Santa Monica’s inaugural “Eat Well Week” begins this Sunday with 16 local restaurants offering discounted pre-fixe menus and new healthy menu options to be offered through Jan. 13.
Three of the participating restaurants – Locanda del Lago, The Lobster, and Ocean & Vine at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel – created “Popeye Pop-ups” featuring healthy spinach inspired dishes and recipes on Wednesday at the Downtown Farmers Market on Arizona Avenue between 4th and Ocean.
Ocean & Vine executive chef Keith Roberts said his restaurant would offer five entrees and three appetizers on the special menu.
“We took some of our mainstay menu items and twisted them a little bit,” Roberts said. “We took out some of the fatty ingredients and gave a little bit of a twist on the cooking techniques. You will see a little more roasting and grilling instead of sautéing, but keeping our same high quality ingredients.”
Roberts said his appetizers included a Roasted Garlic Spinach and Red Chard Broth, Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Greens Salad, and a Pacific Lobster Persimmon Slaw.
His entrees include a Vegan Linguini Primavera, California Local Sea Bass, Orange Roast Chicken Breast, Sonoma Duck Breast, and a California Vineyard Smoked Beef Tenderloin.
Roberts said he didn’t have to make many changes to the dishes as most already used fresh ingredients.
“As restaurateurs we know that the trend is already out there,” he said. “That’s what people are asking for and that’s what people are eating.”
The Lobster’s executive chef Collin Crannel said he was thrilled to be part of Eat Well Week.
“We have a great number of healthy dishes,” Crannel said. “We’re doing a seared Albacore that’s thai inspired with coconut lime sauce and cucumber, fresh oysters on the half shell, a beautiful winter Persimmon salad with raisins, nuts, Manchego cheese, and baby red and green romaine.”
As for entrees, Crannel said he would serve up Hangar Steak Kebabs with chive pesto and Romanesco, Salmon with quinoa pilaf, squash, almonds, and spinach with a tzatziki foam sauce, and a Vegetable pasta with ingredients sourced from the Farmers Market.
“It’s great to start off Eat Well Week in winter time when there are great vegetables available,” he said.
Locanda del Lago general manager Megan Sheehy said its special Eat Well Week dishes would build on its regular menu.
“We’re very spot on the Mediterranean diet, which is in general considered the healthiest diet that there is,” Sheehy said. “We make all of our pastas fresh in house so we are aware of preservatives and additives.”
As part of Eat Well Week, Sheehy said a four-course menu would feature items such as a spinach salad, ravioli stuffed with spinach with a spinach garlic sauce, a Steelhead Salmon, and Venison (one of the leanest red meats).
“In addition our menus will be noted with a little vegetarian sign, which will mark all of our local farmers market sourced dishes so people can come in, eat healthy, and try get off those holiday pounds.”
Dine local and learn more about Eat Well Week and Santa Monica’s wellness scene, by visiting http://www.santamonica.com/eatwell.