If you’re a Starbucks junkie, you’re likely familiar with the brand La Boulange, the coffee purveyor’s provider of all things pastry at their establishments. In June, the first La Boulange in Southern California opened, offering an expanded menu from the company’s Bay Area cafes, with burgers, salads, cocktails and beer, and all-day breakfast choices.
While I wasn’t exactly in the neighborhood, I was on the same street as La Boulange on Sunday night (for those of you who live elsewhere, LA has remarkably long streets) after finishing up as a guest on a KJLH radio show. Though a good 15-20 minutes north, how I could I pass on a trip up La Brea from Inglewood to Mid-Wilshire to give La Boulange a taste? The only convincing that needed to be done was with my road dogs for the evening – fellow food lover and fro-worker Kristina, who’d been on the show with me, and my often moody, always sassy ‘tween, Kourtney.
Luckily, my kid is always hungry too. So she was down, and Kristina couldn’t resist a cafe-bakery meal. Alas, north we went.
It was a Sunday evening, so we didn’t hit much traffic, found a parking space in the lot. Didn’t have to wait in much of a line. My challenge was saying no to the sumptuous cocktails that appeared on the monitor, one after the next teasing me. With quite the drive back to Long Beach (and with expensive dinner plans for the next day), I’d told myself that I would just say no to alcohol. And I did. But I’m certainly curious about such concoctions as their lemon raspberry panache (pilsner, raspberries, housemade lemonade) or berry fruit fizz (sparkling wine, muddled fresh strawberries or fresh raspberries) – I love a refreshing drink.
The burger and fries were it for me. Since it was offered, I had to get my turkey burger on a croissant bun; although now that I’ve had one, I think I’d opt for the brioche bun instead (the croissant was fine, but what I love most about croissants – the flakiness, the butteriness – competed for my attention with the rest of the burger). I’m not knocking it, though – it was a delicious burger with great turkey flavor. What I fell in love with, though, were their sweet potato fries. I’m big on sweet ps, and many these days are quite formulaic – they taste fine but they aren’t fabulous. These were beyond fabulous, reminding me of some of my favs from other places like Simmzy’s. Dipped in La Boulange’s aioli, each bite was a sweet, fatty nugget of happy – crispy style.
Kristina dug her smoked salmon sandwich, and couldn’t stop talking about how much she liked the quinoa served alongside her dish. And after sampling my fries, she had to order a to-go bag for her fiance (although I’d bet a full order didn’t make its way back to him). Kourtney’s “kid” burger and fries satisfied her too, as did her “super thick” vanilla shake, and that girl’s picky about her shakes.
So did I make the right choice by taking a little detour on the way home from Inglewood? You bet I did. Will I return soon? I want to so I can try their breakfast and their cocktails but, dang – I keep finding my way to new tasty food and fun establishments. At this rate, either my funds will tap out or the button on my pants is going to pop off. Well, until one of those things happens, keep tuning in.
La Boulange LA
359 S. La Brea at 4th