Dining With Grace: Thyme Café & Market

By Grace Hiney

Thyme Café & Market in Santa Monica is not only intriguing with its large displays of various food menus on the walls, as well as salads, desserts and more in the glass-enclosed counters, but the tastes are extraordinary.

Here you may order a meal to take home, or simply select a seat and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner either inside or on the street-side patio, or at the rear of the restaurant near the parking lot.

Simple wooden tables with metal chairs are topped with tall ceramic pots with silverware and paper napkins. Before you are seated, you may grab a large bottle of fresh water and glasses to take to your chosen table and the staff will bring the menus offering salads, sandwiches—and dinner selections after 5 p.m.

While studying the fascinating octet of dinners we started with a glass of wine. We then ordered a small array of salads to sample: a Mediterranean quinoa, Moroccan couscous, a Mediterranean orzo and a harvest salad. Each was superb.

The salad variety here includes Thai noodle; a curried chicken salad with cashews and raisins; a Greek salad with romaine, crumbled feta, Kalamata olives, chickpeas and more with a creamy mustard vinaigrette and an Italian chopped salad. You may add chicken to most salads for $4, which is modest, as most of the salads vary in price from $12 to $13.

The dinner menu was equally interesting.

Crispy Cajun white fish tacos with chipotle, mango and avocado slaw served with black-eyed peas salad and Spanish rice sounded compelling to me ($15), as did the slow- roasted pulled-pork tacos with crunchy slaw, grilled street-corn salad and Spanish rice ($14).

My friend George was lured by the seared sesame wasabi salmon with grilled bok choi and glass noodle salad, along with carrots, mushrooms, snap peas and cabbage ($16). Each element was delicious.

I finally selected the grilled harissa chicken with Greek yogurt sauce. The harissa sauce gave the chicken a delightful zesty flavor cooled slightly by the yogurt sauce. With this generously portioned chicken came a fine broccoli tabbouleh salad ($15).

Among other selections is the famous Thyme cheeseburger with arugula, cabbage, gruyere and cheddar cheese, with grilled red onions, rosemary and a Thousand Island topping which is served with French fries ($16).

And of course, not to be forgotten is the array of sandwiches, each of which is accompanied with a side of mixed greens and a creamy mustard vinaigrette.

These vary from a steak and watercress with caramelized onions and horseradish aioli on a toasted baguette, to a fresh veggie, hummus and sprouts, with cucumber, pickled red onions, avocado and aioli on toasted multigrain bread. Sandwiches are in the $12 to $14 price range. With the slice of delicious Key lime pie enticingly topped with whipped cream, I enjoyed a freshly made cup of decaf coffee. A grand dessert and finish to a marvelously flavored meal.

Of course, Thyme also serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. The morning menu includes everything from oatmeal and homemade granola to buttermilk pancakes and brioche French toast. In addition, there are wraps, eggs, scrambles and even avocado toast ($7 to $12).

Sunday brunch is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner on weekdays is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For more information visit https://thymecafeandmarket.com

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