Ocean Avenue’s Day At The Races


Ocean Avenue’s Day At The Races, was a culinary walking tour jam-packed with food, drinks and entertainment. Select Santa Monica restaurants, located within walking distance, such as Del Frisco’s, Red O, O+O Sicilian Kitchen and Bar, Chez Jay, Jimmy’s Famous Tavern, and Herringbone and also the Loews Hotel come together and celebrate the Kentucky Derby. Proceeds went to the Surfrider Foundation, which is an organization that is dear to me.

Ahi Tacos by Del Frisco’s

Surfrider Foundation helps protect our beaches and to keep our waters clean. I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with three core volunteers Summer, Josh and Graham from the West Los Angeles Malibu Chapter. My son has participated in beach clean ups before for Dock Weiler (#proudmomma!) so I was happy for him to meet others who are noble in their care for beaches as well.

We were given a card that mapped out all 7 places we needed to visit and had to have checked off on our list. Once you complete the card, you have the opportunity to bring it back to the main booth at Del Frisco’s and be entered in a drawing to win a night stay at The Shore Hotel. Who wouldn’t want to win staying at a cool, chic and hip hotel right on Ocean Avenue?

We started the derby event out by picking three horses (Gunnevera, Battalion Runner and J Boys Echo) that we hoped would win.

At Del Frisco’s, I started out sipping on a Mint Julep courtesy of American Born Whiskey.

Fresh Corn & Goat Cheese Tamales

Then, we were onto Red O. We nestled up to the bar and were treated to Fresh Corn & Goat Cheese Tamales.

O+O Sicilian Kitchen & Bar, (located past the Santa Monica Pier going southeast on Ocean Avenue) provided attendees with their Classic Meatballs. This trio of large meatballs in a mini cast iron pan with tomato sauce, basil, and shave pecorino cheese were just divine. This spot has been featured on Girls on Food in the past and I know Julianne will have a follow up post on their brunch soon.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern was another spot I was introduced to through this event and I really want to come back to. Although I was already full from the other places, but I had to try their Southwestern Dip. This dip, with fresh tortilla chips was made up of pimento cheese, cheddar cheese, Velveeta cheese, egg salad, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. This dish is decedent and perfectly southwestern!

When we arrived to the Loew’s Hotel, even without derby signage, we knew where to go, cause you can’t miss the large flock of beautiful hats! The section was filled with elegantly dressed guests ready for their horse to win. Hearing people cheer for their horse was contagious and I was pumped for the race. None of my horses were in the lead. Darn. Next year!

TinTin Beligan with Kevin Winston CEO/Founder of Digital LA. Photo Credit Kevin Winston

East & West Coast Oysters by Herringbone Santa Monica

To conclude after all that excitement, it was time for Oysters at Herringbone.

This was definitely an eventful day which reminded me of a scavenger hunt, but with food and drinks as the reward. Being a foodie, this well worth the price of the $40.00 ticket and I hope this continues every year in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica restaurants- I want to see you join in on the fun and for the cause next year! Contact Spin PR Group here.

Christine Beligan

I was born in the Philippines and came to live in Los Angeles with my family when I was 3 years old. I grew up mostly eating Filipino Food, Asian Cuisines, and some American comfort foods. I remember us hosting so many parties when I was kid because my Mom was a well known cook amongst our family and friends. Plus, she is from a province in the Philippines called Tarlac and they are known to be great cooks. I started learning how to cook Filipino food in my 20’s, and creating my own versions of adobo, pancit, lumpia, turon, and pineapple chicken. Then I started to create dishes in my mind and cook from there. It wasn’t until my teens that I developed a palate for Italian cuisine, which is my favorite. I began to taste any Italian restaurant that was recommended to me. In the last few years, I have developed a love of going out to dine, and trying new places. It keeps it interesting. I met fellow foodies in the last year who have helped me to develop my palate. I would have never tried Octopus on my own, but there is this one restaurant that turned me on to Grilled Spanish Octopus, Citizen Kitchen by Chef Zach Geerson. I think by attending his wine pairing dinners that I have gone to, it has helped me to enjoy wonderful flavors that I may not have thought would go together. It’s those types of dining experiences that made me hunger for more. It has created this passion inside me to be more bold and daring to accept what is not the norm. With that said I am looking forward to future encounters with Chefs that will blow my mind with their work of art and vision.