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THE SYCAMORE KITCHEN
BAKERY AND CAFÉ
Livin’ It Up with Stockton Briggle
One of my favorite restaurants in L.A. is HATFIELD’S on Melrose Avenue. It is a very “grown up” kind of restaurant where you can hear the conversation at your table, be treated to impeccable service by a knowledgeable wait staff and most importantly, served creative and delicious food created by Quinn and Karen Hatfield.
The decor is sleek, modern and yet somehow restful. There is no relief when you leave to have escaped a mind-numbing sound system of other restaurants that encourages diners to yell at the top of their voices. This is a restaurant designed with the civilized customer in mind.
The Hatfield’s have two kids and one of L.A.’s most successful restaurants to look after and, to top all of that, now they have opened The SYCAMORE KITCHEN Bakery and Café at 143 South La Brea between 1st and 2nd Streets. This is a breakfast and lunch place, which is casual and fun and much less expensive than their signature restaurant Hatfield’s.
Karen is the dessert wizard and all of the pastries are made in house in small batches. Most of them will knock your socks off. I had a Berries and Cream cookie that when I took my first bite, thick lovely double cream oozed onto the top of the cookie. OMG! Then there was a small Chocolate Pecan tart, rich with dark chocolate and lovely toasted pecans, reminding you why you always would rather START with dessert!
Along with that came their Stumptown Coffee, which is a dark and sumptuous brew that you can get several different ways including bottled and cold. I left the cold coffee for another day, but my large cup of drip Stumptown was perfect with the desserts.
Quinn Hatfield has created an array of “drop dead” sandwiches that make choosing any one almost impossible. My lunch companion, Mark, chose the Double BLT with crispy and braised pork belly, butter lettuce, balsamic tomatoes, avocado, mayo and country bread. How could it get better than that? I had a bite, of course, and the pork belly was an inspired addition to an already divine creation.
Since Mark beat me to the BLT, I ordered the Albacore tuna salad with fresh dill, thinly sliced cucumber, tomato and country bread. I felt like I was having one of those wonderful tea sandwiches at The Ritz in London. Very refined, very delicious. Oh by the way, for 4 bucks you can get an order of homemade potato chips.
I am a sucker for Turkey Chili anytime of the year and that’s on the menu as well. This was my only disappointment. It is filled with red kidney beans, petite chunks of turkey and bright green kale; I am a Texas boy and this is chili for city slickers. No hint of cumin or any kind of chilis, chili powder or heat of any kind for that matter. It is a healthy and tasty turkey soup and they ought to call it that.
Otherwise, this is a truly welcome addition to the L.A. breakfast and lunch scene. The atmosphere is casual and welcoming and boy howdy, those pastries will remind you of your best Continental breakfast in Paris at Angelina’s.
It was a diverse crowd enjoying the late summer afternoon on Sycamore’s spacious patio. There was a table crowded with young school girls, another with several smartly dressed women in heels, a young father sporting a Mohawk treating his towheaded little son to a Ginger Limeade, and evidently quite a few locals since the wait-staff recognized many of the people dropping by for their afternoon pick-me-up.
You should go online at www.thesycamorekitchen to see all of the wondrous pastries, sandwiches, egg dishes and especially their warm ricotta and buckwheat blintzes with roasted strawberries and salted honey butter which I can’t wait to try.
Welcome to L.A.!