There are many varieties of Italian bread, but if we're being honest, not all of them are great. In fact, there's a Tuscan type that purposefully eschews salt. It's ... not great.
But focaccia more than makes up for that no-salt business. In fact, it has quite a bit of salt in it. And tons of olive oil. And sometimes even herbs mixed right into the dough. Most important to our interests, though, focaccia is starting to really have a moment in L.A.
Perhaps it started when di Alba recently opened in the Arts District. The small cafe's menu is quite focaccia-heavy, and it offers a variety, made from two or three different grains. The focaccias here and around town are served as flatbreads, not as sandwich bread, the more common version found around the West Coast. At di Alba, they come topped with things like mushrooms, mint and cheeses, or tomato sauce, burrata and basil.
Felix, the new Evan Funke–helmed Westside restaurant that has people losing their minds for pasta again, also serves a house-made focaccia he's calling sfincione. In addition to the olive oil, the rounds come topped with a healthy scattering of sea salt flakes and rosemary.
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Focaccia isn't a new arrival to L.A., of course. Eagle Rock Italian Bakery makes sheets of it on weekends (it is advised you call ahead to reserve your pan), and those who know that Bulgarini Gelato also serves simple, savory Italian meals know to ask for extra slices of the light, salty version served with the pasta.
But we can't resist admiring these new versions even more. Particularly because it would seem, based on her Instagram feed, that Nicole Rucker will offer a number of varieties of focaccia at her soon-to-open bakeshop. She is mostly known for her pies, but good heavens, look at that focaccia above. Don't you want to dive right in? Who knows if she'll offer them with savory toppings, but that would certainly be a great addition to a mostly sweet-filled shop.
Anyone who's ever said that Angelenos don't eat carbs is a filthy liar.