In honor of National Paloma Day (May 22, I’m sure it was on your calendar), I celebrated with a picnic at a favorite local park. And what’s better with an ice cold Paloma than street tacos? Santa Monica’s Lanea Cocktail Bar & Taqueria is the perfect place to enjoy both.
Lanea is just two blocks from the beach, so plan accordingly. It also has a lovely patio that seats 40. And if it makes you feel more comfortable, they’ve got enhanced Covid-safety protocols, such as guest temperature checks, air filtration, and hand sanitizers. And there’s even satellite dining available on the new Promenade patio in front of the Apple Store.
With summer on the horizon, it’s a good time to locate the best al fresco locations around, and Lanea needs to be high on your list. The cocktail menu is an ideal fit for a sunny Santa Monica afternoon — a few types of margaritas, a Oaxacan mule (made with Mescal Verde), and of course, the Paloma. Theirs is composed of JAJA tequila, grapefruit tonic, and Aperol. Other cocktail ingredients that express summer include watermelon, passionfruit, ginger, pineapple and a variety of citrus. There’s also a wonderful selection of tequila and mezcal flights.
Tacos have become an art form in L.A., and Lanea’s are gems, served in corn tortillas with gauc, cilantro, onion. A few of my favorites are the barbacoa — agave leaf-wrapped lamb pit roasted for 36 hours; cesina — thinly sliced, tenderized beef with Petra’s seasoning; and the camaron con mango — shrimp topped with mango, green & red pepper, avocado and lettuce. For those with dietary issues, there’s a Beyond Meat and a vegetarian option.
All month long, Lanea is offering a 4-pack of canned Paloma cocktails for just $20 (and it benefits charity, with a portion of all sales benefitting the I Got Your Back Project, which helps support people with mental health issues in the restaurant industry). At just 5% ABV, it won’t knock you on your butt.
And just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, they’re offering a variety of picnic packs. The “Picnic” features a half-dozen tacos, a couple of cocktails, chips and pico de gallo, along with a Mexican serape blanket. Or consider the “Mini Fiesta,” which includes four tacos, two JAJA cocktails, chips and pico, and a mini piñata.
We’ve been through a lot in the last year, it’s time to reward yourself with something indulgent. And it doesn’t get much better than afternoon cocktails, a mezcal flight, some shrimp-and-mango tacos and a patio tucked between the Promenade and Palisades Park. Enjoy.
Lanea: Cocktails & Tacos by the Beach