Some of my friends are complaining about not being able to go to a restaurant and sit inside like in the old days. So far that hasn’t been a problem for me and my family. If it’s raining we stay home. If the weather is at all reasonable, and only mildly cold, we go out and enjoy our favorite restaurants.

In fact, Los Angeles has become a lot more like Paris, with it’s wonderful sidewalk cafes, and I hope that we can continue to eat semi-outside, on the sidewalk, when the pandemic is over.

Last week we had dinner at BOA, facing the Ocean Avenue Palisades Park. We were seated at a table on the sidewalk, with heaters on both sides of the table, and well separated from other tables by Plexiglas partitions. I’ve never felt so safe! My companion and I have both received both vaccinations, yet it still felt good to be so safe.

We are in sort of a rut when we go to BOA, and almost always order the same thing. In a way that’s too bad, because BOA has a wonderfully broad selection of both meat and seafood, appetizers and salads. We really should branch out.

We start with the Cesar salad, which, before the pandemic, was tossed tableside. We ordered it with extra lemon and anchovies on the side. It’s not as much fun as when it’s tossed at the table, but it’s still delicious. I knew Cesar when he was the maitre’d at a restaurant in a hotel in Tijuana, and frankly this one is better than his.

Then, as always, we moved on to a steak, cooked medium rare. This time we selected the center cut filet. It was as good as steak gets. We selected two sauces to go with it, the peppercorn and the chimichurri. We preferred the peppercorn, but the contrast was nice. With the steak, of course, we had a couple glasses of red Bordeaux wine, which had a few years on it and was better than most wine by the glass in restaurants.

Then, only because it was a special occasion, our one-year anniversary since our first date, we had the two-cookie dessert.

As we finished our wine, we sat back and thought how lucky we are to live in Santa Monica, and how fortunate we are to have such wonderful restaurants open.

(Merv Hecht, like many Harvard Law School graduates, went into the wine business after law. In 1988, he began writing restaurant reviews and books. His latest book is “The Instant Wine Connoisseur” and it is available on Amazon. Or you might like his attempt at humor in “Great Cases I Lost.” He currently works for several companies that source and distribute food and beverages, including wines, internationally. Please send your comments to: