It’s great to have friend in high places… or hot kitchens! I got an invite to the preview brunch at Santa Monica’s Areal, a breezy white washed patio with a farm to table menu. Through clenched teeth, the kitchen brags that everything is made from scratch and you can taste it in every dish they put out.
Though I longed for the ricotta with honey, I went straight for the slightly healthy option: Moroccan Stew. A deeply spiced broth flutters around fresh cannellini and garbanzo beans, carrots, cauliflower and leafy greens. Crispy-edged fried egg whites hold two still runny yolks. Warm and wholesome, this could have easily been my entire meal.
The menu description of the Soccas sounded like flat breads, so the waiter explained these are based on a French street food. It’s sort of like a crepe made of garbanzo flour that is traditionally served plain. At Areal, they bake it in the wood fire oven with a light scattering of toppings. My friend and I both gravitated towards the heirloom tomato and arugula and the waiter hardly agreed. I preferred the crisp edge of the socca over the eggy tasting (there is no egg) center. But I don’t imagine I’ll be ordering this again in light of the phenomenal pizzas coming out of this same oven!
Choosing just one pizza proved a daunting task—there was only us two girls and no take out boxes to tackle the meal—so I conceded the choice to my guest. When I first began reviewing pizza for Slice I did A LOT of reading about the scene here. One of the tidbits that really stuck with me was the observation that Angeleno’s are obsessed with burrata. At first I was offended by the stereotype, but this past year I’ve silently watched as every native Angeleno automatically orders anything with burrata on it… and so, that is how we arrived at the Radicchio, Cherry Tomato and Burrata Pizza. I’ve had radicchio on many pizzas and have concluded that its bitter crunch has no place on my pies. Toppings aside, the crust is the star and the reason everyone should get their tukis here now!
2820 Main Street
Santa Monica CA, 90405