italian restaurant called Fritto Misto. It’s way to small to handle the people that want to eat there and there are always people wanting to eat there. Why? First off, they only charge 2 bucks corkage fee if you bring your own wine. But more important than that is their actual food.
It’s hard to believe that in the year-plus of writing for my meat blog, I have managed to not step foot in Hooters. Yet, somehow, I have avoided that magical land of orange booty shorts and ummm owls. But fear not, because after a little birthday reminder attached to a free entree coupon, I went back to visit my old friend. I took with me one of my only friends who actually appreciates Hooters for what it has to offer.
When we walked into the Santa Monica location, we were greeted by friendly faces. Now to be honest, I didn’t actually find the women working there that impressive. They were definitely friendly and cute, but there are just so many beautiful women in LA that these just didn’t impress too much. This only helped me concentrate on the food to make sure my review was unbiased.
For a night out on the town with the family, we decided to head to I Cugini at the recommendation of their concierge. This hardly pronounceable restaurant was in Santa Monica and had a pretty cool setup with an outdoorsy patio-esque seating area. The menu offered some pretty good-looking food, but the menu wasn’t as robust as a typical Italian place. Nonetheless, I was transfixed by an item on the menu that I had never seen before. It was called a “Bomba” and was mixed up with the pizzas, so I knew it had to be somewhat similar to pizza.