Froma is just the loveliest of cheese shops imaginable on a stretch of Melrose that craves for consumers, not grubbers. One would never associate “monger” (nor should one, since she’s a sommelier by trade) with Francine Diamond, but with her at the helm, Froma seems to march to its own beat even as Japanese tourists exiting Paul Smith’s boutique casually walked by the wine & cheese shop without half a glance.
That trait is perhaps one of the reasons why Froma is so infectiously charming. It’s in the wrong place, serving possibly the wrong crowd, but it doesn’t care.
Past January, Froma started a happy hour program that made the visitors seek out wine instead of Agent Provocateur’s bustiers. A few selected wines, mixture of red and white, all curated by Francine herself, are poured for $5. Various accompanying cheese plates, as well as burrata platters, rillettes, an eponymous brushectta, etc., cost between $4 to $6. It’s hard to imagine eating country pate and cornichons while staring at clientele voyeuring in and out of Provocateur, but it’s fun, especially if you can get off work by 4pm.
If you like the various items from happy hour well enough, the daily selections are all available for impulse purchase and thoughtful consumption later on. At the risk of self-quoting, this place is like Osteria Mozza & Cube had a cute little baby.
7960 Melrose Ave.
Happy Hour 4:00-7:00pm
For many, La Cachette will always live on as one of the oldest memories of fine dining in LA. That gentle & elegant room off Santa Monica existed before the advent of the Internet, and it was a place fledgling gourmands first tasted “real” French cooking in Los Angeles. Unable to rest on its laurels, La Cachette shuttered half a year ago (August 2009) and things have never been the same since it moved into a space that occupies the first floor of a professional building amidst Santa Monica’s hotel row. Instead of the country setting filled with lace and merengue, LCB is now a modern French “bistro” clearly ready to embrace Santa Monica’s tourists.
To attract business diners, there is a new happy hour menu that features extremely small bites of French constants. Think pate, croque monsieur, a few bites of desserts, etc. The bar is operated by a Frenchmen with cosmopolitan flair. He loves France, he wants you to have a great time, he has an awesome accent. Drink up.
The croque monsieur was served as a cheesy gooey mound topped with bechamel, and it smelled delicious. Grass fed slider (what’s a happy hour menu in Los Angeles County without sliders) were surprisingly good, sporting a patty that’s still moist and not undercooked. Sweet potatoe fries were served up and finished with a light drizzle of truffle scented oil. The desserts were quite tiny, so don’t expect value, but do expect good fare that has been served since 1984.
La Cachette Bistro
1733 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Happy Hour Monday – Friday, 5-7:00pm
Reverse Happy Hour 8:30-10:00pm
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