Wednesday, June 23, 2010
What do yo get when you mix a Jiraffe and a Melisse? Or a Citrin and a Lunetta? As all the chef followers have undoubtedly figured out, the casual cafe Lemon Moon gets its name from a play on the combination of names of the chefs of Jiraffe and Melisse, Josiah Citrin (lemon) and Raphael Lunetta (moon).
Located tucked in a business park in West Los Angeles, it is a handy place to stop for breakfast or lunch, especially if the weather is nice and you can nab one of the outdoor patio tables facing the green space between office buildings. There is parking behind the building and if you are lucky, you can get metered parking in front.
With the huge gym next door, the menu here has options for eaters who want protein, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. Breakfast choices include the hearty Avocado and Cheddar Breakfast Burrito with whole wheat tortilla, scrambled egg whites, avocado, black bean-tomato salsa, scallions and tomatillo sauce for $8.50 or the Omega 3 Omelette, with smoked salmon, grilled asparagus and fresh ricotta cheese served with hash browns, and whole wheat toast for $9.75. If you want a lighter option, they have Steel Cut Oatmeal with fresh fruit, brown sugar, dried fruit and milk for $6.25. If you want to indulge, you can order the French Toast with vanilla ricotta, honey and fresh berries for $8.25 (you can go work it off next door at the gym).
Since I never wake up early enough to go anywhere for breakfast (unless it is served all day or I am on my way to the airport), I ordered a two salad combination. The lunch menu is extensive with sandwiches like slow roasted pork with poblano pepper and cole slaw, full entrees like miso salmon and roast chicken for bigger appetites, and about a dozen prepared salads aside from the ones I chose like roasted beets, orange segments, hazelnuts and sherry vinegar, or the 5 spice chicken salad with burdock root vegetable and carrot. Most meals are under $10 and nothing is over $15, so prices are as casual as the open cafe space.
I chose the Skirt Steak Salad with Thai Basil, grilled scallions, tomatoes, cucumbers, shitake mushrooms, sesame and Asian vinaigrette with the Japanese Turnip greens with sesame and Teriyaki sauce for $11.25. I asked for the steak to be rare but they told me it is cooked in the morning to a medium and mixed into the prepared salad. I was very happy that I risked overcooked steak and ordered this because the entire composition was fresh, the meat was tender and juicy, and even though I would have preferred rare (they do beef salads made to order at Tender Greens and Curious Palate), I was very happy with my choice. I was less happy with the Japanese Turnip greens with sesame and Teriyaki sauce, which I would have thought could not be made badly, but when greens taste so sweet that I could only eat three bites, I would say pass on greens here. Maybe the sweetness was to get people who don't like greens to eat their vegetables (by pouring sugary Teriyaki all over it), but for anyone who actually likes the taste of vegetables, choose another dish. With such an extensive tempting selection of creative salads, it is worth stopping by Lemon Moon again before the next blue moon.