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Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Enlightened Traveler: Santa Monica's Main St.

The tourists flock to the Third St. Promenade. Those of us who live in Santa Monica go elsewhere to dine and shop. Main St., for example.

We're pleased to see that the "wrong end" of the avenue (the stretch north of Ocean Park Blvd.) is getting a bit more interesting at last.

This morning we strolled over – with our cousins from Santa Barbara who were under mandatory evacuation orders due to the Jesusita fires – to the new La Grande Orange cafe and enjoyed a splendid breakfast. It was a "soft" opening (invited guests only) intended to give the kitchen and wait staff a trial run. Add ImageJudging from the tasty food and friendly, efficient service, they don't need any more practice. They should just open the place and brace themselves for the hordes that will descend.
We loved their perfectly timed and presented soft-boiled eggs, wonderful muffins and other baked goods, housemade muesli, and especially their Lemon Skinny, a dinner plate sized crepe-like pancake second only to Musso & Frank's famous flannel cakes, a perennial favorite of ours.
The dining room is spacious and comfortable with a pleasant terrace on two sides. There's also a cozy wine bar featuring a small selection of Santa Barbara labels.

After your meal stop in a few doors further north at Goudas & Vines to inspect their ample array of wines and imported foods, including MarieBelle hot chocolate mix (another favorite), Ravida and other premium olive oils, and a good deal more.

As for La Grande Orange, breakfast is served from 6:30 daily. It's open for lunch and dinner till 11pm weeknights and later on the weekends. Open for business starting Tuesday, May 12.

We'll be back, and often.

La Grande Orange, 2000 Main St., Santa Monica,
(310) 396-9152

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