It’s not often that a fancy restaurant like Via Veneto invites you to check them out as a blogger. But alas, I found myself a few tables away from Zach Galifianakis ready to take down some of the fanciest Italian food in Santa Monica. It began with a couple of glasses of champagne and then we moved on to the real deal.
There was a time when Diners, Drive-ins and Dives was pretty much the best food-related alliteration. Then came Los Angeles Magazine’s Burgers, Bourbon + Beer, laying out some of the best consumable things in the world. The event took place in Santa Monica at The Victorian and showcased a number of bite-sized burgers (no, not sliders), a few bourbons and beers from Golden Road. Oh, and there was ice cream, chocolate and music as well. But you’re at Unvegan.com, which means everything took a back stage to the burgers. Better yet, this was a competition, so instead of just mass-producing burgers, these were all cooked to perfection. Not even I could eat all of them, but I did my damnedest.
Eggs Benedict is pretty well-known for being one of the greatest breakfast creations of all time. Yet, it is not without faults. After all, the English muffin is probably the worst of all muffins and not even great in the realm of breads. But M Street (a Lettuce Entertain You place) in Santa Monica has a solution for this nonsense: hash browns.
Rick’s Tavern on Main has historically been a divey, somewhat gross college bar. And let’s be honest, on a typical Friday or Saturday night it still is. But after a long bike ride, I found myself at Rick’s for lunch with astronomically low expectations. Don’t get me wrong here, I love me some dive bar food and I’ll take it over a snooty restaurant any day, but I literally knew nothing of Rick’s aside from its ability to cure sobriety.
To get pick up some pies for a bit of a celebration, we popped into Thyme Cafe in Santa Monica. The place was more packed than any pie place had any right to be, and we added to their packed-ness by sticking around to grab their sandwiches for lunch. The menu boasted about ten different options and some of them were much more unique than I had expected.
In an unassuming little part of Santa Monica lies Lares, a Mexican Restaurant with an old-timey Mexican look and feel on both the outside and inside. It has the kind of wide menu I’ve come to expect from unassuming Mexican restaurants around LA, but I had heard that of all their options, their carnitas were the bee’s knees. Carnitas are like Mexican pulled pork and usually not my first choice in Mexican food, but I figured I would be a fool to not try them at Lares.
On a one-night bender, I found myself facing down three strange taco trucks on Main Street in Santa Monica. None looked familiar and none looked particularly amazing. But it was 2 am in Los Angeles, when food options are usually limited to subpar diners and…well…taco trucks. The trucks here seemed to be some sort of missing link between gourmet and roach coaches and so after much circling we wound up at TnB BBQ.
With a night of partying in Santa Monica looming and a dire need of dinner, we turned to a place on Santa Monica’s Main Street called World Cafe. I really didn’t know what to expect from the place except that I had a feeling it would involve food from around the world. When we took our seats and then took a gander into the menu, it became apparent that World Cafe was not at all a cafe of the world.
I had expected to see food from all over the world, like Sri Lankan curry, Icelandic swan, The Falklands penguin and Uzbekistani rock. Instead, I found myself gazing into menu full of Italian food. Okay, I guess there were a few random appetizers. Real worldly. This obviously wasn’t the place to get any new and exciting food, but at least I would make the best of it.
With some family in town, I headed to Santa Monica to eat breakfast at the Omelette Parlor. When we arrived, the line was out the door, but we were told there was only a 20-minute wait. Since it was so nice out, we took a walk up Main Street and came back just in time to be seated.
Now the usual thought would be that if you go to a place with omelette in the name, you order an omelette, but on this day, I was glad I didn’t follow that rule. Instead, I decided to order their Huevos Rancheros because they looked so good. It was a delicious mix of rice, beans, egg, cheese, tortilla and sauce. There wasn’t any meat involved, but there also weren’t any vegetables there to ruin the party.
DineLA extended the LA Food week to make it almost a full month, so I made sure to experience another of the participating restaurants. This time it was One Pico at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. It’s kind of tough to find, since very little of the building actually mentions the restaurant name, but once you realize that the restaurant is actually within a hotel, things become a lot more clear.