Mornings should be greeted with something that makes you smile at the start of your day. If you stop by Maison Du Pain for some pastries, like their Pain au Raisin, or a Pain au Chocolat, you can completely erase the pain of having to get out of bed. I had been here in 2009, but they have greatly expanded their repertoire in the last two years and when I saw the baguettes, I had to go back and taste one.
Their baguettes did look good, but how did they taste?
Cutting one open, I found the crust perfectly chewy, with a satisfying crunch, and the interior had a soft texture that is neither too soft nor too dense. The flavor bespoke the quality of the ingredients and the freshness of the loaf. This is a classic baguette, the one you want to eat plain straight out of the bakery. It's one of the best I've eaten in Los Angeles (and I have eaten dozens of baguettes in this city)! If you buy two or three, you might make it home with enough to give someone else in your household a taste.
Although I love Papa Cristo's for Greek Food, today I wanted a nicer ambiance and a shorter drive for my Greek food fix, so after breakfast, I went over to Ulysses in the Farmer's Market/The Grove. I had eaten here two years ago with friends from France for a late lunch (see my previous post) before I left for Greece, so I wanted to see what I thought after having been to the country.
I was impressed that their wine list included a wine from Santorini, and that they served a very generous glass for $10. It was crisp and had a slightly mineral taste as the wines in that region are typically made.
The bread basket included a nice chewy olive bread and a good baguette, served with a creamy and tangy cheese spread in lieu of butter.
I chose a spring salad topped with Calamari for $13, and For those who prefer chicken or lamb, you can top your salad with meatier protein. The calamari were tender, and the salad of greens mixed with red and yellow peppers, olives, red onions, tomatoes, and feta was dressed in a oregano infused oil and vinegar sauce which did not overwhelm the greens. After my last disastrous salad at Villa Blanca, this was a welcome change. I loved the generous amount of calamari, but found the amount of feta on the salad was a bit too generous and left most of it.
Two years ago my friends were both impressed by the fact that this was the only Greek restaurant we stopped at where the hostess responded to "Kalimera" with "Kalimera" (Good Morning). My visit this time was no different, when I left I said "Effaristo" (thank-you) and the host answered "Malakalo" (you're welcome).
Authentic French pastries, great baguettes, and a Greek restaurant which retains the language and the style of Greece; Los Angeles may be a melting pot, but I am glad to find the unique flavors of different food cultures are still distinctly ethnic.