Zoe Nathan has built something of an empire in Santa Monica. The co-owner of Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, Sweet Rose Creamery and Rustic Canyon (where her husband, Josh Loeb, is the co-chef/owner) balances her roles as restaurateur and mother.
With a brood of two children, Milo (hence the name Milo & Olive) and Tallulah, Nathan sometimes literally brings work home. "I had to do all of my testing at home...so I got to be close to my kids, " says Nathan of her recently released Huckleberry ($35) cookbook. And she has no intention of slowing down—she's opening a Southeast Asian brasserie in the neighborhood (where she and Loeb also live) with chef Bryant Ng and a wine shop next door.
When Nathan takes a breath to stop for mealtime, here's where she's eating and drinking in her 'hood.
Breakfast (With Kids)
"A lot of times breakfast is a working breakfast, so [my family and I] end up at Milo & Olive or Huckleberry. The kids eat bacon, pumpkin bread and a bagel, while [Josh and I] eat eggs with quinoa ($12.50) and he usually has a doughnut."
"Josh makes a siphon of whatever single-origin coffee he just got in the mail, and I have a small cup with a little half and half." When she's in her restaurants, she prefers house-made almond milk lattes. "We also love going to Caffe Luxxe and getting a great cup of coffee and a pastry or bread to go with it." But coffee isn't limited to breakfast. When she's not sampling Shiho Yoshikawa's seasonal specialties at their Sweet Rose Creamery, "the coffee ice cream ($4.75) or coffee milkshake ($7.50) are my classic favorites."
More Morning Spots
"Other than our places, we love Axe," says Nathan of the (okay, technically Venice) Abbot Kinney standby. "We like the simplicity and the fact that we know the ingredients are great. We generally get the breakfast brown rice bowl ($12) with whatever the local fish is and share a pancake ($12)." She continues, "Cora's is also a really fun spot for breakfast, and the staff is really sweet there." Her order: "Huevos rancheros ($11) and sometimes pancakes ($9)."
For dining a deux, Nathan opts for the beachside Blue Plate Oysterette "for a fun place to get oysters and bubbles and a good piece of fish." Or she likes a DIY dinner with front-row ocean views: "I'd also recommend a picnic. Go to Andrew's Cheese Shop and get some great cheeses, crackers and brown bag a really special bottle of wine and head to the Annenberg [Community Beach House] to nibble by the beach."
"We don't get out for drinks that often, but we do love a hotel bar. We go to the Fairmont or Casa Del Mar," says Nathan of the ocean-facing hotels. "We end up at Casa Del Mar in the afternoon, if we can start our date early, and share a bottle of champagne and homemade potato chips and watch the sunset." And if the night goes well, a sleepover is in order. "We also occasionally do a staycation and have a really nice dinner at Fig. It's so fun to sit out there and eat tacos. Even though it's a mile from our house, it feels like we're hours away."
"The Hungry Cat by the beach is fun for cocktails and raw bar food." Nathan's go-to request: "A Greyhound proper ($12) and a plate of oysters and some peel 'n' eat shrimp ($22)." When she's mixing work and play, Nathan heads to Rustic Canyon where "our bartender Aaron Ranf makes awesome drinks. The Maple Berry Smash ($13) is an all-time favorite—Johnny Drum Green Label Bourbon, fresh lemon, fresh mint, maple syrup and berries."
"We're blessed to have the most amazing market in the country here at our doorstep. We do the majority of our shopping at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market. We get the rest at the Co-op," says Nathan of the natural foods market. "It's a wonderful local market with a really good prepared-foods section, bulk dry-goods section and juice bar." She continues, "Farmshop has a really well-curated specialty market as well. And A Cut Above is a fantastic local butcher shop."
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