Your penchant for gourmet tastiness is matched only by your penchant for cheapness -- leading you to engage in savage turf wars with Freegans for access to Spago's dumpsters. For a less bandit approach, try V-vin wine bar.
Boasting a 6-seat bar, 7 small tables, and cubbied, bottle-stocked walls, V's a new, casual, appendage to Valentino, the 35 year-old Santa Monica institution that's won enough awards to make Al Gore fat with envy. Unlike its host restaurant, V doesn't take reservations, and its menu forsakes wallet-busting entrees to focus on small plates like Gorgonzola-stuffed Zucchini Flowers and Il Cullatelo, referred to in prosciutto circles as "The King" (which explains why it comes out crooning "In the Ghetto"). The scaled-down wine selection's designed to be paired with the grub; order by the bottle, and get 15% off the restaurant's price -- or order by the glass and get no discount whatsoever, because you're classy like that.
If you're dissatisfied with the targeted vino list, you also get access to Valentino's enormous wine menu without losing your 15% off privileges -- so you'll save money on food, wine, and painful rabies treatments received fighting langoustine-addicted raccoons.