Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Brentwood

Farmshop to open artisan market Jan. 29

Farmshop 400Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart is welcoming a new addition to Jeff Cerciello's restaurant and bakery: a full-scale artisan market.

The market, comparable in size to the restaurant itself, boasts a deli, cheese and charcuterie counters, products such as Jessica Koslow's Sqirl preserves and seasonally inspired prepared foods. Also stocked on the market's shelves are California wines, craft beers and housewares from L.A. favorites including Heath ceramics.

Managing the floor is Emiliano Lee. With years of experience working as a cheese monger and manager (and even a "fresh foods wrangler" who sourced sustainably farmed produce) while working at Liberty Heights Fresh in Salt Lake City, Farmshop's new hire knows his cheese.

Lee, a Bay Area native, is thrilled to launch a market filled with foods crafted in California. The advocate brings farmstead American cheeses to Farmshop's cheese counter from Oregon and Vermont but mainly from California producers such as Bellwether Farms, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove Chevre, Marin French Cheese, Franklin's Cheese, Vella Cheese, Laura Chenel's Chevre, Andante Dairy, Garden Variety Cheese and Bleating Heart.

With the market in place, Cerciello and team are working to add an educational component with dinners, tasting events, cooking demonstrations and book signings on the horizon.

The artisan market at Farmshop will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

225 26th St., Suite 25, Santa Monica, (310) 566-2400, farmshopla.com.


The word is gourmet

International foodie spring flings

Chef Benjamin Bailly comes to Cliff's Edge

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: Farmshop's artisan market. Credit: Spencer Lowell

5 Food Events You Should Know About: Salute! beer festival; A.O.C wine tastings; Lambrusco Day at Cube; garden workshop; L.A. Street Food Fest

Salute! Salute! beer and food festival: Ojai Beverage Co. hosts the 2nd annual Salute! More than 100 beers from local and national craft breweries will be paired with food from regional restaurants, benefiting local community organizations including the American Cancer Society. Featured craft breweries include Lagunitas Brewing Co. from Petaluma and North Coast Brewing Co. from Fort Bragg. There's a VIP tasting on Friday  with a connoisseurs beer reception followed by a four-course dinner. An unlimited beer and food-tasting session takes place Saturday. Tickets start at $43.30 (including tax) and are available online at salutebeerfestival.com655 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, (805) 646-1700.

Destination wine: Every Monday night, A.O.C. hosts "Flights & Bites" offering wine tastings accompanied by small plates from different regions around the world. Two flights of wine are paired with cuisine from the region. Upcoming wine capital destinations include Santa Ynez's Dragonette Cellars on Monday and Languedoc-Roussillon on June 27. 8022 W. Third St., L.A., 323-653-6359, aocwinebar.com.

Perfect pair: Cube Café celebrates a wine favored among its staff and patrons by participating in International Lambrusco Day. On June 21, the restaurant will be offering special discounts on the Medici Ermete Lambrusco "Concerto" and the Rinaldini Lambrusco "Vecchio Moro" throughout the day, whether by the glass, half-bottle or bottle, along with recommended food pairings such as pizza Napoletana and spicy fried chicken. 615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 939-1148 x1, eatatcube.com.  

Urban farmer: Located in Mar Vista, Ocean View Farms boasts more than 500 garden plots and flower gardens. On June 26 at 10 a.m. the six-acre West L.A. community garden is offering a free workshop, "From the Ground Up: Seed Starting and Garden Planning," courtesy of master gardener Christy Wilhelmi. 3300 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 915-1123, oceanviewfarms.net.

Street food at the Rose Bowl: On July 16, the Pasadena Rose Bowl will be taken over by the L.A. Street Food Fest to host the 2 nd annual Summer Tasting Event. More than 80 vendors, including  gourmet food trucks and celebrity chefs, will bring street food to the historic site. Tickets are $25 to $150. Brookside Park, 360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, lastreetfoodfest.com.


Urbano Pizza Bar

Battle of the Burgers

Trails Cafe

--Caitlin Keller 

Photo: Salute! Credit: Salutebeerfestival.com

It happens to critics too: The Friday night restaurant relay

Sotto illus 3 What do you do when you’re five minutes away from a restaurant where you're meeting friends, and they call to report that the valet just told them there’s been a power outage: The restaurant is closed.

It's Friday night and with Sotto temporarily closed, I scramble for somewhere else to go.

How about Misfit, the restaurant that replaced Anisette in the Clock Tower building in Santa Monica? They don’t take reservations anyway. Let’s just go.

The friends are five minutes ahead, and just when I’m inching toward the address, they call from the restaurant to warn there's a 45-minute wait. Too long.

Well then, let's try Villetta, the new Italian in the old Chez Mimi space in Brentwood. We’re so close, let’s just go and see if we can get a table. 

Not a chance. 

By now we've been driving around for almost 45 minutes, and I'm getting desperate.

Let’s try Vincenti, I suggest, and I can hear a smile in Daniela’s voice when she agrees. We call first. Yes, they’ll have a table in 15 minutes or so (it’s an early crowd). 

And, so, after what feels like a race across the city, we finally sit down, starving by now, to a fine Italian meal of cacia e pepe, fried soft-shelled crabs and roast duck. It’s been too long. The dining room still looks smart, and the crowd still dresses for the occasion. Service is excellent, as always. Plus — we can hear one another across the table. 

In the end, we have a terrific evening, polished off with ice cream sandwiches at Sweet Rose Creamery at Brentwood Country Mart.


Battle of the Burgers

What other people ate

Behind the scenes, testing focaccia

— S. Irene Virbila

Illustration: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

It's National Macaro(o)n Day: Where to get some


Whether you spell the dainty French buttercream-, jam- or ganache-filled colorful sandwich cookies with one ‘o’ or two, today is National Macaro(o)n Day. And you don’t have to drop everything and hop across the pond to enjoy these treats at famous Parisian maisons like Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. Angelenos are in luck as there are plenty of macaron masters scattered throughout this city, offering a delectable collection of confections from the color –- and flavor -– spectrum, on its dedicated holiday … or whenever:

Jin Patisserie: Tahitian vanilla, yuzu and chocolate mint are a sampling of the distinct macaron flavors created by Kristy Choo at her Abbot Kinney storefront. 1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 399-8801, jinpatisserie.com.

Lette Macarons: Macaron enthusiast Paulette Koumetz and pastry chef Christophe Michalak offer what they describe as a kaleidoscopic selection of macarons at their Beverly Hills shop: Earl Grey tea, Sicilian pistachio, Colombian coffee. 9466 Charleville Blvd. at Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 275-0023, lettemacarons.com.

Hotcakes Bakes: A Parisian native, owner Elfie Weiss studied cuisson at prominent bakeries Gerard Mulot and Ladurée. Try the coconut, strawberry or S'more. 4119 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 397-2324, hotcakesbakes.com.

XT Patisserie: Pastry chef Xuan Ngo was born in Vietnam but grew up in France, baking his way to Los Angeles, where he perfected the macaron at Boule in Beverly Hills. Flavors like hazelnut, orange blossom and passion fruit are available online and at the South Pasadena and Larchmont farmers markets through Sugarbird Sweets. Xtpatisserie.com.

Bottega Louie: The long glass dessert case at the entrance of the establishment boasts an array of elegantly decorated pastries including beautiful, brightly colored macarons like the mandarin, cassis and salted caramel. 700 S. Grand Ave. L.A., (213) 802-1470; bottegalouie.com.

Little Next Door: The artisan marketplace features a boulangerie, and the Parisian-like ambiance is perfect for enjoying a macaron, or two. Cookie creations include dulce de leche, chocolate and raspberry. 8164 W. 3rd St., L.A., (323) 951-0487, thelittledoor.com.

La Provence: With locations in Brentwood and Beverly Hills, the café produces more than 10 flavors such as lavender, rose and pumpkin spice, to name a few. 8950 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 888-8833, laprovencecafe.com.

--Caitlin Keller

Photo: Macarons. Credit: Bernhard Winkelmann

Now open: Red Medicine in Beverly Hills, Bar Toscana in Brentwood, l'Epicerie Market in Culver City

On Brentwood's Italian-restaurant row, Toscana has opened a next-door lounge, inspired by Negroni-pouring Milano (even though Milan's in Lombardy, not Tuscany, but whatever). Bar Toscana has Italian-inspired cocktails and market-driven stuzzichini, or small plates, from executive chef Luca Crestanelli (a native of Verona). Highlights include lobster salad with tomato; Sardinian flatbread; and fava bean purée, tomato jam and artichoke spread. Francesco Lafranconi came up with the cocktails, executed by bar manager William Perbellini, such as a Negroni Sbagliato, made with Campari, sweet vermouth, Prosecco, orange and a dry olive rim, a tribute to the cocktail developed in the '70s at Milan's Bar Basso.

11633 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 820-2448 or visit www.bartoscana.com.

Redmed Red Medicine opened last week on Wilshire Boulevard on the edge of Beverly Hills in the former Hokusai space. Chef Jordan Kahn, ex-pastry chef of Michael Mina's XIV, is cranking out his own take on Vietnamese cuisine: for example, pork chaud-froid with crispy chicken skin, lychee, clove and pistachio; green papaya salad with pickled roots, crispy taro chips and tree nuts; and sweetbreads with curry, yam and turmeric root jam. Managing partner Noah Ellis oversees the cocktails, at least one of which is served in a pineapple and comes with several straws.  

8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (323) 651-5500, www.redmedicinela.com. 

After a false start or two, Culver City cafe and retail shop l'Epicerie Market is open. The cafe serves breakfast (good morning, crepes), lunch and dinner. The marketplace carries infused olive oils, housemade tapenades, pasta sauces, French cheeses, saucisson and charcuterie, macarons, fresh bread, petit fours and mille-feuille

9900 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 815-1600, www.lepiceriemarket.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Black Friday openings: FarmShop bakery, Obika Mozzarella Bar, L.A. Creamery Artisan Ice Cream


On your way to the stampede for flat-screen TVs, you might also want to keep in mind the Black Friday restaurant openings at Brentwood Country Mart, Beverly Center and Westfield Topanga Shopping Center. Ice cream break, anyone? 

FarmShop: Jeff Cerciello, who headed Thomas Keller's Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc, has opened FarmShop bakery in the Brentwood Country Mart, taking over the space that formerly housed Maury Rubin's City Bakery. This is the first phase of FarmShop's opening, according to a release. The bakery will be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, with brunch service expected to start the weekend of Dec. 4. Breakfast, lunch and family-style dinners soon will follow. The market, featuring cheese, charcuterie, a butcher, prepared foods, and wine and beer is slated to open next year.

Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St., Suite 25, Santa Monica, (310) 566-2400, www.farmshopla.com.  

Obika Mozzarella Bar: The second L.A. outpost of the Italian chain of mozzarella-focused restaurants is open in Beverly Center. Just as at the Century City location, the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is flown in three times a week from Italy. Besides seasonal panini such as speck affumicato dell'Alto Adige with grilled artichokes and wild arugula, the menu features other cheeses, Italian specialties and California produce. Open on Black Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd., Suite K604, Los Angeles, (310) 652-2088, www.obikala.com.

L.A. Creamery Artisan Ice Cream: Chef-partner Jessica Goryl, formerly of Cafe del Rey and Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak, uses Straus Family Creamery dairy and offers 16 to 18 house-made rotating flavors daily. Also: sorbets, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, bonbons and fresh fruit popsicles. Plus baked goods, Intelligentsia coffee and tea from the Art of Tea. (Note: It's next to Nordstrom.)

Westfield Topanga Shopping Center, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite 1044, Canoga Park, (818) 340-2663, www.lacreamery.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Obika's Century City location. Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times

A big week in ice cream: Sweet Rose Creamery in Brentwood and Gelato Bar in Los Feliz open


Ice cream shop Sweet Rose Creamery opens today at noon in the Brentwood Country Mart. The ice cream shop helmed by Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb of Huckleberry bakery, with ice creams made by pastry chef Shiho Yoshikawa, also serves up sundaes, floats, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream pops and plenty of ice cream pies.

Also, Gail Silverton and Joel Gutman have opened Gelato Bar in Los Feliz. It’s their second Gelato Bar, the first being in Studio City. Gelato and sorbetto flavors include the classics — nocciola, stracciatella,  pistachio — as well as originals such as cinnamon basil and pomegranate, made by Alessandro Fontana, a gelato maker from Venice.

Sweet Rose Creamery, Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St., Suite 51, Santa Monica, (310) 260-2663, www.sweetrosecreamery.com.

Gelato Bar, 1936 N. Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, www.gelatobar-la.com.

-- Betty Hallock

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Photo: Sweet Rose Creamery

Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood announces
'Panini-Off' winner

Panini-Off-FINALS-036-small There's nothing like rain and freakish tornado warnings to remind a person of how yummy a good sandwich can be. So it's fitting that Coral Tree Cafe's "Panini-Off" finals concluded last night with 22-year-old Chloe Coscarelli (a student at the Natural Gourmet Institute) crowned winner for her Mango Masala Panini made with spiced chickpea masala, roasted cauliflower curry and tamarind mango chutney. 

Contestants were whittled down based on the following criteria: taste, visual presentation, creativity and "panini practicality" (was the panini easy to eat?). Entrants were instructed to use recipes that didn't resemble the paninis that Coral Tree Cafe already serves. Coscarelli received a $250 gift certificate to Coral Tree and her panini was added to the menu.

The finalists, and their paninis, were: Tsz Chan, Temple City (Holiday Ham Panini); Chloe Coscarelli, Los Angeles (Mango Masala Panini); Cecilia Fabulich, Marina del Rey (Shanghai Spice Pork Loin Panini); Michael Haddad, Burbank (Gruyere and Chive Oil Panini); and Nico Juber, Los Angeles (the mysteriously named Nico’s Perfect Panini). Juber won the "People's Choice" award.

During the event, contestants prepared their paninis in front of a panel of judges, including Coral Tree co-founder Robert Niksefat; senior editor of CitySearch Los Angeles, Mar Yvette; FoodGPS.com's Joshua Lurie; LAist.com co-editor Lindsay William-Ross; and Richard Klein, founder of Chefmakers Cooking Academy.

About 100 people showed up to watch the fun, and also to buy snacks and drinks because 10% of the night's proceeds benefited the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund, which helps family members of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty. All told, $700 was raised for that worthy cause.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo:Chloe Coscarelli with her trophy. Credit: Coral Tree Cafe

Author Anna Thomas makes soup, signs books

Anna Thomas, whose book "The Vegetarian Epicure" introduced many cooks to interesting vegetarian dishes more than three decades ago, has a new book out focusing on soups. She'll be signing books and offering a tasting of food from "Love Soup" at a few spots in the area.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., she will appear at Treasure Beach and Cafe in Ojai, where she lives -- and where one of her sons is cooking. Treasure Beach is at 928 E. Ojai Ave.

On Sunday, readers can meet Thomas at 3 p.m. at Diesel Books in the Brentwood Country Mart on 26th Street in Santa Monica.
And on Tuesday at 7 p.m., she will be at Chaucer's Bookstore, 3321 State St. in Santa Barbara.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: Anna Thomas cooks in her Ojai kitchen. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry's Loeb and Nathan to open ice cream shop in Brentwood Country Mart


The owner of Brentwood Country Mart, known for his painstaking pursuit of tenants he thinks belong in his casual neighborhood hangout, has scored a coup in signing rising culinary stars Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb to run an ice cream parlor.

The couple opened the hit Huckleberry bakery in Santa Monica earlier this year. Loeb also owns Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen. Both restaurateurs grew up on the Westside, said Loeb, who has a nostalgic connection to the Country Mart.

"I must’ve gone to Reddi Chick 5,000 times," he said, referring to the mart's popular chicken stand. (He told Food GPS 6,000 times.)

The pair plan to open the shop in January, and will make small batches of ice cream daily. The shop has yet to be named, but "it should be fun," Loeb said. "The idea is to go back to from-scratch craftsmanship of making ice cream in eight to 12 flavors. We'll have ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, root beer floats --  all things ice cream."

Loeb promised he wouldn't get carried away making up exotic new flavors. "The idea is to use really good quality chocolate, strawberries and cream," he said. "Flavors will be old-fashioned but with imaginative twists."

Country Mart owner Jim Rosenfield bought the 60-year-old property on 26th Street in Santa Monica in 2003 and has been chasing his favorite retailers ever since. "Huckleberry is our kind of tenant," he said.

-- Roger Vincent

Photo of Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb by Ann Johansson / for The Times


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