The Raj (Photo by Caroline on Crack)
Seems like there’s a sudden influx of eateries/venues raiding the fresh produce available at local farmer’s markets. The Copa d’Oro Bar and The Fig Restaurant in Santa Monica for starters. Or has that been around and I’m just now noticing it. In any case it’s still nice to come across some new ones.
Thanks to Daily Candy I found The Curious Palate, a self-professed food lover’s paradise in the form of a farm-fresh café/market in Mar Vista of all places. It’s actually next to the post office which is next to the Sunday farmer’s market on Grand View. Quite handy for the quaint eatery as they get most of their food ingredients there.
Stopping in for lunch on a weekday, the place was blissfully chill. No lunch rush and lots of empty tables. I immediately felt at ease and then overwhelmed by all the goodies on the menu board. Every sandwich listed was so different and some came with ingredients that I didn’t recognize. What’s guanciale bacon…or Jidori chicken for that matter?
I had to practically twist my friend JDP’s arm to accompany me. He’s not a fan of trying new and different foods. “Seems too frou frou for me,” he said after checking out the online menu. But after much bullying, I mean, pressing he finally relented. “Maybe I’ll just get the meatloaf burger,” he said.
As for what I wanted. I had originally wanted to try out the mac and cheese, I mean come on, but once I was standing before the menu board I changed my mind and ordered a cup of the carrot ginger soup ($3.95) and the Raj sandwich (a savory grilled cheese sandwich slathered with housemade apple currant chutney, $8.95). Sounded like a wonderfully savory lunch. And it was.
The creamy soup tasted mostly of carrots with just a hint of the ginger, which was fine by me. But the Raj sandwich kinda made me wish it had one more ingredient in it, like ham or something. It was tasty though and after this meal I was so full that I could barely walk.
Suffice it to say that I ended up spending more than I had planned for lunch here, buying a fresh brewed iced tea as well as a huge chocolate chip cookie that I had to save for later. Burp.
And it turns out the lil market (a corner of the venue) sells Intelligentsia coffee. Perfect! Cuz now I don’t have to trek all the way to Silver Lake to get myself a bag. The market also has lots of giftie foods, gourmet chocolates and even a refrigerator of artisanal sodas and Mexican Cokes. “We don’t like artificial ingredients like corn syrup here,” said one of the owners I chatted with. I didn’t catch his name but it could have been either Elliott Rubin or Mark Cannon. He looked like an Elliott though.
There’s also a refrigerated display case dedicated to fine cheeses and meats which are handpicked from different distributors. “We don’t sell what they [the distributors] tell us to sell. We pick what we want to sell,” Elliott/Mark said.
And of course you know I came back for lunch the next day and ordered the Royale sandwich ($7.95) with bacon. This three-cheese grilled sandwich was a dream come true made better with the bacon which was extra for only $1. Turns out you can also order it with tomato, but I don’t like tomato so there you have it.
There are still so many other deelish things I want to try here, like that “famous” mac and cheese, the curried squash soup and the stone ground hot chocolate, oh and the smoked salmon sandwich. Mmm. So, yeah, looks like I’m having lunch there again tomorrow.
More pictures of Curious Palate.
The Curious Palate
12034 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90066 (map)
Hours: 10am-6pm daily