7/11/2013 02:59:00 PM

Best Thing We Ate: Tower 8's Crab Cake Bites and Chopped Salad

Summer in LA means when you live on one part of town and it's 100 degrees, and the other side of town is a breezy 78 degrees, you swiftly high-tail it across the 10 freeway for cooler pastures. That's what we did when we just couldn't take our lack of air conditioning one minute longer and holed up at the Oceana Beach Club Hotel in Santa Monica for a night. The rooms are big, you're right on Palisades Park, a few blocks from everything in downtown Santa Monica and easy beach access. Plus - and this is our favorite new discovery - Josiah Citrin, yes, the award-winning chef from Melisse, created the menu for the hotel's Tower 8 restaurant. And even though he's not there cooking, it's actually really good.

The restaurant is right off the pool in the middle of the courtyard, a smallish space with a few tables outside. It's the kind of place you'd overlook even staying at the hotel - not many people were dining over the 24-hour period we were there, but there's no reason to avoid it. The Citrin menu has Mediterranean flair, with a focus on ingredients they probably picked up at the farmer's market just around the corner. We snacked to taste a few things all at once - blue crab cake bites, which were full of crabby flavor and a delicious aioli on the side; an awesome chopped salad with almonds, quinoa, shrimp, garbanzos, plump chilled shrimp and beautifully fresh cherry tomatoes; and a surprising Cuban sandwich. It was all great, and much better than an an overpriced dinner we grabbed nearby the night before. Point is: land at the Oceana and you don't really have to leave - at least, not until the heat wave breaks.

1 comment :

  1. Those look good. I really enjoyed the burger at Tower 8 a few months back.

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