I’m absolutely terrible at making decisions in terms of where to eat out. I tend to overanalyze the menu, making things more difficult than they need to be and I don’t want to be in charge for fear someone will be unhappy with my decision. However, if they said, “oh I don’t care” then they either need to suck it up and deal with the decision or speak up. #sorryimnotsorry. Anyways, when my friend Laura suggested going out to lunch, I knew she would have excellent suggestions. She went to school out in Westwood, so she usually has the most fun and funky places to go, just like Larchmont Bungalow, a place known for putting the community first. Laura found this little gem when she was searching out places, other than her library, to study. According to most reviews, it is “the” place for brunch, but is so popular that the wait sometimes is unbearable. We were going out to lunch on a weekday, so it wasn’t as much of a problem.
I happened to be out in Santa Monica that day and so meeting her in Larchmont after her summer school class was not an issue. Using my navigation (yes, I rely on it way too much), I managed to find my way off the freeway and into the adorable little main street. After parking in a garage, I wandered along the shops, taking my time to arrive at the restaurant. It must have been fate because as I strolled along, I happened to walk by a brand-new juice shop, Pressed Juicery, and they were handing out coupons for free juice. Let me just repeat that…FREE JUICE. Those things cost up to $8 and let’s be real, free is one of my favorite words.
Both of us have been experimenting with out eating so we’ve sought out places that have organic foods, gluten free options, and of course coffee in either it’s original hot form or my latest favorite – iced coffee; perfect with some almond milk and cinnamon on a hot afternoon. I arrived a few minutes before Laura and so I had some time to peruse the menu and search out where to sit. There are plenty of seats inside and out, but of course it being prime time for lunch, most tables were full. When she did arrive, we managed to put our order in and found a table in the corner.
While I was waiting, I tried to figure out what the restaurant was known for, what I wanted to splurge on, and what would be worth ordering on a warm afternoon. They seemed to heavily promote their red, white, and blue pancakes, although I wasn’t sure I could handle a full stack in the heat with the rest of the afternoon ahead of me. It would certainly be divine and probably taste scrumptious but a nap would be in order, something I wasn’t sure I had time for that day. One day …
Soo, while I didn’t go with my sugar tooth, I did have some fun with the menu. Honestly I was hooked when I read kale and quinoa. Too bad they weren’t mixed together. Here’s a little teaser:
- Club Hummus Melt: turkey applewood smoked bacon, tomato, fresh basil, hummus, and sharp cheddar cheese
- Baked Lobster Mac & Cheese: gluten free elbow pasta and lobster smothered with gruyere, swiss, cheddar, pepperjack, and reggianito parmesan (not a fan of lobster, but really, so many cheeses I would manage 😉 )
- Organic Quinoa Salad: organic red and white quinoa with grilled zucchini, red bell pepper, asparagus, edamame, over a bed of mixed greens, garnished with fresh basil, mixed with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), honey, and fresh lime juice
- Chopped Kale Salad: crisp kale, fresh mango, and toasted pumpkin seeds lightly marinated in EVOO, fresh lime juice, and honey (potential to add salmon…NOMS)
Even though they provided such an extensive list of coffees – dark, artisan, single origin – I never really understand the differences and thus tend to stick to what I know. They are known for promoting environmental, social, and economical sustainability; another reason to take a trip out and support the local shops.
It’s one of those places where you place your order and pay at the counter, then take your number and they deliver your food to your table. These seem to be my favorite places because there is no hassle of waiting for the check and waiting to pay. Instead, you eat your meal and are ready to leave at your convenience.
In terms of food, I finally settled on one of the day’s specials – the organic quinoa salad. Whenever I find something packed with so many of the vegetables I love, it’s a no-brainer. Aren’t the colors fabulous? It was devoured with pleasure, although some extra protein might have been smart. Maybe some chopped chicken or even salmon.
Laura was quite an expert and settled on her favorite – the Lobster & Crab Sandwich, which obviously included lobster and crab tossed in truffle aioli with celery, dill, basil and mixed greens served on gluten free bread. I did sample a bite and agree, it was deliciously prepared; I retract my statement that I’ll never eat lobster/crab. It must have been the creamy consistency of alioli, reminding me of a good cheese dip that got me.
Laura is heading off to San Francisco for a post-grad training program and I wish her the best of luck. I have to say, it’s been amazing catching up with her this summer. We’ve hiked, explored, chatted, and done so much more. She will probably have more fun (or at least ability) to explore the area and find all the funky food shops. Hopefully we can do some exploring over the holidays or when we are both in the same place once more 🙂
107 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ― Frederick Keonig