*Originally published on Pasadena Magazine.
(photo courtesy of Annie Kikuchi Yoshimura)
Standing the test of time is particularly difficult in the restaurant industry. There is a certain art to keeping dishes consistently solid and alluring beyond any current food trend, especially in the passionate L.A. foodie kingdom. That being noted, we now happily direct you to the Atwater Village standout Canelé, which just turned seven years old. It’s a reliable favorite on the ever-changing Eastside culinary scene for its simple yet sophisticated French-meets-Cali menu, focusing entirely on the best possible farmers’ market produce, meats and fish whose freshness you’ll notice at first bite. Stop in and have a seat at the communal table right by the front window, where comforting dishes like brandade–a hearty dip of sorts made from shredded salted cod and silky potatoes served with toasted bread to smear it on–and a bitter dandelion salad will be heavenly with a glass of Garnacha and a good date. If you make it in during the weekday happy hour, these two items and all the other equally appealing appetizers and wines are half off. Stay for dinner and have some of the ultra-fresh seared market fish, caught locally by a Canelé customer-turned-fishmonger, and then you might as well do dessert: housemade salted caramel ice cream with flourless chocolate cake. No matter what, make sure you save a tiny bit of space for the complimentary namesake canelé custardy cookie given to you on your way out.