Dear Mr. Gold:
A friend of mine lives near the French eatery La Poubelle and I live close to Cafe Stella. We alternate. But while La Poubelle serves flatbread, Stella does not. And I've been thinking: Why is tarte flambée so hard to find in Los Angeles? Could you suggest a place?
--Colin Brown, via Facebook
Dear Mr. Brown:
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For some reason, I've always thought Los Angeles was fairly rich in tarte flambée, especially for a town with so few French restaurants. Basically an Alsatian pizza, it's made from either thin-stretched bread dough or rich pastry dough, smothered with oceans of crème fraiche, gobs of butter-sauteed onions and a mountain of thick-cut bacon -- neither diet food nor something intended to be eaten in our balmy climate. It is, however, obscenely delicious. I remember a version Walter Manzke used to make at Church & State sometimes, glazed with the odiferous cheese epoisses, which you could smell from down the block. Manzke is long gone, but you can still find a great tarte flambée at Church & State, as well as at the Melrose brasserie Comme Ça -- and the goaty version at the new Artisan near Cole's down on Main Street isn't bad, either.