Newsletter: Volume 43 - Spring 2014
Happy Spring everyone. The season came a bit early this year with all the unseasonably warm weather bringing produce like peas, asparagus and good strawberries to the market, and our menus, a bit early. Our fantastic group of Chefs has been playing around with all of these spring goodies much to our delights.
Highlights in this newsletter are:
• Jeremy Fox and his kitchen hit new heights plus what
to drink this season with our cocktail creator Aaron Ranf
• Huckleberry introduces a new Executive Chef and awaits
the release of our first cookbook
• Sweet Rose Mid-City opens for great ice cream and coffee
and Shiho and the gang are crazy about strawberries
• Chef Erin Eastland continues to revamp the Milo & Olive
menu with new hand cut pastas and specials
• Plus updates about our two new projects on 7th street
There’s something about the 2nd year at the helm of a restaurant kitchen that really brings the best out of a great Chef. We’ve seen this before but, quite honestly, the work that Jeremy Fox is doing right now at Rustic is pretty unbelievable. Jeremy is fusing his own creativity and deep understanding of utilizing whole vegetables and meats with Rustic’s neighborhood sensibility, to create some of the most soul satisfying and delicious food we’ve ever served. New spring standouts include a salad of Valdivia Farms English Peas with Sheep’s Milk Feta, Mint, Shaved Asparagus and Red Wine Vinegar. Asparagus in fact is all over the menu, as Jeremy and his kitchen embrace the beautiful Zuckerman’s Farm crop from the Sacramento Delta. You’ll find it served Grilled with Whipped Goat Cheese, Nettles and Mushroom Streusel, as well as in a Chilled Soup with Mustard Chantilly, Young Red Romaine, and garnished with Purple Asparagus Tips. On the larger plate side Skate Wing Piccata is a wonderful take on this classic preparation, accompanied by delicious Baby Artichokes from Life’s A Choke, Fava Beans, Capers and Lemon. Jeremy has also been playing with some beautiful dishes for two, the first of which is a breathtaking plate of Jaime Farms Rabbit, with Spring Vegetables and Wild Rice. What makes this dish so special are the multiple preparations, with the saddle stuffed and roasted, the legs confit and a homemade Mortadella served on Grilled Toast with Pesto.
As far as drinking goes, any time you order a cocktail at Rustic you’re in the good hands of Rustic Canyon bartender and cocktail creator Aaron Ranf. New drinks include the return of the Rum Diary, where Chairman’s Silver Rum is paired with Muddled Kumquats, Fresh Lime and Crème De Violette and the Corazon de Fresas where Strawberries are mixed with Basil, Lime and smoky Mezcal. Come join us for a cocktail and some food soon.
It’s a fun time for Huckleberry with lots of changes about and exciting things on the horizon. First of all we welcome to our team our very talented new Executive Chef Michael Israel. Michael brings years of culinary expertise as diverse as working as the Culinary Liaison at Per Se, to owning his own Montreal Style Egg Roll Truck, to winning an episode of Chopped. Michael is a great guy and chef and we’re exciting to continue to evolve the menu under his leadership. As he comes in we say a big goodbye and thank you to Matt Turnquist, an important part of our RC family over the past 5 years as Rustic Canyon Sous Chef and most recently Huckleberry Executive Chef. Matt is leaving to focus full time on the bakery and café in Sierra Madre that he and his wife Brittainy opened, called the Poppyseed Baking Company. If you’re in the area please go visit them as they’re both wildly talented.
There are plenty of new dishes gracing the Huckleberry menu and display cases this season. Michael just started running a beautiful new Spring Vegetable Tartine, where grilled bread is topped with Sweet Pea Hummus, Roasted Carrots, Cauliflower and Spring Onions, Swiss Chard, and topped with Radish Sprouts and a Roasted Onion Vinaigrette. It’s a beautiful vegetarian and scrumptious vegetarian dish. Also new is the updated Quinoa Breakfast Dish, currently featuring Snap Peas, Zuckerman’s Asparagus, Baby Spinach and Organic Sunny Side Up Eggs, which is spiced up as the Quinoa is mixed with a bit of Sriracha. On the sweet side Zoe and Laurel are welcoming back sweet Tamai Farms Strawberries which are featured in Strawberry Cream Pies and Strawberry Crostatas, and on some days as the base for a Strawberry Glaze that makes it onto a Glazed Brioche Doughnut. Finally, we are closing in on a very satisfying point of what has been a long journey, Huckleberry’s first cookbook. The book which Zoe authored with help from her partner in crime Laurel Almerinda and myself, focuses on the bounty of breakfast dishes and morning pastries that have come through Huck over the first 5 years of being open. The book comes out on September 9th but can be pre-ordered on Amazon now by clicking this link. We hope you’ll enjoy reading it and cooking from it as much as we loved writing it.
We are pleased to announce the opening of our third store, Sweet Rose Creamery Mid City. Our Mid City store is located at 7565 Beverly Boulevard, between Fairfax and La Brea and is open from 8AM-10PM Sunday-Thursday and 8AM-11PM Friday and Saturday. The beautiful space designed by Montalba Architects has seats for 40 people with tables inside and on the patio, and features a fantastic artisan coffee program alongside Shiho’s great ice cream, shakes, sundaes and frozen novelties. Just like our Pico Store in Santa Monica, Mid-City offers a full range of espresso drinks with beans locally roasted by our friends at Caffe Luxxe, as well as single origin pour over, house made cold brew, Shiho’s famous almond milk, and pastries from Milo & Olive. As far as new ice cream flavors that can be enjoyed at all three of our stores this season, look for various items made with those fantastic strawberries from Tamai Farms. Strawberry Ice Cream is back as is Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet and a Strawberry Ice Cream Pie made with a Homemade Graham Cracker Crust and Fresh Strawberry Jam. Large pies need to be preordered so please give us a call if you want to get one for your next special occasion.
It’s so fun to walk into Milo & Olive and see the amazing work that Chef Erin Eastland, GM Rosemary Walker and their teams are doing. Milo & Olive is about so much more than just pizza now, as Erin has taken the menu and, made it even more exciting with the addition of new comforting pastas like House Made Kale and Sausage Lasagna and Hand Cut Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas from Mcgrath Farms. The quality of these dishes comes from their simplicity, Erin’s keen ability to pick the best produce from our local farmers, and great technique. Erin has also been running tons of seasonal specials like Green Garlic and Ricotta Ravioli, and a small plate of Weiser Farms Sunchokes Roasted in the wood fired oven and served with Honey Date Butter, Hazelnuts and Crispy Rosemary. For dessert, new items are coming out hot from the kitchen, like the Vanilla Pound Cake, slathered in Beurre de Barate Butter and warmed to a light crisp in the oven then served with Bill’s Bees Honey, Sea Salt, and Vanilla Whipped Cream. Our biggest problem has been the challenge of wanting to be able to feed more of you on a nightly basis than our tiny dining room can handle, but on that front we have some very good news. As of this month we’ve taken possession of the adjoining space next door. This space will allow us to double our seats, add another pizza oven and take on a greater volume of customers for dining in and for to-go orders. We’re hoping to be able to complete our expansion by the end of the year. We’ll keep you updated as things progress.
As many of you know, we’re working on two new exciting projects to be located in Downtown Santa Monica on 7th St between Arizona and Santa Monica Boulevard. The first is a large Southeast Asian Brasserie where we’re partnering with the immensely talented Chef Bryant Ng and his wife Kim to create a wonderful restaurant with patio, full bar, wood fired grill and much more. The second, across the hall from the brasserie is a wine shop and wine bar where we’re partnering with our long time staff member Kathryn Coker and her husband Tug. This will be a unique and very special multi use space which will serve as your local wine shop, gourmet foods purveyor, and as a 70 seat wine bar with patio seating and a menu of wine friendly small plates crafted by Executive Chef Jeremy Fox. We had hoped to open in the summer but got held up in the usual city building delays so it’s looking more like end of the year. We’ll keep you posted. As always we’re so grateful for all of your visits to the restaurants and support and we look forward to seeing you soon.
We hope you all have a fantastic holiday season and a great beginning to 2014.