mmmm? - eh.

So there is a new(ish) restaurant in town with a fancy name and bright colors. I want to like it SO BAD. It's got outdoor seating (bring your dogs!), dark wood interior, sangria (!!), takes online reservations (cuz, y'know I am afraid of talking on the phone), there are lots of friendly servers, and it has a well designed website and menu. In my quest to force it into being my new favorite restaurant I've gone there 4 times in the last month.

La Grande Orange. A failed love story.

First visit:
breakfast: hash browns, huevos rancheros, latte.
The foam on the latte was beautiful and decent. The hash browns were greasy and delicious. And the huevos rancheros needed salt.

Second visit:
breakfast: egg salad sandwich, hash browns, orange juice.
The OJ was fresh squeezed and yum!
Hash browns were a little greasier this time. Still didn't stop me from plowing through them. The egg salad needed a lot of salt.

Third visit:
dinner: Sweet potato roll, Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos, red sangria.
The roll - omg. Soooo good. The "seared" ahi tacos were completely cooked and flavorless. The person I was with also ordered them and hers came with a side of mayo instead whatever more appropriate but completely forgettable condiment mine came with. It was just a mistake but it was kind of nasty for her to dunk it in the mayo. (unless you like mayo. then you would have been happy.)

The red sangria, along with the LGO cocktail she had were both really really good. They also have white sangria during the summer.

Fourth visit:
dinner: Sweet potato roll, miso-glazed salmon roll, crunchy tuna roll, red sangria and my friend had turkey meatloaf and a decaf coffee (uh? What?) and warm cookie with ice cream.

Again, the sweet potato roll was really good, altho not as good as the first time. The salmon roll is their "signature" roll and it was just ok. The crunchy tuna roll was equally meh. Her turkey meatloaf looked just like very thin lunch meat style slices of turkey COVERED in gravy (this is bad, unless of course you like your food to be drowned. you probably also like mayo. whatever drowns your boat.). She thought her coffee was bitter. And for desert she didn't think the teeny scoop of ice cream was worth an extra buck.

They say it's all seasonal and organic. And I am pretty sure they shop at the local farmer's markets - all of these things are a yay. Their food is just really underwhelming.

I think it is a fine place. Food is very average and very bland - so keep the salt close! I like the atmosphere and will continue to go back and try new things. It's a great place if you want to take visitors who are used to bland chain restaurants (I'm talking to you Cheesecake Factory) but want to try something in Santa Monica before you stroll them down Main St.

La Grande Orange
2000 Main St
SM CA 90405

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