Our city still has its fair share of carb-phobes, which is a good thing, really: that just means more bread for the rest of us. From soft potato bread and eggy challah to hearty pecan raisin loaves and beautiful baguettes, here are our favorites, in no particular order. Butter optional.
? Black Bread at Red Bread ($10)
Rose Lawrence's hearty, molasses-hued bread is fermented with a natural leaven and dusted with fennel and caraway seeds. If you tend to shy away from dark breads, you'll want to try this one. It trumps any pumpernickel we've tasted.
? Honey Rye Loaf at Republique ($8)
Walter Manzke's wife, Margarita, heads up the French bistro's stellar baking program. She uses locally-ground Grist & Toll flour for her supple bread loaves, including one kissed with a tinge of honey.
? Baguette at Bread Lounge ($3.50)
Crisp and bronzed outside with a soft-as-silk interior, these baguettes are textbook examples of superb European-style baking. Thank Ran Zimon, who left Suzanne Goin's restaurant group to open his Arts District bakery.
? Sourdough at Etchea Bakery ($4.50)
This tangy sourdough recipe predates the Gold Rush. Baked using a traditional Basque technique that dates back centuries, it's fantastic on its own, but we suppose you could fill it with clam chowder, too.
? Pecan Raisin Bread at La Brea Bakery ($6.75)
Nancy Silverton singlehandedly launched L.A.'s artisanal bread movement in the 1990s and her company is still going strong today. A slice of La Brea's pecan-raisin bread, made with local fruits and nuts, is the perfect quick breakfast.
? Whole Wheat Potato Bread at Milo and Olive ($8)
It's the best of both worlds: the sweet softness of potato bread blended with the hearty flavor of whole wheat. Baker Zoe Nathan's square-ish loaves are ideal for thick-cut sandwiches slices.
? Braided Challah at The Larder at Tavern ($8)
There is top-notch challah available everyday at the Larder, The Tavern's Brentwood bakery and café. On Fridays, they make a braided version. Tender and eggy, it looks as delightful as it tastes.
? Green Olive Loaf at Bezian Bakery ($5)
This nutrient-conscious bakery stationed at Hollywood and Santa Monica's Farmers' Market has a cult-like following. Owner Jack Bezian is charmingly gruff, but his moist, flavorful bread can make a friend of anyone.