Subject: re: Dining Santa Monica, CA

I live in West Los Angeles about three blocks away from Santa Monica. I hope that we have better weather for your visit later this month. Right now we are experiencing coastal low clouds and fog that barely burn off for a few hours in the afternoon. Come prepared for cool, foggy days and evenings.

But you should eat well on your trip. My #1 recommendation is The Border Grill at 1445 4th Street

It is too nice to be described as a taqueria, but they serve fabulous southwestern food. The chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are sort of celebrities as the Two Hot Tamales on the Food Network, but they have kept their focus on the food at the restaurant. I love eating there because they cook with very high quality ingredients and the flavors are so bold. The noise level can be high at dinner so if this is a concern visit at lunch. You'll spend $25-35 per person at dinner for an appetizer, entree and drink or dessert. But that is midpriced for this neighborhood.

I also highly recommend a trip to the two Farmer's Markets that the 3rd Street Promenade hosts each week. The one on Wednesday morning is one of the biggest farmer's markets in California. Many area chefs shop there for fruit and vegetables because the quality is so high. Saturday morning is smaller but all organic.

You can also check out La Salsa, a chain taqueria on the Promenade. Very good especially for soft tacos and burritos. There are about a half dozen fabulous neighborhood Mexican restaurants that I like nearby but none is walkable. Try to avoid the Broadway Deli or the Broadway Bar and Grill. Neither is my favorite place.

If you want a nicer meal, try Pentola, 312 Wilshire. Warm wood- paneled interior and tasty Italian food. If you can spend a little more in exchange for an unbelievable view, visit The Lobster at the corner of Ocean and Broadway just above the Santa Monica Pier. A fabulous place for a drink at sunset.

Have a great trip!

Mark Los Angeles