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Karen Salkin Out to Lunch

         Restaurant Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin
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I love discovering new neighborhoods, especially ones that aren’t that far away, but make me feel like I’m out-of-town. I can’t take credit for the one I’m going to tell you about, though. Lila discovered it, and as my friend who’s the most into breakfast, insisted I join her at her new favorite spot. So, off I went, with my friend Dan along for the manly opinion.

The hood is Pic-Fair Village and, once you’re at a destination there, feels somewhat like an undiscovered, newly-gentrified area of Brooklyn, which is a good feeling to me. As Dan and I drove along Pico looking for Bloom, we noticed several other interesting-looking places to try in the future.

But today was breakfast at Bloom Cafe, which appears to be named for what flowers do in the spring. It was dreary outside that day, but cheery in. It’s divided into two adjoining rooms, with one designated for dining and one for to-go orders, though it looks like you can do anything wherever you’re comfortable, including at an outdoor table, if you really want a view of lovely Pico Blvd., which, shockingly Dan and Lila did, as we sat at the one long window table, and they both chose to face the outside rather than the dining room. Or maybe they just wanted to look at my bed head. My friends are a tad bizarre at times, so you never know.

[Sidebar: I just remembered what they were looking at. We were all fascinated by the comings and goings of people across the street. I felt like we were living “Rear Window,” without the murder. (For you really young folk, it’s a Hitchcock film that appears to have been re-made into the upcoming “Disturbia.”)]

From 8-9AM, you can sit in the to-go side and enjoy coffee, pastries, smoothies and the like. At 9, they start serving breakfast and lunch in the main room until 5PM, when they switch to dinner.

Lila pointed out that the water has a hint of cucumber, which I’m glad she did before I drank it, as that’s far from my favorite taste. But Dan said it was refreshing and a great idea. Lila loved her over-sized latte and Dan said his regular coffee was super-good with a delicious, full-bodied aroma. Or maybe he was just describing me. I wasn’t sure at this point.

chocolate chip pancakes
Chocolate Chip Pancakes

And they went on and on about my blood orange juice, which I thought was big enough for a family of four. Dan said, “It’s an orange juice that people who don’t even like orange juice would like.” With descriptions like that, I may have to keep him around for more reviews.

Anyway, here’s a quick run-down on the food. We liked just about everything, with the only real negative being the runny, tasteless oatmeal. But Jean-Louis, the easy-going owner, said he would change it right away, so it may be good by the time you read this. I think he was going for a natural taste, as the food here seems to be a tad more healthful than other places, without focusing on it.

I ordered my usual chocolate chip pancakes, but these were far from usual. They were smaller, and more artistic in that they were uniform and presented with just a few chips on top and two silver cups of syrup and something that was perhaps strawberry preserves on the plate.

tofu scramble

Tofu Scramble

I use only whipped cream on mine, but they didn’t have any! I panicked for a sec, and then grew-up (don’t worry--it was just temporary), and tried them the way they came. And they were really good! And definitely less fattening sans cream. Though there were few chips on top, there were plenty in the body of the pancakes, which were a rare combination of fluffy and crispy. I finished them all, which might be a first, but I think the order was a tad boutique-y compared to the giant orders offered at most pancake houses.

My friends both ate e-word dishes. (For the uninitiated, I hate them so much, I can’t even say the word. But they’re the white, oval things that hens lay.) Lila had what she deemed as “the best poached e-words ever” (thanks to her for respecting my use of “e-words”), and said that the goat cheese made the whole dish. She also loved the raisin and walnut crostini they came on, and the tomato and basil coulis on the side. My pals enjoying their food so much is a beautiful thing.


Poached E-words

Dan said the vegetables in his Tofu scramble were “very fresh, very green, and had a good snap to them.” He pointed out that it was a generous portion, as well. Both their dishes came with a side salad, and his with whole wheat bread.

We girls were wild for the Yukon gold potatoes. When I saw them, I thought they didn’t look crispy enough, but loved the taste. They were a good surprise. I probably would have been happy with just them!

As we were leaving, we learned of the raw desserts they have. We had stayed so long that it was already lunchtime, but we couldn’t eat another morsel. Since this just may be my new favorite area of Los Angeles, I’m sure I’ll be back again to try them. And lunch and dinner.

Bloom Café 5544 Pico Blvd. 323-934-6900

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