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The Beach Gourmet: 2009: A Year Of Dining:

2009 has been a challenging year for many, including eating houses, but for the most part they have prevailed, and continue to serve some of the best, tastiest, and eclectic food. This week we’ll take a monthly retrospective of some of the gastronomic highlights of the past year, remembering the tasty, the exotic, and the simple experiences that 2009 had to offer.

Winter saw a visit to a landmark staple of the Westside when we visited Billingsley’s, on Pico Boulevard. After 62 years Billingsley’s had maintained its steakhouse standards and we enjoyed a very satisfying meal. My guest and I flew off content that day, satiated, and satisfied.–

Spring and the Ides of March presented a week of ten dollar dining that had us visiting Norm’s Restaurant at 1601 Lincoln, Gilbert’s El Indio on Pico, Tandoor India, also on Pico for their lunch buffet, and The Ocean Park Omelet Parlor, on Ocean Park. They all proved that one could enjoy a rewarding, and satisfying dining experience for fewer than ten bucks. As April ushered in the spring, and better weather, we hopped on the PCH and stopped in to Gladstone’s For Fish, and a fishy experience it was!  We decided that we simply had to share a bowl of their claim to fame, The Chowder (“that made us famous,” it said right at the top of the menu!). It arrived very quickly (Gladstone’s really does have the production down pat, as dishes arrived at tables in a fast and furious fashion), and was hot and creamy. Accompanied by the tasty table bread we both agreed that this chowder was no imposter, and its recipe clearly had a secret ingredient or two. Wholesome, full of flavor but not overly heavy, it was as good as it gets. 

Summer took us to the newly opened Fred Deni’s Back On The Beach at The Annenberg for a super breakfast with splendid views. Definitely good food, fresh air, and a sparkling environment. A lot of fun indeed.

August saw us visit another recent addition to Santa Monica’s culinary canvas as we enjoyed a delightful tasting at Le Grande Orange on Main Street. I remember the Charred Black Cod as being quite simply top of the class. A most delicious, most flaky, and obviously most fresh piece of cod, skillfully prepared, and served with the delightful broth and bok choy, it literally melted in my mouth.

In fall, we had a beef about the season when we herded ourselves to some local burger joints to get some red meat. The Counter, Father’s Office, Ye Olde Kings Head, Hal’s Bar & Grill, Houston’s, and Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers all gave us their interpretations of perfectly priceless patties.

 And, to round the year off, one of my December visits was to that staple of delightful Delis, The Broadway Deli, where myself and the deli-ghtful Michaela enjoyed a deli-cious breakfast in the form of their Smoked Salmon Scramble. Very tasty, and soon to be repeated, I hope.

Watch this space in 2010 for more gastronomic tales, tips on the best places to dine, and some features on local chefs. Happy New Dining Year everybody!


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