Flatiron steak taco with Dog Snout salsa at TINGA. (Photo courtesy TINGA)

It seems the butcher is back. After decades of slicing in obscurity, butchers are regaining respect in the food chain as carnivores become more concerned about their meat, particularly how the animals slaughtered are raised.

Aside from more high-end supermarket chains, it can be tough to find a quality butcher.

Eddy Shin is aiming to change that. Shin plans to open A Cut Above, a new neighborhood butcher shop on Santa Monica Boulevard near 26th Street, according to la.eater.com.

Shin, who hails from The Tasting Kitchen and before that Primitivo Wine Bistro in Venice, plans to sell organic, natural and local meats, along with a list of sandwiches (porchetta, spicy steak banh mi, Cubano) and salads from the shop’s deli counter, according to the food and restaurant blog. Also, local artisanal larder goods and some cheeses to take home.

The shop broke ground a few weeks ago and plans to open in May.


Sports bar farm


Hunter Hensley (Essex), Los Angeles Laker Chris Duhon, and an undisclosed third partner have purchased South sports bar on Wilshire Boulevard with the intent of transforming the Southern-inspired bar and eatery into a new neighborhood sports bar, The Huntley Kitchen & Bar, that serves farm-to-table fare, according to la.eater.com. They’ve hired former STK executive sous chef Aaron Mitrano to handle food, meanwhile Spacecraft is onboard to design the venue.


Renee’s now TINGA


When the longtime dive bar Renee’s closed shop earlier this year after 33 years in business, there were plenty of upset patrons who grew to love what one described as the “West Coast version of Cheers.”

Jerry and Chris Baker and partner Michael LaFetra hope to lure those folks back and more with the opening last week of TINGA, a Mexican taqueria-style eatery and bar that pairs fresh, flavorful food with tequila, mezcal, cocktails, margaritas, wine and beer.

This is the second TINGA location.

“TINGA is dedicated to the craft of great Mexican cuisine, and we’re excited to bring what we believe is the best homemade product in Los Angeles to Santa Monica,” said Jerry Baker, executive chef. “We are thrilled to expand our menu and along with great food, offer our customers curated, delicious drinks and great service as well.”

Some dishes to dive into include chicken and waffles with buttermilk fried chicken; tacos al pastor with guajillo-rubbed and pineapple-marinated pork with Caribbean kick and grilled pineapple lime salsa and scotch bonnet peppers; and TINGA Tacos with chipotle steeped shredded chicken, shredded lettuce, crema and pickled red onions.

Flatiron steak taco with Dog Snout salsa at TINGA. (Photo courtesy TINGA)

The menu also offers vegan and vegetarian options.

Mixologist Joel Black with Black Lab Ventures is the man behind the drinks, having previously managed the bar programs at Comme Ca, Cana Rum Bar and The Doheny.

LaFetra and the Bakers designed the space themselves with warm and subtle hues of red and blue paired with original creations by local artist Brett Westfall. Westfall’s original art pieces play up the local culture and whimsy of TINGA with “Surfing Tacos” and the signature “Taco on the Run,” a staple of the TINGA brand.

Brunch, lunch and delivery will be available this summer. The restaurant is open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., serving until 1:30 a.m., and takeout is also available.


Get it on


If you’re looking to score but have been striking out more than Matt Kemp recently then head on over to The Basement Tavern on Main Street and chances are you’ll get lucky.

That’s because The Victorian’s underground bar has been named “the easiest place to get laid” by Thrillist.com, a website dedicated to identifying the greatest and latest.

“The Basement Tavern in Santa Monica has a ventilation problem, which means that all the girls in there are shedding clothing and inhibitions nightly,” writes Jeff Miller, a local editor for the website.

No word on how much research Miller did. Let’s just hope he played it safe.




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