While no one was looking, a new confectionary spot has arrived to the Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Almost overnight, Brique French Toastery has appeared on the ground floor, directly underneath Del Frisco’s. And what is that? Their menu appears to be singular: “Rock Toast” which is thick cut brioche French toast topped with proprietary peanut butter coconut maple syrup, toasted coconut chips, and vanila whipped cream. If they’re not open by the time you read this, they will be very soon…
Managing COVID has brought many changes to our world, but it is still a good time of year to reflect on gratitude. I’m very grateful to all my dedicated readers for giving me the inspiration and support to keep exploring the Westside food scene. Wishing all of you a joyous and meaningful Holiday, hopefully surrounded by the people you love. Happy Thanksgiving from Toddrickallen!
It caused quite a stir when I reported that LA was to get a branch of New York’s Dun Huang at 1081 Gayley in Westwood. Dun Huang specializes in Northwest Chinese food and was known for their impressive noodles. But now there’s a ‘spaces available’ sign hanging on the front and a look through he paper on the front door reveals that interior is gutted and hasn’t been touched in a long time. Does this mean after all that effort, they are done? I’ll keep watching…
Kaido Japanese Cuisine has had a difficult time of it. They were forced to relocate to 1049 Gayley in Westwood when their original location in a strip mall in Santa Monica was cleared to make room for another big development. And now, sadly, it appears they are done at their current location. There’s a large “available” sign on the front announcing the news.
Pieology Pizzeria ceased operations at 920 Broxton in Westwood Village back in 2018. The space has sat vacant ever since but that recently changed. Operating as a food truck in DTLA, Hibachi Papi recently opened a brick-and-mortar at this address. Look for a menu of bowls, plates, and fried rice all prepared with their signature “modern, up-scale Hibachi style”.
It appears that Santa Monica is getting its very own branch of a popular high-end “gourmet neighborhood market”. There’s a notice in the papered-over windows of the former home of Earthbar at 1426 Montana Ave. letting us all know that this will be the future home of a branch of Los Feliz’s much-lauded McCall’s Meat & Fish Co. McCall’s prides itself on delivering the “highest quality meats, fish, produce, pastries” all while “keeping in mind the health and nature of the animals”. Interesting…
Lovers of cultish confectionary empire Sprinkles will soon be able to get their fix in Santa Monica. Just outside the sluggish and half-closed food court of Santa Monica Place a brightly painted storefront has appeared almost overnight. I looks like this outlet will only be a home to one of their signature ATM’s, but when you’re desperate for cupcakes, does it matter?
Congratulations Good People of Beverly Hills, mojito mint coffee is heading your way… Beverly Hills lost its branches of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the company’s mass extinction event that occurred over a year ago when multiple SoCal locations closed (there are still a smattering of branches around). But the chain’s previous address at 233 S Beverly Dr. is destined to be a java joint once more. According to window paper, the Bay Area’s third wave darling, Philz Coffee, will be replacing the second wave CBTL at this location.
There’s window paper up on the space at 1640 Sawtelle Blvd., at the North end of Sawtelle Japantown, announcing the arrival of Tuk Tuk Thai. Known for their excellent Pad Thai, I got a chance to speak with a rep from Tuk Tuk who informed me that this is a relocation from their current space at 8875 W Pico, and not a second location. According to them, this will be Sawtelle Japantown’s first Thai street food restaurant. They are shooting for a December 1st opening at this address. Until then, check out their menu here.
A delightful new outdoor dining experience has landed on Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA. You could easily miss it if you weren’t looking, but set in the back of an empty lot at 11819 Santa Monica Blvd. is Empire Hotdog. The food truck has build a clever home for itself in a park-like setting complete with tables and chairs and a large LED screen, that at the time I visited, was showing Shakira videos. Grab a burger and a drink and sit under the stars marveling that such a place even exits in busy West LA.
When NY-style coal-fired pizza joint Grimaldi’s closed in El Segundo, it was reported that they were moving to a Santa Monica takeaway operation in the office complex at 2501 Colorado. What wasn’t reported was that the new location will be inside yet another outpost of rapidly expanding ghost kitchen/food hall Kitchen United Mix, making this Santa Monica’s second branch. Currently at address there is an erstwhile Daily Grill and, more suitably, a cafeteria called Colorado Kitchen. Both Santa Monica locations of Kitchen United were shooting for an October opening, but as it stands, little work has been done at either. Nearby Westwood is also getting a branch as well.
Devoted fans were crushed last year when their favorite Westside dark bar for martinis and nostalgia, Pacific Dining Car, permanently closed during the Pandemic. But the door had been left open for a possible conversion of the iconic location into a new restaurant. Recently, a new “leased” sign appeared on the front and a renewed hope inspired my readers to pepper me with questions regarding the new establishment. Sadly, it appears that it will not be a new eatery. A notice posted on the front announces a hearing to to “allow a 24-hour emergency veterinary services to the existing building”. And sorry, I still don’t have any information on what may replace another Wilshire institution that fell victim to the Pandemic: Casa Escobar.
King & Queen Cantina appears to be on a mission to spread their signature brand of bawdy fun to Westside. It was last year when I told you that they were bringing a branch of the San Diego party chain to Santa Monica (it has since opened). Now they have their sites on West Hollywood. Signs are already up on the former Tortilla Republic space at 616 N Robertson announcing their impending arrival. Expect a “party, out of the box” with “Latin flavors” set in Dia de los Muertos decor.
El Segundo is certainly the place for big commercial and multi-use developments, and it appears a new one is in the works on (what I believe was) former aerospace land on the corner of Nash and El Segundo Blvd. Nash St. Exchange, as the new complex is called, will host at least two new eateries. The building right on the corner will be the future home to Raising Cane’s, which has multiple restaurants across LA and Orange County and is known for chicken finger meals. Also in the complex will be a branch of comfort bakery/cafe Panera Bread.
I first told you about Kindred Spirit back in June, when I noticed help wanted flyers on the former ISno Cafe and Monsieur Marcel space at 1260 Third Street Promenade. KS opened back in August, but is hosting a Grand Opening event this weekend. The good folks at Kindred Spirit reached out to me and asked me to pass this along to you:
“Kindred Spirit – a new project from the Demitasse coffee geeks featuring an all day menu of alcohol free cocktails, lunch and brunch plates, and a rotating seasonal menu of classic patisserie inspired by the Santa Monica farmers market in a plant filled open air space on the Promenade is now open and will be having a grand opening event this weekend.
Kindred Spirit has been soft open since August but will be celebrating an official grand opening the weekend of October 23rd with a “Sober October” event from 12-4p featuring the launch of of their fall menu, an adult and family friendly mocktail and craft session with Makers Mess (dried floral wreaths like these), and complimentary sampling from the Free Spirits alcohol free spirit brand who are featured in a number of Kindred Spirit’s elixirs. Makers Mess craft session complimentary with food and beverage purchase.
Following that Kindred Spirit has a number of on site alcohol free brand pop-ups planned through the holidays and into Dry January.”
KS Lox of things Bagel /Photo: Carolina Korman
I heard from a reader (Thanks C.P.!) who asked me to check out the new café that recently opened in Playa Del Rey. Café Bohème is a breezy French charmer that sits in an unlikely strip mall at 8248 Pershing Dr. (corner of Manchester). A full remodel of the space has turned it into an airy, bright, cozy dining room and counter with soft wood and macramé accessories. The current menu is tellement Francais and includes omelettes, quiche, tartines, croque monsieur, galettes, and crêpes sucrées . They also produce their own croissants and pastries. Right now they are only open for breakfast and lunch, but dinner plans are in the works. We wish them bonne chance.
Good news People of Culver City, your first meal of the day is about to get more interesting! There’s window paper up one of the spaces in the Harlow development, on the corner of Washington and Hughes, announcing the impending arrival of Breakfast Republic. BR has a smattering of locations mostly south of here, but this will be only their second LA County space (after West Hollywood). Look for a menu of benedicts, omelets, pancakes, scrambles, as well as sandwiches, burritos, and vegan options. Oreo Cookie pancakes anyone?
I was shocked to discover on a recent trip to Santa Barbara that perennial favorite Cava Restaurant & Bar has closed up shop after 25 years. The elegant Mexican eatery had been an iconic presence on Coast Village Rd. in Montecito and was known for brunch and margaritas. SantaBarbara.com has the owner, Carlos López-Hollis‘ gracious goodbye and explanation, in which he cites the Thomas Fire and Pandemic as reasons. Sad…