Boxed in by Fairfax Boulevard and Hauser Boulevard, Picfair Village is a small but thriving neighborhood halved by its main drag, Pico Boulevard. Named after the now-gone Picfair movie theater, the Village is home to everything from vintage stores carrying midcentury modern furniture to gift and apparel shops, plus casual eateries that cater to the large number of residents within walking distance. If you find yourself hungry in the vicinity, here are our picks for a sweet snack or sit-down meal.
Like so many other sensitive bakers, Janice Lavine, owner of Breakaway Bakery, started toying with allergen-free cooking after discovering she was gluten-intolerant. With the help of her daughters, she tweaked recipes for treats like chai blondies, vegan maple doughnuts, molasses cookies and “Lil Mint Scouties,” a killer riff on Girl Scout Thin Mints. All products are free of gluten, wheat, dairy and peanuts, and many are made sans eggs. There’s seating for only a handful of people at the simple shop, but the vast majority of customers take their order to go — a box of goodies from here is great for any gathering. 5264 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City; (310) 968-9380, breakawaybakery.com.
My 2 Cents
Chef Alisa Reynolds serves up some of the best Southern-leaning food in town at My 2 Cents, and she does so with care and love. That might mean a steady wait for your shrimp and grits or barbecued fried chicken, but good things come to those with patience. House specialties include the aforementioned items, plus a crispy turkey meatloaf burger, a fried green tomato BLT po’ boy and vegan spaghetti. Sunday brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., brings chicken and eggs atop a golden waffle. Cobblers, cakes and cookies await for dessert. 5583 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City; (323) 938-1012, mytwocentsla.com.
Olson’s Scandinavian Delicatessen
By far the oldest establishment on this list, Olson’s opened in 1948, though it was recently given a facelift by new owner Christian Kneedler. For the most part, he’s sticking to the same vision established by original owner Bertil Ohlsson. The brioche bun stuffed with shrimp skagen ($12.50) — a classic Swedish shrimp salad — and the gravlax sandwich ($12.50) are tried-and-true Olson’s items. Herring salad ($8.50); caviar and egg ($8.50); and meatballs and beets ($10.50) sandwiches are among other beloved choices. There’s also Swedish pancakes ($8) topped with jam (queensberry, lingonberry or cloudberry) or ice cream (ginger snap, cardamom, polka peppermint and more). Shelves of Swedish tchotchkes and towering candy bins stocked with Scandinavian sweets are easy distractions as you wait for your meal to arrive. 5660 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City; (323) 938-0742, olsonsdeli.com.
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Powerplant Superfood Cafe
Hence its name, most fare at this tiny cafe is plant-based, not to mention organic and gluten-free. There’s vegan khao soi with baby bok choy, a vividly colored barbecue cauliflower salad ($11) that makes “eating the rainbow” a breeze, an array of tempeh or veggie sandwiches and signature smoothies and cold-pressed juices. Fish is the only nonvegetarian item permitted on the menu — there’s a wild smoked salmon salad, a smoked salmon spread on house-made crackers and a smoked salmon scramble (breakfast is served all day). For dessert, try a float made with Virgil’s root beer and coconut ice cream or any of a number of gluten-free baked goods. 5671 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City; (323) 965-2233, powerplantsuperfoodcafe.com.
Bloom Cafe is popular for breakfast and brunch — think loads of egg scrambles and Benedicts, plus items like a chicken chorizo burrito. The lunch/dinner menu is broken down into healthful categories, including salads, bowls and wraps. On a hot summer night, the grilled chicken and apple salad tossed with goji berries, dates, feta and mint leaves ($14) is refreshing and light. On cooler evenings, the veggie curry over brown rice delivers just the right amount of heat. A long menu of fresh juices and smoothies offers lots of liquid accompaniment. For dessert, don't miss the rich chocolate walnut torte. 5544 Pico Blvd., Mid-City; (323) 934-6900, bloomcafe.com.