A wee bit late to this string of thoughts but…

Few weekends ago we ate the hell out of Yabu again, took some pix at ScionArt’s Palate installation (ends June 12):

ScionArt Palate

… drank Heinies in beer mug pre-frozen with ice, ate baked catfish while Vietnamese Elvis sang & drunk birthday boy’s girlfriend passed out, ate said birthday boy’s birthday cake…

Bia Da Nyu Y Ca 8 MonNhu Y Ca 8 Mon Fountain Valley

… used a Groupon coupon at Food+Lab…

Which brings us to this brief review of the cafe:

Food+Lab CafeFood+Lab CafeFood+Lab CafeFood+Lab Cafe

Food+Lab is a hub-wife (and baby!) catering team that’s been around for 3 years. They catered to the fashion/movie “industry”, so it’s only sensible they opened a B&M storefront 1.5 years ago in West Hollywood. Food+Lab’s gourmet (hello! do you see the mint AND cuke water!) take-out cafeteria model is clearly distinct from the other kids on the block (Zeke’s – eeks, Yukon Mining, Formosa Cafe, etc) and the intimate vibe it imparts makes it a standout in the neighborhood. Surely one can’t find Boccalone salumi nor Dean & Deluca spices at Trader Joes across the street. After the post-party haze dissipates from weekend brunchers, Food+Lab lulls the chillaxing types seeking a quiet pre-dusk moment with promises of organic fare. On a late Saturday afternoon / early Saturday evening, F+L was nearly empty.

Food+Lab Cafe Turkey Breast, Brie, Pear, Honey, Fig Compote Sandwich

The wildly popular “Turkey Breast, Brie, Pear, Honey, Fig Compote sandwich”

Some may think closing time makes not a great dining moment, but beyond a few out-of-stock items, Food+Lab surely was at its finest: coolers humming with their belly stocked full of premium charcuterie, unhurried workers eager to serve & please, a few stragglers enjoying their pricey sandwiches on the back patio cum parking lot…

Despite all the cute happiness bouncing off the walls, Food+Lab has a most egregious fault: it’s almost expensive. Sandwiches, the main seller after breakfast (which truly started only this past January), unable to cast shadows large enough to cover 2 fist, run nearly $10. Yes, the bread is artisanal, yes there is fig compote on the menu board, yes the chicken is organic, but it’s easy to leave hungry even after passing a Hamilton. Here, pending $15 for a sandwich, chips and a premium soda can be fulfilling only if the meal’s taking at a leisurely pace during which the cute space (comparisons to a shruken Joan’s On Third are inevitable), can be carefully enjoyed.

Food+Lab Cubano sandwich with broccoli soup

The Cubano sandwich recalls nothing of an actual Cuban sandwich at say.. Cafecito Chicago
or even Cafe Marianao, with thin slice of ham that is clearly not meaty enough. The turkey breast (first sandwich pix) which receives plenty of Yelp praise is quite sweet due to fig compote, and the creaminess provided by the brie is hard not to like. It is conceivable that the chicken curry sammie with a very Scandinavian lingonberry chutney would’ve provided a flavor profile that’s much more interesting, so hopefully there’s a next time.

For those wishing for timely bites prior to concerts, Food+Lab creates to-go dinner baskets for the Hollywood Bowl goers, just like AMMO. And further bonus, Food Lab is situated right next to a motorcycle shop. Sufficed to say, sipping an espresso while after, and before, browsing vintage bikes, makes some people pop wood.

Another take on Food+Lab by Viva LA Foodie

7253 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
T: (323) 851-7120
Food + Lab Cafe & Marketplace on Urbanspoon


Mercantile's Bar

After a quick bite at Food+Lab, we sauntered off drove an interminable Hollywood mile, like good Angelenos, to only consume a very blase cheesecake at Mercantile despite our Kristen Stewart look-alike server’s rec.

Mercantile's HUGE double espresso Mercantile Cheesecake

The Mercantile in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Finally, to close out the evening, (the awesome) Mutineer Magazine’s Second Anniversary party provided all the alcoholic entertainment one would ever need. Sadly, we missed The Most Interesting Man In The World.

Mutineer Magazine Second Anniversary PartyMutineer Magazine Second Anniversary Party The FalconMutineer Magazine Second Anniversary Party The FalconMutineer Magazine Second Anniversary Party The Falcon

Despite magazine closures nation wide, Mutineer Magazine somehow survived by providing what the broken people of this nation needed the most: how to live a better life, by drinking. Along with Zane Lamprey’s 3 Sheets, Mutineer Mag is the best food/drink discovery of ’09. The party had well over 300 revelers and 50 wine & beverage vendors with Amarula, from South Africa, as the featured liqueur of the evening

Here is Mutineer’s own, much more detailed, recount of the festivities: http://www.mutineermagazine.com/blog/2010/05/a-recap-of-mutineer-magazines-2nd-annual-red-carpet-tasting/

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