Eating through L.A.’s Atwater Village

I got the text from Maddy that she wanted to go hang out somewhere. She was having a hellish time adjusting to her new job and dealing with changes at home too. She isn’t much of a Foodie like me nor is she a hipster. Well, I take that back. She was a lot like me up until a few years ago when she got married out of the blue. Considering that she wanted to escape somewhere in the confines of the Los Angeles area, I texted her back instructing her to meet me on Sunday in Atwater Village. 

I arrived early enough to find parking on one of the side streets and walked my way to Glendale Boulevard. The early morning health fanatics were jogging while some were walking and clutching dog leashes. The shops were barely opening, but from a far, it looked like the Atwater Village Farmer’s Market was in full activity. I heard music and everyone seemed to be walking that direction.

I got the text from my friend that she was making a u-turn. Then I heard a slight honk; it was Maddy waving to me as she passed by me. I watched her turn right into the side streets. A couple minutes passed, and it was another text from Maddy to tell me that she was locking her car. A minute later it was another text that she was walking towards me and a split second after that it was a telephone call to say, “I’m almost there. Oh, I see you now." 

We walked across the street to peep through the doors of the Flamenco dance classes at The Heartbeat House. It looked a lot of fun watching the students practice their routine to sexy Flamenco music.  

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Next we made it to Tacos Villa Corona; the Mexican food stand where food personality Anthony Bourdain filmed a segment of his Travel Channel show, The Layover. I encourage Maddy to get a Breakfast Burrito since she wanted to eat something simple. I gravitated to eating a lunch item; the Chicken Burrito. We managed to grab the only two chairs outside and sat at the table. The Chicken Burrito was filled with rice, some cheese, some beans and lots of the garlicky salsa. You really need three hands to eat this burrito; it’s humongous  It’s also a flavor bomb. I was so tempted to stand back in the long line again just to order another one; instead, I decided to save room for dessert. Maddy’s reaction to her Breakfast Burrito was no different than Anthony Bourdain’s, "Wow, I could eat this whole thing.”  

Maddy and I then made our way through the stalls of the Atwater Village Farmer’s Market, where we taste tested lots of seasonal fruits, sampled cheeses, and purchased produce. We also found a stall with a plethora of homemade pies. I couldn’t help, but take home a French Apple Pie.

Our next stop was at the Atwater Village Farm. It’s a quaint little corner store that’s full of gourmet surprises. They have a freshly baked artisnal breads that are made daily, a small selection of organic produce, and a ton of gourmet food stuffs that you didn’t know that you wanted.  They also have a small selection of ready made meals and some of which are vegan. I was also amazed to find that this little neighborhood store had an awesome, yet small cheese and charcuterie section. I turned to Maddy and told her that the Atwater Village Farm has all the good stuff that I need to make a gourmet picnic basket. This place is a treasure trove for foodies and the home chef.

We rummaged through Out of the Closet Thrift Shop. I noticed that they had quite a good selection of vintage clothing and furniture, but my curiosity gravitated to bookshelves. Maddy agonized out loud about how much she didn’t want to buy another, because she was completely without any space at her home. In the end, she left with a few books. I scored when I found a Chinese cooking cookbook from 1974 to add to my personal collection of cookbooks. 

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After an hour and a half of walking through Atwater Village, Maddy and I seemingly worked up a new appetite and a thirst. Coincidentally, Proof Bakery was right in front of our eyes.   

It was our first time at Proof Bakery and it was a little overwhelming when we walked through the door. I mean, there is so much going on at this bakery; it’s a constant whirlpool of walk-in traffic and dining patrons inside this tiny bakery. There were a modest selection of bakery items left, because it looked like the kitchen couldn’t keep up with the demands of the breakfast crowd. My friend and I were not able to get the fresh croissants, but we were able to grab the Blueberry Tart, a couple Caneles, and the Paris-Brest. We also got a couple cups of Cognoscenti Cappuccinos to round off our brunch.

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Shortly after we settled ourselves at a table that we shared, I noticed that one of our table companions came back with sandwiches. Miss Gen-Y recommended that we order the Beet and Goat Cheese Sandwich, because it was her favorite. I had told Maddy that the sandwiches are the same size of the ones that I would order at a bakery in Paris, except in Paris, they don’t stuff them with beets. Before the lines grew outside the doors, I decided to get back in line to grab the Beet and Goat Cheese Sandwich. Coincidentally  one of our table companions followed me in line too. He admitted that he could not help, but watch me eat the Paris-Brest so he wanted one. I uttered to him that it is one of the best Paris-Brest that I’ve had in a long time; a nice flaky pastry filled with a creamy mocha creme. It’s heavenly.

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OMG. The Beet and Goat Cheese Sandwich was to-die-for. For a vegetarian sandwich, it’s hard to believe how much it tastes so good. The sliced beets and goat cheese are a good marriage together. The French Baguette has the right amount of crust on the outside and a soft pillowy texture in the inside. The salt baked on top of the baguette just pulls everything together nicely. This sandwich was delicious.    

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Of course, it was a matter of time when my friend Maddy would speak her conscience out loud to remind herself that she’s on a diet. I completely lowered my listening volume and placed half of the decadent Chocolate Caramel Tart onto her plate. Seriously, it does not hurt to splurge every once in a while.