La Grande Orange
2000 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405-1010
You are adorable! From the walk up window where one orders breakfast pastries, salads, burgers and sandwiches to the open kitchen and service area customers walk trough to get to a table, you're just fun and lively.
Your English muffins were the only pastry really worthy of note, not being a pastry eater. These muffins were bigger than my head. It may be hard to tell with no physical frame of reference, but these were easily treble the size of the ones you buy at your local market. Where on Earth are you getting these behemoths?
You make fresh juices to order for a mere 3 bones.
And c'mon, how cute is that kids' menu? PB&J Sushi roll with vegan orange jello slices? I want.
La Grande Orange offers some quality reading material to patrons with giant tags on them so media kleptos don't go running off into the sunset with Gourmet magazine or The New Yorker. I know of these media kleptos from first hand experience. I have been known to nick an Allure from the nail salon, or even worse a tabloid so I can read about the latest Brad-Jen-Ang drama. BTW, I am totally enjoying the trumped up possibility that Ang is jealous of Brad's friendship with Jen. Be careful what you ask for, home wrecker.
The dining area is spacious and varied. Lots of regular tables to sit at, booths and even taller bar height tables all with access to free wifi. The high ceilings ensure that what could be a crowded space remains spacious feeling.
I was very tempted by the bar itself. It is a little on the small side, but offers a small selection of great beers but nothing too fancy-pants. Exact same thing with the wine list. My cousin ordered for me some Pinot Grigio (not knowing I don't love Pinot Grigio, it is usually a safe wine for everyone else on the planet) that was very decent )for a Pinot Grigio) and when going to the bar for a second trip I noticed several other wines worthy of drinking. No big names stood out at me, which tells me someone probably chose for flavor and value rather than name recognition in the same price category which usually merits very mediocre wines.
I ate a burger. I have been on a burger kick recently, it must be the season. Or maybe the fact that the entire food blogging universe is talking about, photographing and eating burgers. I am such the happy band wagoner.
This one was damn good. The Green Chili Burger. Roasted poblano pepper, sharp cheddar cheese and medium rare ground beef. Tasted great, and I loved the pepper with it. NO spiciness whatsoever, but the flavors were delish. Meat cooked to perfection. Good bun. Toasted a little, but not to the point it would tear up my mouth like a cheese grater. Also, nice bread flavor and texture. Didn't fall apart after being exposed to the juicy meat.
Wall of wines.
And various other things. They sell a cute tee-shirt with a peace sign constructed from little oranges. We were tempted.
All in all, La Grande Orange is an adorable spot. Full service dining area in the evening, counter service with runners during the day. My companions ordered a Rainbow Roll, Pulled Chicken Nachitos, salad, and Liza the German exchange student ate a veggie burger she raved about on and on. I always think of veggie burgers as being ubiquitous in Europe, so I assumed she knew what she was talking about. If I hadn't met her 5 minutes prior, I would have been eating off her plate.