Monday, July 5, 2010

Satiate The Curious Palate in Mar Vista

My July 4th celebration started with an early surf in Venice followed by the usual desperate search for breakfast afterwards. I wanted to hit up new crepe place La Petite Creperie in Mar Vista by the Sunday Farmer's Market, unfortunately the wait was almost an hour. Sigh, it was only 10am and the restaurant had only been open for an hour.

My favorite farmer's market buy is figs and I was surprised to see that it was already in season. One basket of plump, sweet figs for $4.50 made a great afternoon snack.

Due to our breakfast crepe failed attempt, we headed down the street to The Curious Palate, a cafe/gourmet market. I have been meaning to check it out because I've heard about their sandwiches and salads, perfect to pick up for Hollywood Bowl picnics. The cafe sources its fresh ingredients from local, sustainable farms and markets.

Unfortunately, they do not serve alcohol so I couldn't have my obligatory post-surf mimosa. It was also still breakfast hours so I was unable to order from their vast selection of sandwiches.

In the corner of the cafe, they have shelves of goodies including gourmet chocolates, jam, pastas, olive oil and Carmela ice cream. They offer a selection of artisan cheeses and meats in the display case.

Fresh strawberry juice. It was a rather thick puree so you know they don't skimp on the strawberries.

One very large croissant which I asked for it to be warmed up.

I really love croissants and believe me, I am somewhat of an expert on what makes a good croissant. And this, my friend, is a darn good croissant. I do love the overly buttery croissants from Bite Bakery that leave a buttery smell on your fingers for hours, but I also appreciate one that has the right amount of butter but is still flavorful such as the one at The Curious Palate. It's baked fresh daily and was flaky.

French toast soaked in farmer's market fresh free range eggs, orange zest and cream, served with McLure's organic maple syrup
The bread used was a thick slice of fresh brioche bread. This is not your typical french toast that is dripping in egg mixture. It had a very crunchy exterior that softened as it absorbed the maple syrup. The french toast was soft in the center, similar to bread pudding. Usually I'd like to order a side of potatoes with french toast but this dish was very filling.

Ham, mushrooms, onions and Gruyere omelet
My friend Nate, who is very knowledgeable about cooking (he came in 1st place for his dessert sandwich at the Grilled Cheese Invitational a couple years ago), was extremely impressed with the preparation of his omelet. Apparently according to Escoffier, the whole omelet is supposed to smooth and soft, slightly scrambled inside and is not supposed to be browned on the outside. Who knew? Well, not this foodie *embarrassed* He really enjoyed the combination of the sweet caramelized onions and the savory ham and mushrooms. He also commented on the good quality ingredients that were used.

The girl at the counter was friendly however our food took quite some time to be served. It's not a cheap breakfast, close to $30 excluding tip and sans booze, but you're paying for quality ingredients. I'd like to return for lunch and order the pulled pork or the chicken satay sandwich. The Curious Palate is a good breakfast/brunch spot that shows you that healthy food can still be cooked right, taste good and offer many exciting selections.

Hits: fresh ingredients, omelet
Misses: service a bit slow, no alcohol
Rating: ***

The Curious Palate
12034 Venice Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 437-0144


Diana said...

I've been *curious* about the Curious Palate for a while! That French toast definitely sounds like something that would tickle my carboholic fancy. Will have to make it over there soon for lunch or a sober brunch!

stuffycheaks said...

Oh I forgot to mention Diana, that the lady at the counter said you could bring in your own bubbly. SCORE!