I think I was a tree hugging hippie in a previous life. I absolutely love things that are all-natural, organic, environment friendly, recyclable, and nonconformist, and truly ~ I try to live a much greener life. So I'm always happy when MS and I can hop on the Big Blue for a Venice or Santa Monica trip. This past Sunday, we ventured to Third Street to catch a matinee movie and some eats. It was an ideal day to be out on the Promenade and it seemed as though many people had that same thought. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Perfect for a leisurely stroll with someone special.
MS and I thought of heading over to Musha's again but decided on Monsoon since I had never been before.
For an early Sunday evening, this Asian fusion restaurant on the promenade was pretty empty. Fortunately for our hungry stomachs, we were seated right away. The hostess took us to a side booth in the main room that felt more like a secret hideaway. Strung beads hung from the ceiling and separated us from the couple in the next booth. Asian influenced lanterns hung everywhere, and the restaurant was rich with bold colors of golds, reds, greens, and oranges. The interior reminded us of a scene from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" with all the bamboo and wooden furniture, but I would rate the overall feel of the place as romantic and somewhat stereotypically exotic.
We ordered a bottle of cold "beginners" sake which quenched my thirst without the satisfaction of a more sophisticated sake (like Jozen Mizunogotoshi). For our entrees, we asked for some recommendations and placed an order for the shrimp udon in black bean sauce and sizzling garlic shrimp & scallops with vegetables.
Both dishes were hot on the table (as seen in the steam from the sizzling plate), and cooked in lots of oil. With some white rice, MS and I left no morsel behind and enjoyed the food with our sake. The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the seafood was like sweet butter. These dishes reminded me of the sizzling beef udon with bell peppers which was a late night favorite college craving of mine out on the East side at Garden Cafe (if memory serves me well). The best part of the meal, hands down, was the company. These days, it's quite commonplace for us to get excited about and talk food, unique tastes, clever twists to dishes, the ambiance and atmosphere of a place, and to try to capture each moment, each burst of flavor, each new little discovery. Finding the Best of LA is definitely a lot easier and a whole lot more fun with an epicurean partner in crime!
Monsoon in Santa Monica
Street: 1212 Third Street Promenade