Man cannot live on circular doughnuts alone. Luckily, there are beignets. Those who dislike a properly fried piece of dough also, I've been told, dislike puppies, rainbows, Shakespeare and The Beatles. So with the Saints heading to Miami to face the Colts, and Los Angeles not exactly standing as the epicenter of the pork tenderloin sandwich or persimmon pie, it is with minimal regret that today we take on two different versions of the official state doughnut of Louisiana.
Beignets can take many forms, but the ones at Fraiche in Santa Monica inhabit a particularly satisfying one. Four large, crispy rectangles, dusted with powdered sugar and served alongside a fresh strawberry jam are a delight. The dough itself is not very sweet, allowing for its accompanying flavor agents to speak in their own voice, with the jam a particularly pleasant addition, tasting actually of strawberries, and joining with the beignets to bring back joyous memories of funnel cakes at county fairs, though elevated, of course, by better execution.
Our second combatant hails from The Six, the new restaurant taking over the old Jack Sprat's Grille space on Pico and Overland. It is a charming spot with a welcoming lunch menu and decent beer selection, quickly becoming a much appreciated addition to the neighborhood. Their beignets are small little creatures, crispier than those at Fraiche, but a tad more dense. Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, they are compact, and ideal for a casual dip into a cup of coffee. While perhaps easier to bring to a Super Bowl party and pass about as finger food, their comparative heaviness and single-note of flavor leaves them a notch below those at Fraiche. But as it is the Super Bowl, where gluttony is a requirement, you might just eat both variations, plus a few more, depending on the outcome of the game.
Fraiche, 312 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, (310) 451-7482., The Six, 10668 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, (310) 837-6662.
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