Santa Monica Restaurant Week is a Santa Monica-based dining campaign crafted by Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT). Held in conjunction with California Restaurant Month, the week-long program highlights participating restaurants throughout Santa Monica that will each craft a healthy, custom dish, centered around a special restaurant week ingredient. This year, Santa Monica will celebrate the persimmon, and for a limited time, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier will offer a unique persimmon funnel cake.
Persimmons have been cultivated for centuries and are perhaps most revered in Asian countries where they are dried, pickled, and cooked into many dishes, desserts, and even soups. There two types of Persimmons: the large, heart-shaped astringent fruits which are typically soft like a tomato and the smaller, flatter non-astringent varieties that are crunchy like an apple. Persimmons grown in California are in season during the cool winter months and are readily available at local grocery stores and farmers markets from November to January.
Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier is known for many things – a solar-powered Ferris wheel, a block of retro-themed midway games, shops stocked full of Santa Monica t-shirts and trinkets. When it comes to dining, Pacific Park offers a wide-variety of treats typical to many entertainment destinations including Wetzel’s Pretzels, Dippin’ Dots, and Popcornopolis popcorn. However, the Park’s most-revered treat is the humble funnel cake.
According to Wikipedia, this fried treat “dates back to the early medieval Persian world” and was first brought to America by the Dutch in the late 1800s. The name comes from the technique of pouring batter through a funnel into hot oil. The funnel gives the cake its signature texture. Funnel cakes are typically served with a dusting of powdered sugar. At Pacific Park they are served at Funnel Cakes and Scoops Ice Cream and Treats and can be topped with strawberries, whipped cream, and even a scoop of your favorite Lappert’s Ice Cream.
To celebrate this year’s Santa Monica Restaurant Week, Pacific Park will be offering a “Persimmon Funnel Cake” – a freshly made funnel cake topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and drizzled with sweetened persimmon compote. The compote is made from sweetened California persimmons spiced with cloves and cinnamon for a funnel cake that warms you up on a cool January evening out on the Pier. Guests to Pacific Park can visit the Funnel Cakes shop in the oceanfront dining plaza and enjoy a “Persimmon Funnel Cake” for only $9.
Our food and beverage team looks forward to participating in Santa Monica Restaurant Week each year so that we can push the envelope in unique foods offering at the Park. The ‘Persimmon Funnel Cake’ is a natural fit for the Park since we have a variety of food and beverage offerings in the two-acres amusement park. Pomegranate was the selected ingredient for last year’s Santa Monica Restaurant Week. We partnered with Lappert’s Ice Cream to produce Pomegranate Masala Ice Cream – a rich and savory pomegranate ice cream infused with gram masala spice and swirled with organic blueberries and Indian gram masala.
The dining plaza is not the only place on the Pier to praise the persimmon. Seaside on the Pier, the newest restaurant on the boardwalk, is serving a unique Roasted Persimmon Pizza with garlic, olive oil, roasted persimmon, prosciutto, shaved parmesan and arugula with a balsamic drizzle for $15. Seaside will also offer salmon served with roasted persimmon and a signature persimmon cocktail.
Seaside on the Pier Photo Credit: @joshriseling
January’s California Restaurant Month is an annual event that aims to put the state’s amazing culinary bounty on display and celebrate the state’s immense contribution to menus around the world. It makes feasting even more accessible than usual, with a legion of participating restaurants in cities and regions across the state offering deals and special menus at various times during the month.
Santa Monica Tour and Travel is the city’s local destination marketing office. Formed in 1982 and funded by the City of Santa Monica’s general fund and the Tourism Marketing District assessment, SMTT aims to promote Santa Monica as a travel destination. As a sales and service organization, SMTT acts as the marketing representative for local businesses and the community as a whole. Events like Santa Monica Restaurant Week aide in the office’s pursuit of elevating Santa Monica’s businesses in the greater Los Angeles area and State of California.