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The Beach Gourmet: Gastronomic Reflections

While contemplating the past year’s culinary adventures during this calendrical transition, it occurred to me just how blessed we are in this part of the world, particularly in Santa Monica, in having such an abundance of dining choices available.

From drive-through fast food through select and swanky establishments where people still “dress for dinner,” our options are almost limitless, and my experiences these past 365 days have been equally multitudinous. From feeling about as welcome as a longhaired commie malcontent at Dick Cheney’s shooting party at Cora’s Coffee Shop to being elegantly pampered at The Wilshire, my experiences have been both of the expected and imponderable varieties.

Weekend breakfasts are always a treat, and during the last 12 months I have discovered that here in Santa Monica one can choose from a myriad of establishments that cater to these essential moments of sustenance.

Patrick’s Roadhouse off PCH feeds not just the stomach but the eyes as well with their many mementos adorning the walls, and Snug Harbor on Wilshire served me a damn fine huevos rancheros. Coogies on Santa Monica Boulevard, UnUrban Coffee Shop on Pico and The Lazy Daisy, also on Pico, scored well with great breakfasts.

We are fortunate in Santa Monica to be able to enjoy food from any part of the globe, and I remember fondly the delicious servings of Indian food from Jaipur’s wonderful buffet, great Mexican food from both Lares and Casablanca and Asian fusion impeccably presented by Monsoon on Third Street Promenade while Toi on Wilshire stimulated me with some “rockin’ Thai food.”

Ye Olde Kings Head British pub and restaurant at Santa Monica and 2nd came up trumps with some of the best fish and chips ever, and, staying “across the pond,” I enjoyed a smashing afternoon tea at the Tudor House.

During the summer, Izzy’s Deli had me shopping for a yarmulke, while The Counter had me building a fantastic burger and Rawvolution hit the health button with their uncooked concoctions.

There were of course many, many more wonderful dining dates in 2006 and I look forward to many more to come in 2007.

As I ponder my future outings, I find that in this cosseted society in which I am fortunate enough to reside, it is often very easy to take things for granted, dining out being but one.

As such, I must remind myself to appreciate all that goes into being served a dish of my choice whenever I visit a restaurant.

The journey from farm to fork involves the care, attention and labors of many, many dedicated workers. From the farmers, fisherman and ranchers, the transport specialists, warehouse and storage workers, market vendors, restaurateurs, cooks and chefs, kitchen assistants, servers, busboys, maître d’s and cleaners, they are all vital links in a wonderful chain that culminates in the fortune that is the dining experience.

Wishing you all a tasteful 2007.

Bon appetit! 

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