Tar & Roses, Santa Monica (plus a promo via LiveDeal!)

Well friends, I have some big news! I am typing this post from Melbourne- that’s right, Alex and I are finally reunited! I moved over here three days ago (hence the lack of posts- turns out moving your entire life across the world in two suitcases is fairly hectic) and am loving it so far. On my way over I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend a few days reminiscing in LA with college friends, and it was perfectly timed with an awesome contact from LiveDeal.com. LiveDeal is essentially a beautifully designed aggregator of every real-time food deal going on in LA (and San Diego)- from $8 bites & $4 beers at Scarpetta’s happy hour to 2 for 1 drinks at Cabo Cantina, LiveDeal tracks it all. They generously provided me with a gift card to Tar & Roses, a restaurant that I have been wanting to try for ages.

When we arrived for our Monday evening reservation, the restaurant was packed with well-dressed Santa Monica folks and happy chatter. Our table wasn’t ready upon arrival, but the two glasses of champagne they gave us while we waited definitely helped abate our appetites and encourage our patience. Once seated, our waiter helped guide us towards a white wine that would suit our meal and satisfy Jeremy, my red wine-loving dinner companion. Tar & Roses takes pride in their amazing wood fire oven, so we started off with wood roasted english peas, as well as chicken oyster skewers. The english peas are meant to mimic edamame, and were incredible! One of the best starters I have had in recent memory- they were fresh yet bursting with flavour from the mint and sea salt. I couldn’t stop eating them, and happily would have taken a bowl or two for the road. The chicken was cooked to perfection- so tender that I was almost nervous that they were underdone (they weren’t- goes to show you how rare it is to actually get nicely cooked chicken). The tamarind sauce accompaniment was one of the strongest flavours of the night, and I could happily eat it on almost anything. Feeling adventurous, I agreed to Jeremy’s suggestion of squid ink pasta with octopus, and am so pleased that I went along for the ride. The octopus was incredibly tender, and the pasta got a nice, bright boost from the inclusion of blistered tomatoes. Jeremy said it was one of the best squid ink pastas he has ever had, especially since it was so light, and I’m inclined to believe him! Next came our main course- skate wing with wood roasted escarole, romesco and risotto. We also ordered brussels sprouts with pancetta, chesnuts and mustard (but we omitted the pancetta- heaven forbid I get through an entire meal without an omission or substitution) and wood roasted sunchokes with goat cheese, lemon and hazelnuts. Holy god, the skate wing. Absolute perfection. It fell apart with the slightest prodding with a fork, and was jam packed with flavour with a beautiful sear. The romesco was intense and flavourful, a perfect complement to the woodsy escarole. The risotto was incredibly simple, bordering on a little boring, when tasted on its own, but it was the ideal base for the other flavourful components on the plate. The goat cheese and lemon zest on the sunchokes were perfectly balanced, but I thought that on the whole the dish was a little heavy- still delicious though. The brussels sprouts left us wanting for a bit more seasoning, which was my fault because it was evident that they would have been perfect with the pancetta. We were incredibly full at this point, but couldn’t say no to dessert. At our waiter’s suggestion, we ordered the strawberry ricotto crostata with honeycomb ice cream, which is easily one of the best desserts I have had, maybe ever. The tart was buttery and flaky and perfectly crusted with sugar, and the sweet strawberries paired beautifully with the creamy ricotta. The honeycomb ice cream added just the right amount of sugar to each bite, and we demolished it in a matter of minutes. Our waiter said that regulars often come just for this dessert, and I’m completely unsurprised by this- if I lived in SM I would probably find myself at T&R once a week for this dessert (and some snow peas too!). Service was excellent from start to finish, with the manager even stopping by to ask how our meal was going. I’m sad that I made my way over to Tar & Roses so late in the game, because it is definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in LA. I am so happy and thankful that LiveDeal provided me with this opportunity, and we have one for you, too! Share this post via social media and automatically be entered to win a $25 gift card to Tar & Roses. Just share the link via Facebook or Instagram with the tag #boymeetsgirlmeetsfood, and we will draw a winner in 72 hours! Happy sharing!

– priya

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champagne while we perused the menu

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we loved this wine selection, suggested by our waiter. fruity, light and slightly bubbly.

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THESE SNOW PEAS I WANT TO EAT THEM FOREVER

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Chicken Oyster Skewers with Tamarind Sauce

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Squid Ink Fettucini- octopus, blistered tomato, breadcrumbs

DSC_0793Skate Wing- risotto, wood roasted escarole, romesco

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Sunchokes- goat cheese, lemon, hazelnuts

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Wood Roasted Brussels Sprout- pancetta, mustard, chestnuts

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Strawberry Ricotta Crostata with Honeycomb Ice Cream

DSC_0804I loved this. On point and hilarious.