Coastal Cuisine | The Argonaut Newsweekly

Sugar Palm invites company on a culinary journey

By Bridgette M. Redman

When it will come to cooking and building terrific food, Chef Jason Francisco cares as substantially about the journey as he does the remaining location.

Some of that philosophy was born out of a desire to escape the focus of his initially career and into one thing much more creative and gratifying.

“I begun out as an accountant,” Francisco claimed. “I was extremely numbers driven. In accounting, we’re properly trained to seem at the bottom line, the last spot or remaining consequence as opposed to the journey. As a chef, you appear at the journey, how the dishes evolve, how you can layer flavors and develop on that.”

Francisco is the executive chef of Sugar Palm at Viceroy Santa Monica. Attendees can take in indoors, outdoor or at the wraparound bar. The dining institution opened in late Oct 2021 soon after a $21 million renovation to the house. It functions ground breaking California coastal delicacies and current market-fresh craft cocktails.

Francisco delivers encounter with a large assortment of cuisines to the restaurant. He is a indigenous Hawaiian whose father was in the military.

“We traveled a good deal — to Italy, France,” Francisco stated. “He was in the Marine Corps, so we were being normally shut to the water. I utilized marketplaces a ton.”

He explained in that sense, Santa Monica has a related vibe to several of the Italian and French coastal towns. Another way that the Los Angeles spot is related to Europe is that when you journey amongst cities, each and every community has its very own unique feel, its possess distinctive temperament, considerably the way traveling between European international locations presents access to pretty distinct cultures.

“The meals scene in California has all the things developed within 250 to 300 miles,” Francisco claimed. “There is a lot of food items culture listed here. All people is bringing their dishes listed here, their delicacies below.”

He gave an case in point of how he mixes collectively cultures in a really LA design and style.

“My mushroom risotto is an Italian dish,” Francisco said. “But I took the dish out of Italy and immersed it in Thai cuisine so it has far more of a Thai curry. Our fish stock has a large amount of Japanese impact.”

He mixes flavors and traditions in means that he believes mirror the metropolitan mother nature of LA, capturing the correct cuisine of the city.

“When you seem at men and women in LA, you can not inform where they are from, which is beautiful,” Francisco explained. “You can only know when they share their society with you. I test to do the exact detail through food items.”

In addition to the home-developed global delicacies, Francisco stated that Sugar Palm gets its ambiance from its spot and décor. Located on the beach with outdoor fireplaces and a placing mural by regional artist Evelyn Leigh, visitors can dine underneath palm trees on the patio.

“Sugar Palm has a beach vibe, a pool vibe,” Francisco said. “It’s awesome weather conditions below and outside seating is excellent  —it’s also safer.”

It is a restaurant that at the same time invites you to be laidback and comfortable when suffering from elegance and great delicacies. Since the restaurant is by a pool, Francisco mentioned they can assistance the dual ideas of informal and good dining.

“I want people listed here to get the sort of meals you get when you wear a accommodate and get dressed up, but getting at the seashore, I do not want you to have to get dressed up,” Francisco explained. “You can be in flip-flops and shorts and nevertheless expertise refined food – a wonderful meal that appears terrific and lifts your hunger for life. You can eat and then go to the seaside. You can have a romantic experience at its most subtle. With the ocean breeze, it is a attractive sensation.”

7 cabanas are offered for dining, including one that can seat up to eight persons.

Francisco stated each individual go to to the Sugar Palm can offer a unique expertise due to the fact they change the menus so frequently. Even inside of a period, Francisco explained he could alter the menu two or 3 moments based on what is increasing and readily available.

To always have the freshest elements, Francisco and his staff focus on regional make and use such sellers as Niman Ranch in Northern California for meat, Fish King in Glendale and Scarborough Farms in Oxnard.

The region director of food and beverage, Mario Leal-Cruz Jr., has curated a assortment of craft cocktails showcasing house-produced syrups and juices. He calls upon his Mexican heritage by working with these kinds of regional spirits and indigenous elements as agave, Mezcal and Ancho Reyes. He’s even made a drink — the SaMo Sunset — that is infused with the hues of a Santa Monica sunset.

“Sugar Palm is heading to be a incredibly distinctive encounter,” Francisco stated. “I know everyone claims that, but it’s not just about the meals — it can by no means be just about the food stuff. Food is only two-dimensional. You see it on the plate and flavor it. But the ambiance — having outdoors on the patio, the solar beating down on your skin — that is the added element. That introduces a feeling of getting alive. There is a minute when you arrive into the restaurant and sit down — the 1st thing I discover people today performing is that they seem up. You never see the traffic and the roads. All you see are palm trees all around. It is practically like an oasis.”

Francisco as opposed ingesting at Sugar Palm to a life style working experience. He has significant praise for LA dining establishments and suggests he enjoys taking in out and encountering new food stuff, but seldom do you have the environment of the cabanas and palm trees that Sugar Palm has.

“It was created genuinely perfectly,” Francisco explained. “It’s fenced out all all over, but not far too superior you just can’t see the horizon. The walls block you off from targeted visitors, so you can not listen to the targeted traffic, but you know you’re in a metropolis. It’s that style of luxury that offers you a emotion you cannot get anywhere else. You have that sensation of staying in a tropical oasis and then you can get back to fact with a snap of the fingers.”

He applauds the administration for giving him no cost reign to check out food and remain open to new culinary encounters that he can share with guests.

“When I came right here, I understood I wished to do cultural cuisine, but I did not know the foodstuff was going to evolve into what it is these days,” Francisco claimed. “The restaurant has developed from a toddler to the going for walks and functioning phase and now I sense like it is a teenager who is all set to explore the environment.”

He mentioned the cafe has taken on a daily life of its possess and his purpose is that of a bus driver. He has a map that he follows, but he stays open up to new routes.

“Tomorrow is heading to be anything excellent, I just do not know what it is still,” Francisco stated. “Some persons reside as if it ended up their final working day on earth. I do the reverse. I are living as if it were my 1st working day on Earth due to the fact there is so a great deal extra to take a look at. My beloved foods variations everyday. I like to keep that angle simply because that suggests I’m open up to new foodstuff and new experiences.”

Section of that openness is allowing anyone around him impact the food items. Francisco asks all people to on employees to flavor the foodstuff and give them feedback. He keeps modifying the recipe right until it would make every person smile. Only then does he flavor it and report the recipe. He would like to make sure that the meals he produces will make persons happy.

It is also why he describes his occupation as having a journey — he wants to study every day and fork out consideration to how dishes evolve, all the flavors layer on every single other. Their kitchen, Francisco suggests is a teaching kitchen the place everyone is studying.

“I’m borrowing dishes from the cooks and sous chefs’ moms and grandmas,” Francisco said. “I’m talking to them and interviewing them a ton. They have a good deal of suggestions and that helps make them really feel invested in the meals. Any time there is that constructive feeling when they cook—cooking with a smile on your experience is essential.”

Sugar Palm

The place: 1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica

Hrs: Brunch from 6:30 a.m. to

2:30 p.m. meal from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.


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