Here's a real work-in-progress for an aspiring bake chef. Red Bread is a very recently opened bakery/food counter/market located on Washington in the somewhat vague Culver City/Marina del Rey area that principles itself on local, seasonal and organic foods and ingredients. The owners have deep roots in social justice at a global level, but that's a another story better told by them. It's run by a young couple who first started out baking bread and other baked goods that were (and still are) delivered locally in parts of the Westside via an electric bicycle (I believe that is in its third iteration) - talk about local. Their bread starter is from a wild yeast derived from the 90291 area, which is used to ferment their locally sourced wheat. Aside from the benefits from this time-consuming process, the bread and other goods benefit from this because they taste great. Red Bread's retail unit is in its infancy so one can expect some growing pains. But being that this young energetic couple is smart, conscionable and creative, I can only expect great things from them.
Upon hearing about Red Bread opening up a retail counter, I greatly anticipated getting their cookies. I was fortunate enough to be gifted some of their cracked oatmeal chocolate cookies during the holidays - the best cookies I recall having in my past recollection - these never left my mind. But upon walking in and seeing what they had on their brief menu board, I saw it truly was seasonally inspired so we decided to have lunch. We had the bacon/tomato tartine, quiche with the same bacon and panzanella. The bread was very hearty, toothsome and delicious. The produce was fresh and flavorful, but the house-made bacon - holy pigs from heaven! This bacon is what bacon lovers dream of. Thick, smokey, with a slight sweetness and a not too crispy bite - al dente bacon-style? And the fat, as described by David (the husband), "is so silky like no other pork I tried (for making his bacon)." No sinewy edge of gristly fat here. It was rendered just to a point so as to not be cloyingly fatty, yet just enough fattiness to meld in with the meaty portion of bacon while eating to pronounce its flavors and pleasantly play the smoke, sweet and savory on the tongue. This came with a side of house made pickled asparagus which was a perfect counter to the tartine.
The quiche was a piece of mastery as well. Fluffy and flavorful, with bits of that killer bacon, and plump cherry tomatoes, encased in a buttery flakey crust. A side of flavorful apricot compote came with the quiche.
The panzanella was made up of fresh greens, tomatoes and substantial chunks of their signature bread, all minimally seasoned with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. While I enjoyed this as well, the bacon gestalt that came to being from the other two dishes made me feel this was an option for the meat-averse. Though it was still worthy of ordering as a salad to split between the two of us.
Their cracked oatmeal chocolate cookies are what I originally came for and got - so darned good - I'm not sharing unless you beg. But they now have a new cookie added to their line up: Almond butter with apricot jam. It's like a giant thumbprint cookie with a dollop of house-made apricot (I can't remember the full name) jam on it. Red Bread's cracked oatmeal chocolate cookie was on LA Weekly's Squid Ink as the number one cookie.
I know many here say F#@$ lists, but if this fits your profile of likeable cookies, give it a shot. And that bacon is worthy of a trip all unto itself.