Dining decisions by Cedar Sinai seem so difficult sometimes, especially when you’re visiting someone sick at the hospital. Those few extra blocks to WeHo (where Petrossian gloriously serves everything glorious) seems insurmountable when compounded with the parking difficulties.

One morning, I sought the odd comforts of Larder at Maple Drive. The space, essentially a random Beverly Hills business complex courtyard, isn’t inviting in the typical Beverly Hills tourist sense. I was looking for some kind of misleadingly healthy breakfast choices, like the granola seen below. Instead, I arrived at the chilled take-out chest and came upon a bucket of macarons.

Here are regularly priced Larder macarons:
Tavern macarons

This bucket of pastries had 3 macs — yes, “macs”, a couple of truffles, and a few petit fours. The entire offering was ticketed at a low, low price of $5. Five dollars, in Beverly Hills, at a Suzanne Goin joint. I’m pretty sure this is the most banging bargain in all of the city. Why is no one talking about this? While the sweets aren’t in a fancy Bottega Louie gift box, the macarons rival anything coming out of the Westside, including those of ‘Lette and Chaumont. This haul of left-over pastries is mentioned nowhere on Larder’s website. Next year, on February 13, hit up Tavern on Maple Drive (but please be careful with the parking). Give your date the macs on February 13, so the pastries are still moist, so she’ll get moist. And you’ll still leave enough cash to take care to Red Medicine for more desserts before more desserts. Profit, then write me a thank you comment below.

Larder at Maple Drive

Of course, within a day, I ended up going to Larder again, in search of bargains and brunch, again. And I had an inedibly salty, slutty egg sandwich:

Larder at Burton Way Slutty Egg Sandwich

If it weren’t so salty, the entire experience would’ve been very enjoyable, as there’s plenty of light flooding through the tall windows, and there was nary a soul during weekday brunch time. Everybody should brunch on a weekday once a year. It’s just so damned pleasurable, and no one would judge as one of those bitches ladies who lunch.

Larder at Burton Way on Urbanspoon

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Based on that disastrous sandwich, I was looking for some kind of Beverly Hills/Third Street redemption a day later, and decided to throw money at the problem. This time, it was the new AOC’s turn. The last time at AOC for me was more than two years ago. It was ho-hum. But it was really nice because it was ho-hom on Third Street. Brunching on Third Street could be such a disaster. The Churchill can be serene, but that’s just the uncool Eveleigh for Mid-City West folks who can’t/won’t/doesn’t-know-how-to trek to WeHo. Forget about any sense of calm at Little Next Door, and the other options on the street carry the misfortune of having Ferraris valeted in front. Sadly, the “old” AOC was also getting really long in the tooth, and no one seemed to paid attention after the brunch service launched. So, yes, I was looking for redemption done two-ways.

Suzanne Goin AOC lamb focaccia

And AOC(‘s patio) delivared! This roasted lamb neck (is this a new thing?) sandwich, inside some not-very “foccacia” buns, was probably the most brilliant sandwiches so far in 2013. And I unwillingly eat a lot of sandwiches these days, especially the $3 Vietnamese kind. Sadly, this geniusness is already off the menu, only to be replaced by some trite pork belly focaccia. So the final passage here is to beg AOC to bring the sexy rage that is the lamb neck back. Certainly lamb neck is hotter than Justin Timberlake right now. Certainly lamb neck is far more interesting than another cut of pork belly. The roasted lamb neck wasn’t funky, it wasn’t overly tender, it was just a more usual cut of mammal in between two slices of a very non-focaccia focaccia. With some flavorful greens (and some pickled citrus!!), the entire herbal, spiced, Middle Eastern-inspired sandwich makes all the other $10 sandwiches in the neighrborhood seem demure.

Beyond the sandwich, the farmers plate, nearly identical in spirit to those offered at Blue Cow Kitchen, is also a hit. But what charcuterie isn’t. More importantly, the patio here doesn’t sport a shade of orange also demonstrated on Snooki’s face due to fake bake abuse. The patio is mostly (wealthy) hospital staff, so that one neighboring brunching friends talking about book deals and useles charities sponsoring god-knows-what mission in Honduras seem rather inconsequential. This is not Hollywood, this is Century City, and it’s definitely not The Ivy. And in order to fulfill the brunching destiny that is in AOC’s future, I ask the kitchen, again, to bring back the lamb neck focaccia. Thank you.

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  • Bigmouth

    If lamb neck is a “thing,” count me in!


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