Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sonoma in Santa Monica

How did this happen? Somehow we ended up in Sonoma. Yet, this lovely restaurant within a stones throw of the Santa Monica Pier. We were in LA for the Luxury Chocolate Salon and while we're not posting all of our adventures from our trip, you'll get to see a bit of what we enjoyed in SoCal (besides the weather! Finally, Summer). 

The Sonoma Wine Garden is a luxurious spot to while away the evening hours enjoying the view and balmy LA weather. Afterwards, we suggest a digestive walk down to the pier to enjoy a wide variety of characters and the pretty lights of the carnival rides.

 Our starter included 3 of these little guys, but Angela made sure to take a photo before they all got eaten up. We were all ready for some real food after a day of 'tasting'. The red sauce was light and a bit sweet a nice contrast to the hot crisp crunch of breading and  melty insides with a fried basil leaf as yummy garnish.

We couldn't resist Truffle fries with Parmesan and garden parsley as a second appetizer! Sadly there was mostly just crisp fries, with very little earthy truffle flavors. The disappointment was not the fries themselves, which were quite good, but the word "truffle" in the menu description proved to be a misnomer. A great suggestion from the Boss at TasteTv is to put your truffle oil in a mister and then use it to finish a dish. This is an economical way to get great bang for your truffle buck. Angela usually prefers truffle salt, but is certainly willing to try out this idea. By the way, did you know truffle salt has the percentage of truffle listed on the container? This is a good thing to look at when comparing prices.

This is J.K.'s dinner. Lamb Meatballs (there are three meatballs hidden in there, honest!) in pasta, with peppers and garlic. This dish featured linguine, spicy lamb meatballs, pickled Fresno chili, black olive and rosemary. There was enough pasta to enjoy cold as leftovers the next day.

Angela had the fried chicken entree. Specifically, the menu lists it as Buttermilk Fried Chicken: Mary’s organic chicken, southern love, fries. Since we had already munched down on fries, she substituted for the roasted cauliflower and potatoes. The potatoes were good, but the cauliflower was Really good. Too bad the ratio of pots to cflower  was about 4 to 1. Really too bad you can't just exchange the potatoes out for more cauliflower like you would at home when serving yourself... nom nom nom, no one will know if I just eat this out of the pan...

Angela prefers dark meat (thighs), but the mostly boneless all white meat was tender and juicy. The chicken was piping hot with the a good crunch which contrasted well with the savory meat inside. Side sauces were ketchup and an herbed aioli (same for the fries in the above picture). Not pictured are the two nice glasses of Sparkling wine Angela enjoyed with this meal. Angela firmly believes bubbles go with every food in the world.

There's a lot to see and do around Santa Monica, shopping, eating, farmer's markets, surfing, beaching, eating chocolate, looking at the shiny lights and enjoying the carnival rides on the Pier. Just watch out for the pelicans, they can be quite possessive.