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BEACH GOURMET: Spoilt By Choice: Holiday Season Dining & Fun:

Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us and December is a month when gatherings, company shindigs, and “on the day” holiday meals are celebrated with gusto. Santa Monica and The Westside abound with options galore in which to eat, drink and be merry, so this week let’s take a look at some of these tasty choices where one can meet, play, and party.

Lares Restaurant

For a Mexican dinner in a festive environment, Lares Restaurant, located at 2909 Pico (310.829.4559) is a popular choice with its family-friendly environment, charming seasonal decorations, and of course award-winning cuisine. The upstairs section is perfect for both quiet intimate dinners at the back and also for more lively gatherings in the bar section. The food is classic Mexican with a comprehensive menu that includes such staples as the chicken tostada ($9.50), and a very good vegetarian combo (potato taco, chile relleno, and cheese enchilada served with rice and beans, $11.75).

Ye Olde Kings Head

Ye Olde Kings Head on Santa Monica Boulevard at 2nd Street always puts on a great holiday season show and this year they will offer a prix fixe three course dinner special from December 10 through December 23 consisting of an appetizer with a choice of Clam Chowder, Soup of the Day, or a dinner salad. Main course options include a Turkey or Vegetarian Roast with mixed vegetables, roast potatoes and all the trimmings, a Queen Sized Fish & Chips, or a Shepherds Pie (meat or vegetarian), as well as tasty desserts that include Christmas Pudding with custard, and mince pies with fresh cream. All this for just $30.00 per person (plus tax and 18 percent gratuity), with camaraderie, great conversation, and traditional British ambience available to diners for free! The Crown Room is also available for private bookings for those “Royal” office parties.

The Tudor House

Also offering a British theme is The Tudor House (1403 2nd Street) where, on December 4 and December 11, one can enjoy a tasty turkey dinner including cream of parsley soup with potato chips and bacon, or mixed greens with cranberries, walnuts, pear and stilton for starters, followed by roast turkey served with cranberry sauce, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes and missed vegetables au jus for the main, and a dessert of hot mince pie with whipped cream for $34.95 inclusive, all accompanied by carol singers.


JiRaffe at 502 Santa Monica Boulevard offers a delightful menu for those who wish to splash out a little more, with some succulent examples such as Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna served with chilled green tea soba noodles, baby bok-choy, baby spinach, shitake mushroom, lemongrass ginger sauce. ($34.00), a 21 Day Dry Aged Pan Roasted 16oz. Bone In Rib-Eye Steak accompanied by a twice-baked old Amsterdam Yukon potato, organic sautéed greens, confit herb tomato, port wine shallots green peppercorn natural veal reduction ($42.00), and a Pan Roasted New Zealand Loin of Lamb served with layered vegetable lasagna, yellow fin potato samosas, thyme-scented lamb jus, ($34.00) as well as an extensive dessert menu that offers tasty tempters like Baked Alaska filled with strawberry ice cream, served with fresh sautéed strawberries and an aged balsamic glaze ($10.00), and Duo of Crème Brulee (Tahitian vanilla and manjari chocolate served with vanilla hazelnut and chocolate pecan biscotti, $12.00) – yummy!

The Galley

The Galley on Main Street is like Christmas all year round with it’s dainty colored lights and party atmosphere, and this ambience takes on an added seasonal tone as Captain Ron and staff welcome guests with nightly specials to accompany their regular menu. Check out the 12oz. Top Sirloin Steak Dinner ($24.00) or the Australian Lobster Tail with drawn butter ($53.00), and don’t forget those delicious salads with their secret recipe dressing.

Cheng Du

For those with a penchant for Chinese cuisine on Christmas day a great choice is always Cheng Du at 11538 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles. With some of the area’s best Chinese food with great portions at bargain prices, it is hard to beat. Everything from Chow Mein and Kung Pao, to Sweet and Sour dishes and seafood specialties are available, and they also offer some low calorie options to boot.

These are just a few of the great many eateries that our part of the world is blessed with, not just for the holidays but for the whole year round, so get up and get out this season and enjoy some of these great dining treats. Bon Appetit!

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