Monday, January 28, 2013

A Golden Lunch At Golden Mean

On a warm January early afternoon, I ventured with my friends to Golden Mean in Santa Monica. This hidden gem is tucked away on Wilshire Blvd, just blocks away from the gorgeous beach. The air has a hint of salt when you walk in: a combination of the fragrant food and crisp ocean breeze.  The establishment is fairly small, with the giant deli and dessert case in clear view. The restaurant has a cozy feel, but the tables are far enough from one another that you don’t have to worry about other diners listening in on an intimate conversation.  On this day, the restaurant was packed with diners eating lunch, as well as out of work writers drinking coffee and finding inspiration for their next screenplay.

My friends and I were seated upstairs where there was an even more energetic vibe from the customers. It made it a little difficult for us to hear one another. Since the service was so slow, we were given ample time to look over the menu, which included an eclectic offering, from salads to sandwiches to Mexican and Italian food. Since it was still early in the day, I decided to order something light. I began with a drink, which I wouldn’t normally have ordered, but since my two friends were so enthusiastic about it, I gave in, so as not to be left out.

The Hot Maca Drink was a delightful way to begin the meal, but would have been even better as a decadent dessert.

At first glance, it looked like hot chocolate. The drink had a rich cocoa flavor, but had bit of a kick to it. It was sweet with a hint of spiciness. It had a very subtle herb flavor that reminded me that I was drinking something healthy and kept it from being too indulgent.

For my entrée, I had the Arugula Salad.

I found this salad to be quite enjoyable, but was overwhelmed by the arugula. It gave the salad a rather bitter taste, which was contrasted by the succulent apple and beet slices. The dressing was also very tangy and lingered in my mouth. The candied pecans were phenomenal and were perfectly glazed in sugar. My favorite part of the salad of course was the faux cheese croquette. It was essentially deep-fried cashew cheese coated in a savory breading. The “cheese” was very creamy and had a lovely salty taste.

Finally, both the drink and food was delicious, although a bit overpriced. The salad was $12, which was a bit much, considering the portion was fairly small and the salad was mostly composed of arugula. The cashew cheese croquette almost makes it worth it. The maca drink seems reasonably priced at $3.75, considering it is a superfood. Since I have a membership to the Green Menu Card, I received a 10% off discount, which slightly reduced the price. I recommend dining at this restaurant if you’re in the Santa Monica area, but I’m not sure that it’s worth the drive, since there are so many other fabulous restaurants in LA.  Some of my favorite items I’ve had in the past include the Club Sandwich and Breakfast Burrito. I was too full to order cake (which is spectacular), but I highly suggest a visit just for a luscious, moist slice of heaven. 

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