One Pico

1 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405 • (310) 587-1717 • bytheblueseasantamonica.com/restaurants-pico.html

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Shutters on the Beach is an anomaly of a hotel. It’s quaint, yet massive. Low key, yet cool. Cool, but not trendy. And while I do love it, I also hate it. The valet circle is such a debacle I wish someone would carpet bomb it and start anew. The layout of the hotel is more confusing than The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The bar area, a.k.a. lobby, is so understated that no one ever states anything about it. And their fancy restaurant, One Pico, is less impressive than the casual, much cheaper option below, Coast.

Now, apart from having a pair of mediocre meals there, my other gripe is the name. Sure, I get that it’s the hotel’s address, One Pico Blvd., but who are we kidding, they purposefully made the word “pico” diminutive so that the ONE is center stage, clearly going after a double entendre, that in my opinion failed misérable, because if ever there was one restaurant to go to in Santa Monica, this would not be it. It’s your typical hotel grub with a jacked price tag.

But if you really feel like staying in, my advice, at least walk over to the sister hotel next door, Casa Del Mar and eat at Catch. You can still put the bill on your room even if you’re staying at Shutters and I give you my ferocious word you’ll be MUCH happier with your meal. Not to mention happier than the chef at One should they ever read this review and see that I’m giving One… only two.

2 teeth

Le Fumoir

Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd. Galata, Istanbul, TK • (0212) 244 2423 • http://www.georges.com/french-restaurant-istanbul-le-fumoir/
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Located on the roof of the very hip George Hotel in the Galata district of Istanbul, this place enjoys a very impressive view of Sultanahmet (an incredibly scenic and historic peninsula in Istanbul loaded with wonderful sights to see like The Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia, Topkapi Palace and The Grand Bazaar). But far more impressive than all of that is Le Fumoir’s Bloody Mary.

Really? In Turkey? Bloody yes! Up there with as good as I’ve ever had. First, they make it with fresh made tomato juice, no canned shit. Then they add roasted red peppers and if you tell them you like it “aci” (spicy), they will deliver in spades. But the heat alone isn’t what makes this cocktail shine, it’s the quality of the ingredients. So simple, yet so fresh, which even makes all the difference when it comes to hooch.

On the other side of the table, wifey enjoyed a gin-based variation on a mojito, made extra refreshing with the addition of cucumber. While also good, it was no Bloody Mary. Both, however were good enough that we felt very conflicted about leaving to go to our dinner reservation elsewhere. I mean, if they can do this with booze, I have to believe the food is something to behold. Note to self for my next visit to Istanbul.

So please read the knife count with an elephant-sized asterisk, because I am only judging it based on setting and drinks. If you eat here and hate it, I am absolving myself of all legal ramifications.

4 teeth