With her Food + Lab catering company, former model turned chef Esther Linsmayer fed some of the biggest names in fashion and Hollywood. Now that she and her son Nino have opened the Food + Lab cafe, you don't need to be a model or actress to taste her Austro-Cali cuisine.
It's not your typical hole-in-the-wall neighborhood spot: Shelves brim with Dean & DeLuca products; European confections and sodas are everywhere; and, bucking the local coffee trend, it serves Julian Meinl from Vienna. There's also a patio out back surrounded by ample free parking. Bonus.
The menu reads Californian, but it's Linsmayer's Austrian influence that stands out. A bowl of homemade Bircher museli ($5.50)--oats, fresh fruits, raisins and nuts mixed with milk and whipped cream--makes a great breakfast, or at least a healthy sounding dessert. Chicken Wienerschnitzel on ciabatta ($9) with sweet lingonberry chutney is simplicity at its best. A Bavarian bratwurst ($9.50) might be a little dry, but we can't get enough of its tangy homemade sauerkraut. Side salads change daily: pick any three ($12) like creamy potato or minty edamame, and you have a hearty vegetarian meal. It's also grab-and-go nirvana, definitely one for the picnic-provisions list.
Food + Lab, 7253 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323-851-7120 or foodlabcatering.com
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