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SANTA MONICA, California: Our Romantic Getaway on a Budget!

SANTA MONICA, California: Our Romantic Getaway on a Budget!

Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:31 AM
  #1  
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SANTA MONICA, California: Our Romantic Getaway on a Budget!

Santa Monica Trip Report and Getty Villa Visit: February 2009

My husband and I enjoyed a weekend getaway to Santa Monica, California in February 2009. Highlights: sunny weather, beach walks, great food, and a visit to the beautiful Getty Villa in Malibu (free). Our goal was to plan a romantic getaway, for decent prices. It was a great and inexpensive weekend!

Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica hotel:
530 West Pico Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90405

We recommend the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica if you can get a good price. I booked a 4-star hotel on www.hotwire.com for $115 and got the Sheraton Delfina. Excellent staff, comfortable beds, and they are walking distance to Santa Monica pier. A great hotwire deal.

Customer service is excellent at the Sheraton Delfina. Our first room was small but still definitely worth the price we paid. But the water pressure in the shower was too strong, creating a painful spray that you couldn't stand in, and there was no way to adjust it. I called the front desk and they immediately solved the problem, to my delight! They sent up an “engineer” in 5 minutes, who quickly determined that the water pressure wasn't adjustable, so he talked to the manager for us and came back upstairs with new room keys for us. We were efficiently moved to a bigger upgraded room on the same floor. In the second room, the shower head was the same, but the water pressure was just right, so the shower was comfortable. We were very impressed with the concern that the staff showed to us, and how they really cared about our comfort.

Valet parking is normally $30 a day, but they gave gave us a discount on valet when we asked for one. (February is slow season.) You must use valet since there are only a small number of self-park spots which are always full.


Whenever I book a 4-star hotel on www.hotwire.com I always get a comfortable hotel with excellent customer service.

Activities:

Santa Monica Pier & Beaches:
We walked to the Santa Monica pier from the Sheraton Delfina and enjoyed a look at the fun-but-tacky-side of Santa Monica at the pier.

We thought it was fun that many of the beaches in and near Santa Monica have boardwalks or sidewalks, so that you can have a stroll along the beach in your shoes if you wish, people-watch, or even ride your bike or roller blade. We enjoyed walking and people-watching.
Cost: Free!
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:34 AM
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Getty Villa Malibu:
The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA
www.getty.edu

A highlight of the weekend was our visit to the beautiful Getty Villa in Malibu. Cost: Free! ($8 for parking). You just need to make a reservation on their web-site before your visit, and they e-mail you free tickets.

I loved walking in the beautiful, atmospheric gardens with reflecting pools at the Getty Villa. There's a peak of ocean view as well. The museum is interesting. This is a Fodor's Choice in the Fodor's Southern California 2009 guidebook. We definitely think it is worthwhile.

We enjoyed 5 hours at the Getty Villa, which is plenty of time. We had a late lunch in their cafe, which has adequate food. (Not great food, but adequate food.)


Dining

We had a delicious time eating our way through Santa Monica, thanks to excellent recommendations of TravelinManChicago on tripadvisor! All of our meals were good, but the following 2 restaurants were our favorites, and I highly recommend them: Fritto Misto (Santa Monica) and Patrick's Roadhouse (Santa Monica).

Fritto Misto
601 Colorado Ave.,
Santa Monica, CA
www.menuclub.com
WOW! If we lived in Santa Monica, we would eat at Fritto Misto every week! They make their own pastas, and on the “pasta specialties” menu section, the chef has created a tantalizing combo of flavors.

During dinner at Fritto Misto, we were marveling over each delicious mouthful, when my husband paused and said, “I feel sad, because soon I'll be full, and then I won't be able to eat any more. And it's so GOOD!” The food was amazing! We enjoyed it so much that we ate there twice.

My favorite at Fritto Misto was the “Jumbo Ravioli”on the pasta specialties section of the menu. Here is the description: “Jumbo Ravioli, with prosciutto, mortadella and chicken tossed with garlic cream, carmelized onions, pancetta, and sun-dried tomatoes: $13.75”. This entree is a flavor sensation with each bite! This dish is a creative blend of exciting flavors.

The chianti wine was also a good wine.

We walked to Fritto Misto from the Sheraton Delfina. It's a long walk, but it is doable. The Sheraton also has a shuttle, but we didn't ever use it. (We also had a car, but we like to walk.)

The only problem is...now that I am back home...I have to eat my own cooking!

Thank you, Fritto Misto...we'll be back! Very highly recommended!

Patrick's Roadhouse
106 Entrada Dr., Santa Monica, 90402
(across the street from Will Rogers State Beach)
www.patricksroadhouse.info

We highly recommend breakfast at Patrick's Roadhouse! Outside it is green and looks like an unlikely spot to eat. Don't let that fool you. Inside is friendly service, great food, good prices, and an eclectic collection of humorous signs to lighten your mood! There is a casual, friendly, laid-back atmosphere.

At Patrick's Roadhouse I enjoyed good coffee, and I ordered a Breakfast Burrito from the specials of the day, written on the blackboard. It was $8.95 for a generous-sized burrito, stuffed with avocado, salsa, cheese, eggs, potato, and bacon or sausage. (I chose bacon.) It was the best breakfast burrito I've ever had anywhere! It was spicy, with the kind of spice that starts gently and then gathers in your mouth as you make your way through the burrito. The flavors and the textures of the burrito were great. Normally I don't think of potato as something to put in a burrito, but the chef made sure that the potato nicely balanced the more spicy aspects of this burrito. There was also a fat slice of fresh tomato on the plate, which also cooled your mouth. I stuffed myself since it was so tasty, and I could barely finish this burrito, even with my husband's help. (He also had his own food to finish!)

If you don't like spicy things, you can have an American breakfast...my husband ordered something tasty that wasn't spicy. The menu has a nice variety. Be sure to see what is on the blackboard for the daily specials.

Highly recommended! We will return to Patrick's Roadhouse next time we are in Santa Monica. This is a unique place to eat.

There is a tunnel near Patrick's Roadhouse to get you across the street for a beach walk, if you want to walk after breakfast.

We'll Be Back:

We'll return to Santa Monica again, since there is lots to do nearby. We didn't have time to check out Hollywood, nor did we have time to take in a show. Next time, I will book a 4-star hotel on hotwire again, and visit the Getty Villa again, walk at the ocean, and of course eat again at Fritto Misto and Patrick's Roadhouse!

We ate at other restaurants as well, but while they were good, they weren't places we would return to. Next visit we are also considering trying Anisette, the expensive French restaurant in Santa Monica.
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:38 AM
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If you want to try Fritto Misto at lunch time, they have a pasta special of the day for $8.50 that comes with salad at lunch time. At dinner, I recommend the delicious entrees on the pasta specialties menu, which are between $10.50 and $15.00, and worth every penny. ><
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:57 AM
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Melissa5, I so enjoyed reading about your time at Santa Monica! And I love the layout of your trip report, it is so organized and filled with such good information for anyone wanting to visit Santa Monica. I also had a good chuckle regarding your husband's comment "I feel so sad..". I adore a man who has a good sense of homour and who loves to eat! Wishing you two many more romantic getaways!
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 01:00 PM
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LoveItaly, thanks for sharing your comments. Yes, my husband does have a sense of humor, and it's a good thing too, since we celebrated our 25th anniversary a couple years ago and we're still travelin'. The older we get, the more humorous life becomes, and the more important it becomes to share a plate of great pasta and a glass of wine!
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Thanks for your report, Melissa5. Santa Monica is sometimes dismissed on this board as being really expensive, so it's good to get another viewpoint. I looked at the menu of your favorite restaurant--it looks good. Did you try one of their fritto mistos?

Do they still have the carousel on the boardwalk? Loved it because it was a location in The Sting.
5alive is offline  
Mar 4th, 2009, 11:31 PM
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5alive, you're welcome. I think a visit to Santa Monica can be planned to suit almost any budget. I have to say that part of the free entertainment for us was watching the women staying in some of the expensive beach-side hotels walk out of their hotels in spikey high heals and head towards the beach! We were wondering how far they were going to get...

No we didn't try any of the fritto mistos at Fritto Misto...what are they? We ordered from the pasta specialties menu because our waiter told us that those recipes were well worked out, and he was right!

I don't recall if there was a carousel on the boardwalk. The amusement rides weren't very busy in February. Most of them were closed. We just wanted to take in the atmosphere, and we were paying more attention to the ocean, and a singer who happened to be playing his guitar.
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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Hi Melissa5,

Glad you enjoyed SM as I'm a native Santa Monican, who has never left and I'm now 51.

Fritto Misto is one of my favorite places too. I like the lunch specials the most, but their breakfasts are pretty good as well. And, to answer 5alive's questions - yes, the carousel is still on the pier, although the pier has changed a LOT over the years.

Just out of curiosity, where are you from?

Judy
jlaughs is offline  
Mar 6th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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jlaughs: We live in San Diego although I'm originally a back-east transplant! Next time I'm in Santa Monica I'm really curious to try Fritto Misto for breakfast. Didn't notice they offered that. What do you recommend there for breakfast?
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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They offer breakfast on the weekends. So far, I've been "stuck" getting the same thing every time I've gotten breakfast, so I can't give you too many suggestions / recommendations. I don't remember exactly since it's been a little while since I've been there for breakfast (usually end up going there for lunch), but I know it has pancetta and some kind of garlic cream sauce. Mmmmmmm....
jlaughs is offline  
Mar 6th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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jlaughs: The garlic cream sauce is terrific at Fritto Misto...2 different dishes that were delicious at Fritto Misto featured a base of garlic cream sauce when we ate there. I'm really curious what they do with breakfast. Hope I can find out next visit. Thanks for the reply.
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2009, 07:57 PM
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Hi, Melissa, fritto misto means something like "fried mix." My first Italian teacher was a middle aged woman who would wax poetic about the food, and I think she was a good cook herself. The items being fried are lightly battered. She said the best one was the fritto misto di mare (of the sea). Different oils might be used, and since one of them is peanut oil, I avoided ordering it.
5alive is offline  

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