Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday Morning Bagel Sandwich Redemption at The Oaks

I had a really horrible meal Saturday night in Pomona at 2nd on 2nd. I was really disappointed because I have not had a meal in as long as I can remember that actually almost compelled me to send the plate back or ask for a refund on my check. True it was the cheapest dinner I have had in a long time but does that excuse the fact that there was a hard, white slice of tomato with a gnarly, scarred center on my burger or that it tasted like set-in-the-sun cardboard with a coating of black ash? I left most of the dish but picked out the soggy fried jalapenos from the slab because I was hungry. The waitress didn’t even charge me for my glass of wine, but it wasn’t because she was making up for her bad service and the meal, it’s because she wasn’t present enough to recall that I ordered it.

All this being said, it made me realize that I should take more time to note the everyday and simple eating experiences I come across that may not be worthy of a Michelin five star rating but are reliable sources of simply, yummy food time and again.

The next morning my palate was redeemed by such an experience at The Oaks Gourmet Fine Foods andSpirits market in Hollywood, where we stopped for a quick breakfast/lunch on our way to see The Artist. One fourth gourmet foods and condiments market, one fourth wine store shoved into an upscale, strip mall, one fourth bustling coffee shop and smoothie shack, and one fourth cafĂ© serving fare like pizza, burgers, sandwiches and salads to order. As small as the space is and as much is crammed in there to choose your experience from, I still fell in love with its charm due to the good food and the variety of people who were there obviously in on the secret of the place’s merits as well; even if you had to sit at a communal table in the middle of the store to enjoy the fare without a plate or utensils. That kind of DIY smorgasbord of people on laptops, in couples, or in for a rushed bite, added to the allure.

The menus boasts one of the Top Five Burgers in LA according to the LA List and my boyfriend, being a burger whore, had that. I thought the meat was very flavorful and the ingredients were above par but he said they weren’t distributed evenly. 

I am a bagel sandwich aficionado. Chances are, if it’s the early half of the day and I am hungry I will opt for this standard combination of egg, cheese and bagel with additional stuff thrown in. So far, my favorite had been the red pepper and Swiss version at Koffi in Palm Springs but now The Oaks has stolen my heart with its perfectly combined fried egg, grated cheddar cheese, black forest bacon that melted on the tongue with bits of pepper spice, and shaved onion and roasted red peppers. It was the kind of sandwich served warm where textures and temperatures all perfectly blend and the “everything” bagel was soft and not too hard to squeeze the life out of the more tender things like egg and cheese.  

If I lived close by I would come often to eat the bagel sandwich or buy things like the tiny Ding-Dong reminiscent monkey cakes in a non-guilt-ridden two-bite portion, the fig olive oil or one of the varieties of artisan tampenades.

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