Eating in Santa Monica
I visited LA for the first time in my life last weekend. I was working nonstop, so my favorite new-place activity was limited to Santa Monica and a little bit in Culver City, HOWEVER:
With the exception of a beachside joint in Santa Monica called Cha Cha Chicken that serves Caribbean food cooked by people from Caribbea, as it were (a formula for success, regardless of style/ethnicity,) the quality of my meals had a consistent and clear inverse linear relationship to their costs.
Cha Cha Chicken excluded, because it was the best food at 10 bucks a pop.
Best: $1 tacos at a truck (Ruben's Tacos)
Second Best: $2 tacos at a shack (Cinco de Mayo)
Third: $3 tacos at a beachside stand (no idea what it is called, but it is on the Santa Monica Pier, and open at 10 am)
Fourth: $11 Burger at Father's Office. A damn fine burger, but the chorizo, beef cheek, beef tongue, chicken, and brisket tacos at the aforementioned were all better. Recommend this though, as I think it may in fact be the best burger in Santa Monica.
Fifth: $12 omeletized sandwich sorta thing at a nearly tofu organic crappery style joint. I am told that my companions had excellent food. I did not. It was decidedly average.
Fifth (tie: ) Decidedly average $12 sandwich called a Bacon Bomb at Dogtown Coffee. It was OK and should have been fifth on merit, but given the name I am letting disappointment with What Could Have Been rule the day.
Worst: $16 Evil Thai Princess salad at some stupid joint near Dogtown Coffee. Something with that many bits of red pepper and a name and description suggesting fiery danger and exotic potentiality should not taste like a bad muffaletta (to put that in perspective, I think a great muffaletta tastes like ass.)
Also got to see sunset from the rooftop bar of the Shangri-La Hotel, which was nice.
I enjoyed the Border Grill restaurant in Santa Monica. Probably not so cheap anymore.
Did you find time to grab yourself an In-N-Out burger?
I don't recall an In-N-Out all that close but there's a Tommy's Burger on Pico. And lots of trucks, which he did find.
I used to work in the building just north of the hotel (1 Wilshire at the corner of Wilshire and Ocean) back before they closed off the promenade to traffic.
There are a fair amount of In and Out Burgers in the L.A. area. Definitely worth getting, if you don't have an In and Out in your area.