Category Archives: Seafood

Dinner at Santa Monica Seafood

I’ve gotten fish numerous times from Santa Monica Seafood, and every time I’m there I always look at the people in the cafe adjacent to the market and tell myself that one time I’m going to actually enjoy dinner at Santa Monica Seafood rather than just taking my fresh fish and preparing it at home.  My parents are big fans of the Santa Monica Seafood cafe, so when they invited the Englishman and I to join them for dinner one evening, we jumped at the chance.

Since I have had nothing but positive experiences from the fish market, I knew I would be in for a treat by having dinner at Santa Monica Seafood.  As soon as we sat down at our table we were presented with freshly sliced sourdough and butter.

Santa Monica Seafood BreadSourdough bread topped with butter is one of my favorite things ever and it took all my willpower to not devour the bread basket and spoil my appetite for dinner.  So good.

Santa Monica Seafood CalamariWe ordered some calamari as an appetizer and it was light, crisp, and cooked perfectly.  I’ve ordered calamari at many restaurants and it generally comes out overly breaded or soaked in oil which makes the entire dish greasy, but this version had just the right amount of crunch and no excess oil.

Santa Monica Seafood Clam ChowderThe Englishman also ordered a bowl of clam chowder (which is one of the few foods that doesn’t photograph well) to start, and it was definitely on par with some of the clam chowder I have had up in the bay area.  Not a rubbery clam in sight!

Santa Monica Seafood Shrimp PanzanellaFor entrees, I ordered the Grilled Shrimp Panzanella Salad which came with shrimp, avocado, mixed greens, tomato and croutons.  It was light and refreshing, and the shrimp was grilled perfectly.  I also liked that it came with a light viniagrette instead of a heavy cream based dressing so the seafood could shine.

Santa Monica Seafood fish n chipsMy mom and the Englishman ordered the Fish N’ Chips which was some of the best fish n’ chips I’ve had in a long time (and the Englishman agreed).  The batter was nice and crispy, the fish light and flaky, and you can’t go wrong with a side of fries.  The Englishman generously shared some of his fish in exchange for a few of my grilled shrimp.

Santa Monica Seafood ravioliMy dad went with the Red Rock Shrimp and Bay Scallops with Mushroom Ravioli.  He let me have a few bites of his dish and the ravioli literally melted in your mouth.  I may have to order that dish next time for the ravioli alone.

I am so glad we finally had the chance to have dinner at Santa Monica Seafood.  It definitely exceeded my expectations and I will be back again very soon.  And if you are in the market for fresh fish but don’t have time to stay and dine, then be sure to check out Santa Monica Seafood’s fish market.  You won’t be disappointed.

Shrimp Scampi with Lemon Pappardelle Pasta

A few weeks back, I bought a package of Trader Joe’s Lemon Pappardelle Pasta after hearing rave reviews from friends/family/other food blogs.  I’m pretty much a fan of all things Trader Joe’s, so I had a feeling this pasta would be quite tasty.

image source –

Now that I had my new pasta find, it was time to find the perfect recipe to test it out.  After much important deliberation, I came to the conclusion that Shrimp Scampi would most likely be the perfect complement to the Lemon Pappardelle Pasta (spoiler alert – it was).

I decided to go with a “lightened” version of Shrimp Scampi and adapted a recipe from Cooking Light.  The end result was delicious, and  I highly recommend that you go buy a package of this pasta right away!

Shrimp Scampi with Lemon Pappardelle Pasta (adapted from Cooking Light)


1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot

1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used Trader Joe’s minced garlic)

2 tablespoons capers

1/3 cup white wine (I just used wine I had in the fridge, any type should do)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

cheese for garnish (optional)


Cook the Lemon Pappardelle Pasta according to directions.  While pasta is boiling, rise shrimp and pat dry.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Chop up your shallot and toss in the skillet.  Cook shallot until it is golden brown.  Add in the minced garlic.

Add your shrimp and sautee for one minute.  Pour in the wine, season with salt and pepper  and sautee for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the parsley, lemon juice and capers and mix well to coat.  Continue to cook shrimp for roughly one more minute or until done.

Top your pasta with shrimp, garnish with a little cheese (I chose goat cheese), add some vegetables if you choose, dig in, and enjoy!

Dinner with the new kid in town: Rock’N Fish Laguna Beach

I was recently asked to write a review on the newest Rock’N Fish restaurant that recently opened in Laguna Beach (you can read my review here).  So on a lovely Friday evening the boy and I headed out for a delicious fish dinner right in the heart of downtown Laguna.

The Rock’N Fish in Laguna occupies the upstairs half of the old Jolly Roger restaurant with a Tommy Bahama store directly underneath, so you get that cool, beachy vibe the minute you walk in the restaurant.  Much like it’s predecessors Rock’N Fish Manhattan Beach and Rock’N Fish at LA Live, the restaurant has a sleek bar area and cozy booths around the perimeter of the main dining area.  We were seated next to the window overlooking the ocean.  Perfect atmosphere for a date night if you ask me.

But enough about the decor.  Let’s get to the food.  For drinks the boy stuck with various English beers and I decided on martinis.  (I happen to be a big martini fan but rarely have them).  My first martini was a Rock’N Tini, which had vodka, agave thyme syrup and fresh squeezed guava nectar.  I’m not usually a big fan of sweet drinks but this had just the right amount of sweet and tartness combined.

The Rock'N Tini in all it's delicious glory

While we waited for our food to arrive we were served the most delicious sourdough bread.  It was so yummy that we both wolfed it down before I even had time to whip out my camera and take a picture.  It was warm, doughy, and everything fresh baked bread should be.  I would come back to Rock’N Fish for the sourdough bread.  No joke.

Then it was Calamari time.  The Calamari was lightly breaded and came with a variety of dipping sauces.  While it wasn’t the best Calamari I’ve ever had, it was quite tasty.  I think a little more lemon juice and some spices would’ve been a nice addition.

Calamari Appetizer before feasting

Then it was entree time.  Fish ‘N Chips for him, grilled Mahi Mahi for her.  The grilled Mahi Mahi was light and flaky, and came with my two choices of sides (sweet potato fries and vegetables).  While I enjoyed the fish, I would’ve liked to see more offerings on the vegetable front.

See those sweet potato fries? Totally dominated

The verdict on the Fish ‘N Chips was that it was good, but definitely not mind blowing.  After much discussion the “Great Fish ‘N Chips” challenge was born.  What is this you may ask?  A simple quest to find the best Fish ‘N Chips Orange County has to offer.

Then there was dessert.  Sticky toffee pudding to be exact.  Heaven on a plate if you will.  You get my drift.

Foodgasm on a plate

All in all a lovely evening.  Rock ‘N Fish plans to have its whole menu up and running by April and I for one cannot wait.  I’ll definitely be back for Round 2 of delicious seafood, delightful drinks and of course the bread.  It’s always about the bread.