Day 5 of Santa Monica

Athena ScalziOne of these days, I’ll finally go to the beach, but today was not that day. The UV index was at 10, and I didn’t feel like looking like a lobster, so I held off. I did, however, go to lunch at a Mexican restaurant called El Cholo with a different family friend from Hollywood.

The entrance to the restaurant was one of the most unique I’ve seen in the area, with an outdoor section right in front, underneath cloth coverings and string lights. The stone walls around the outdoor section were surrounded with greenery. 

The inside had white pillars and arches throughout, and tons of hanging plants all around.  

As per usual, they brought us out chips and salsa, so we snacked on those as we looked over the somewhat small menu. I wanted the crab enchiladas, but they came with a jalapeno cilantro pesto cream sauce on top, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the heat of the jalapeno. The waitress assured me that it wasn’t spicy at all, but those are always famous last words.

Nonetheless, I took the risk, and I’m so happy I trusted the waitress because the sauce was delicious. I couldn’t even taste any jalapeno at all, but the cilantro really shined through. The crab enchiladas themselves were good, but wouldn’t have been even close to as good without the creamy pesto sauce. 

A yellow plate with Mexican rice, black beans with fresca cheese crumbled on top, and crab enchiladas covered in a green sauce, with avocado slices and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Normally, I never eat the rice and beans that comes on the side, just because I’m really not a fan of either in a general sense, but both the rice and black beans that came with this dish were superb! Especially if you got the rice mixed in the enchilada sauce. 

We passed on dessert, but with the check, the waitress brought us both a tiny little bag of pecan praline candies, which were super sweet and perfect little bites to end the meal. 

A small brown paper bag that has the El Cholo logo on it. Two pecan praline candies sit on top of the bag.

Best of all, the prices were good! I’ve been having a bit of sticker shock whilst I’ve been in LA, and I’m trying to adjust, but I really have been spending what feels like a ton on what seems like so little. Though, that is just kind of the world is right now, anyways. 

After lunch, I just rested at the house and wrote a post, then went to dinner. 

I headed back to Longitude, inside the Marriott, despite having a dozen other places on my list to try out, just because it was close, I like the hotel lobby atmosphere, and they have food I like. (Though, to be fair, there isn’t much food I don’t like.)

This time around, I wasn’t as hungry, so I just got the cheese and charcuterie board. 

A white rectangular plate with an assortment of meats and cheeses, as well as tiny pickles and baguette slices.

It came with two types of cheeses, one was brie, and I wasn’t positive what the other one was, but I think they said it was some type of drunken goat cheese. It certainly tasted funky like a goat cheese. Other than that, there were three kinds of meat, and again I literally had no idea what types they were except like the most basic salami one. One was strangely like a baloney. I wasn’t much a fan of the two unknown ones, but the salami was good. There was also whole grain mustard and fig spread, both of which I’m a fan. And of course, cornichons. Normally, I love pickles, but these little ones packed way too much of a punch for me, and I couldn’t eat more than one. 

I wasn’t hungry enough for any more food, so I just tried one of their craft cocktails (which are eighteen fucking dollars each). I got the cherry thyme cocktail. It was made with vodka, cherry-thyme syrup, lime, cucumber, and ginger beer. It mostly tasted like rubbing alcohol, but it had this cute little sprig of thyme in it! So that’s something. 

A tall glass filled with pinkish-reddish liquid. There is ice, a sprig of thyme, and a white paper straw in the glass.

I wanted to try something else, since the cherry thyme was a bit disappointing, so I got the watermelon smash. This one also had vodka, muddled watermelon, mint, and lime. It was vastly superior, and I really enjoyed the fresh watermelon pieces that accompanied it. 

A short glass filled with pink liquid, topped with three pieces of watermelon on a skewer.

I decided I couldn’t leave without trying their other dessert, the croissant banana bread pudding. It was underwhelming, to say the least. The lighting certainly isn’t doing it any favors, but it wasn’t that great. It was too dense, and I hated the strawberry sauce. Definitely get the slightly over-torched creme brulee instead. 

A white circular plate with two rectangular pieces of bread pudding on top, drizzled with chocolate and strawberry sauce, and a dusting of powdered sugar.

So, another pretty chill day. If you can’t tell by this point, basically all I do is eat. I don’t see landmarks, I don’t go to museums, I just want to try as much food as possible. Trying new restaurants, experiencing new foods and flavors, that’s the best part of traveling to me. That, and shopping, but I’m trying not to do that here. My food bill costs enough as it is, I don’t need to add my shopping addiction bill on top of that. 

It’s amazing I’m this close to the beach and still haven’t even walked on the sand, gotten in the ocean, or visited the pier. I know it’s a must, and I’m almost out of time, but I keep finding reasons not to go. Maybe I’ll just go walk there right now. 

Have a great day!


10 Comments on “Day 5 of Santa Monica”

  1. The bologna-like sausage in the middle there is almost certainly mortadella, and it’s a lot like bologna because bologna is basically mortadella with those chunks of fat emulsified and mixed in with the rest.

    Can’t see the other one clearly enough to make a guess.

  2. From experience, the bars at hotels such as the Marriott in Santa Monica are priced for people on expense accounts who are not particularly price-sensitive.

  3. Can confirm, the middle meat is mortadella — actually from Modena, but Bologna is close by and much bigger, so that’s the name it got exported with.
    The top one looks like it might be a prosciutto crudo or similar, but can’t quite see it well enough to be sure; could also be a jamón serrano.

  4. hotel food!?

    when you got zillions of places to choose from that aren’t blanded down to conform to some corporate notion of beige food-like stuff?

    as to the UV issue… better get used to it… as climate change worsens so too there’s likely to be ever higher levels of UV since heat supercharges chemical reactions amongst various atmospheric pollutants which are known to chew on ozone…

    in recent years lots of folk here in NYC have been walking around in summer with umbrellas as way to both avoid sunstroke/overheating and scalp sunburn… less greasy than SPF 1000 and cheaper too…

  5. I’m not sure what day number we’re on for our Hawaii trip. We advanced five time zones overnight on the way back. It still feels like Friday. Honolulu to Chicago is a long flight. At least the last leg onto Cincy will be short.

    We’re an eat-to-live family. We’d rather spend our time exploring. I joke that we’ve eaten Subway in fifty states. However, that is probably literally true.

  6. I do hope you went for that evening beach walks. Beaches are best in the evening — much less risk of sunburn, and you get a nice sunset on the west coast if you’re out late enough.

  7. I’m glad that you enjoyed your dinner at El Cholo. I’ve been to a couple of their other locations and had food ranging from good to mediocre.

    I hope that you made or make it to the beach. Don’t feel that you have to go into the water; I’ve walked the Santa Monica and Venice beaches dozens of times without touching the ocean. There’s a footpath connecting the two beaches if you don’t want to slog through sand.

  8. Love El Cholo! And yeah, it’s set up for tourists and locals alike, which is why the food is not as spicy as the more authentic mom and pop Mexican restaurants in LA.

    Drinks (cocktails) around LA are for sure in the $12-18 (and up!) range, totally depending on the restaurant (boutique or chain), location and popularity. So that’s a normal price you paid for those.

    And of course you’re on the West side, so prices in general will run higher the closer to the beach cities you get. Next time you come to LA and have the means of getting around, lots of other great neighborhoods will have different shopping and eating experiences (and prices!) for you. xo

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