Huckleberry: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011
It's kind of a miracle to see the graciousness factory at work down at Huckleberry — the sweet smells, the pale walls, the way they keep the lines moving and the tables cleared so that by the time you have stood in line, picked out a scone or a Niman Ranch maple-bacon biscuit and paid, there is a seat waiting for you, smiling instructions on how to pour your own coffee and a number placard, so that the fried-egg sandwich with bacon and Gruyère, or soft-baked eggs with roasted tomatoes, make it to the right table. You are vaguely aware of being processed, but it all happens so smoothly that you don't really mind. The serene counter staffers obviously have done enough yoga to rise above the petty turmoil of the crowd.
Zoe Nathan, a Tartine alumna who also does the pastries at Rustic Canyon across the street, may be the most vital pastry chef of her generation in Los Angeles: Every apple tart is rustic, every croissant unglazed, every fruit sourced at the farmers market, every pastry finished with an appropriate lick of salt. It is worth a certain amount of trouble to get a crack at her prosciutto-stuffed croissants, so buttery that they threaten to spurt like a well-constructed chicken Kiev, or her flaky bacon-maple biscuits, or her crumbly rustic tarts stuffed with goat cheese. 1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 451-2311, huckleberrycafe.com. Tues.-Fri., 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Beer and wine. Street and lot parking. AE, MC, V. Bakery.
99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:
Church & State
Din Tai Fung
El Huarache Azteca
Euro Pane Bakery
Fab Hot Dogs
Good Girl Dinette
La Casita Mexicana
Lazy Ox Canteen
Meals by Genet
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
Night + Market
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Pollos a la Brasa
Sapp Coffee Shop
Son of a Gun
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Waterloo & City
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