Most days, I’m just trying my darndest to find a salad worth consuming for lunch for $10 or less. It’s not easy. Most of my go-to places for lunch portion salads are really pushing that budget, but I persist because I want to have a healthy, filling meal that I find craveable. So I vacillate among GTA, Artisan Cheese Gallery, Thyme Café, Sycamore Kitchen, True Food Kitchen, and Café Gratitude pretty much every weekday, depending on where I am in this crazy city. I know I can count on them.
You can imagine my genuine delight upon discovering that I could have a delicious, inventive kale salad (who doesn’t want a kale salad? I eat one literally nearly every day,) for just $5 right here in Santa Monica. Sitting down in a cool neighborhood eatery, no pressure to order something else. Just shredded lacinto kale, grapes, sunflower seeds, manchego cheese, quinoa, and a light preserved lemon dressing. A health foodie’s dream. Does that not sound like what every Angeleno seeks at 1PM on a weekday? I actually cannot stress enough the scarcity of a decent $5 salad in LA. This is the only one that comes to mind. And hold on to your seat, because you get a free treat afterwards. A salted chocolate chip cookie with your name on it. May I repeat. Free.
I’m talking about The Misfit’s Bar Fly Lunch special. Each weekday they offer a different menu item for just $5. The only rules are that you must be occupying a bar stool, you can’t save seats, and the special ends at 4PM. Those are pretty agreeable terms. And the specials are not some gross hodgepodge that the chef whipped together with the week’s unused ingredients. They’re menu items that run 2-3 times that price on the everyday lunch menu.
On Mondays you can have this monster of a crunchy, spicy chicken sandwich.
Tuesdays, it's their signature burger. Wednesdays are kale salad days, which works perfectly for me, because I just pop in after I finish up at the glorious Santa Monica Wednesday Farmer’s Market one street over on Arizona. Summer is just the most wonderful time for produce, and I’m savoring the beautiful flavors and colors of that market. The stone fruits, the melons, the heirloom tomatoes, the figs—a feast for both eyes and belly.
Thursdays are a vegetarian’s protein-packed delight, a grain bowl with organic quinoa, black beans, feta, poached egg and harissa. Finally, Friday’s offering is a seared ahi burger. Seared sushi grade tuna and avocado for $5! I’m sorry, I’m just a little excited here.
The Misfit is simply a cool spot, too. A friend informed me that when he asked the owner what percentage of their clientele was made up of locals, he said 90%. That’s kind of amazing in this neighborhood. It’s a prime piece of real estate, and the rent is probably sky high—I’m sure that’s what contributed to the downfall of its previous tenant, the beloved Anisette. I think all of us denizens of SaMo were shocked and disappointed when that wonderful hall of classic French cuisine and fresh oysters shuttered in 2010. But The Misfit has really taken the space to a new height, constantly filling with a hip younger crowd, thanks to their great bar food, easygoing feel, and attractive brasserie-style interior. The bar features a wall of liquors and glassware that kind of looks like an old apothecary, with a giant cabinet of tiny wooden shelves and distressed mirrors.
And then of course there are those magical chocolate chip cookies that get passed around in a communal bowl to whomever has just finished his meal at the bar. It’s a small gesture, but it hits just the right note. If a $5 kale salad weren’t enough, here’s a free cookie for your troubles. See you again soon.