A Taste of Santa Monica

santa-monica-street-mural

Street mural just off Santa Monica’s Main Street

I live in the sprawling city of Los Angeles, which is composed of more than 100 multicultural neighborhoods. Over my 20 years here, I’ve enjoyed exploring most of them via their restaurants and bars, seeking a sense of their history and community, and the dishes, drinks and treats that’ll keep me coming back.  

One of my favorite repeat destinations is seaside Santa Monica, on L.A.’s far Westside. It’s also a favorite for Destination Food Tours, which shares my passion for culinary exploration. They recently invited me along on their A Taste of Santa Monica food tour and showed me a whole evening’s worth of places I’d never visited. 

The tour proved my theory that you don’t have to travel far afield to discover something new and exciting — you just have to leave your house.

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Traveling the Silk Road: Hinoki & The Bird

The lobster roll at Hinoki & the Bird

Before dining at Hinoki & the Bird, a swanky new restaurant that recently opened in Los Angeles, I’d have thought a culinary journey along the Silk Road was outdated by about, oh…400 years.

After all, by the mid-1600s, most explorers in Asia started calling it a day and sailing back home to Europe.

But after a spin around the menu at this paean to Far East ingredients, I’m happy to report that the spice-laden dream of the 17th century is still alive.

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It’s a Ping-Pong Dinner, There Has to Be a Twist

Great big photo of Obama playing Ping-Pong at SPiN LA at The Standard in Downtown Los Angeles

If you’ve never heard of a ping-pong club, and weren’t aware you could dine at one, fear not:

This is your moment.

At hip boutique hotel The Standard in Downtown Los Angeles, chef Micah Fields’ bright and shiny 24/7 Restaurant is just one floor below SPiN LA, actress Susan Sarandon’s new ping-pong social club.

Put the two together, add the dineLA promotion (now through February 1st), and you’ve got yourself a fun, cool, silly and thoroughly delicious night out in the City of Angels.

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Four Seasons Westlake Village: Ignite the Spark

A couple of weeks ago, I whisked a new friend away to the Four Seasons Westlake Villagea spa resort about a half-hour north of Los Angeles, to experience a special offer called the Ignite the Spark.

Providing a complimentary cocktail, a selection of welcome appetizers and a $100-200 US credit at selected Four Seasons properties, it’s a little romantic incentive to get away together between now and December 15th.

Y’know…should you need a little romantic incentive. [Read more…]

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The Hotel Wilshire: A City Escape in L.A.

Photo courtesy of The Hotel Wilshire

I live less about a mile from The Hotel Wilshire in Mid-City Los Angeles, and routinely hang out with my local pals on The Roof on Wilshire, its rooftop bar and restaurant. It’s a swanky cocktail scene with a wide age range, fire-pits ablaze, and a sweeping view of the Hollywood Hills.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience one of the hotel’s spacious guest rooms, as well, on an overnight getaway with a girlfriend.

The verdict? The Hotel Wilshire makes for a fun, convenient and city-centric stay.

Y’know, with cocktails. On the roof.

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