Monday, May 17, 2010
Ever since I walked by and saw the very cute French Provinçal patio, I have wanted to try The Little Next Door Cafe, which is literally next door to the Little Door, its bigger and fancier night time sister. The Cafe is also a bakery and shop, so you can stock up on colorful French macaroons or breakfast treats like croissants, or pick up a dessert of Baba au Rhum or a lemon tartelette.
Since the decor is straight out of a sleepy beach side cafe in the South of France and several of the staff are French speaking, it is fitting that the menu has French classics like Escargots, Quiche, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Croque Madame; for vegetarians they have roasted Quinoa, a trio of Roasted Beets, and Green Lentil Salad; for Southern Californians, Ahi Tuna Tartar with Hummus, Roasted Saffron Salmon, and hamburgers. there is something on the menu for everyone, whether you come for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner.
I went for lunch, so I chose my standard Salade Nicoise* ($16) and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of ingredients, including authentic Niçoise olives, balsamic sauteed onions, haricots verts, ripe tomatoes, boiled yellow potatoes, and my personal favorite touch, anchovies served on the boiled eggs. The tuna was cooked rare with a tasty tapenade, and even though the service was a bit slow (the waiter told me the tuna took longer to prepare than other dishes, but only after I asked why my order was not ready). When my order did arrive, it was beautiful and every item on my plate had a distinctly fresh flavor. It seemed some servers were more efficient than others, so it is a luck of the draw whether you will get good or mediocre service.
They have a happy hour from 4-6:30 with 30% off all wines and beers by the glass and all appetizers, so you can sit on the patio as the sun sets and get a taste of the South of France without having to go through airport security (but if you want to pretend you are traveling, you can take off your jacket and put your phone on the table).
*I am still working on getting my new camera to take good pics, so please bear with me, this was the first time I have actually been able to take any picture at all!
** See my new post with new pics on this restaurant here.