photo credit: Jakob Layman
Lodge Bread Co
If we were to just give you the facts about Lodge Bread Co., you wouldn’t expect to be blown away. It’s primarily a bakery, you order at the counter, and it’s in a part of Culver City where the only real neighbors are body shops. But if you actually go to Lodge, you’ll quickly realize the facts don’t do it any justice - this is one of the best places to eat in Los Angeles right now.
Lodge’s concept is simple: great, unfussy food, most of it involving a whole lot of extremely good bread. Until earlier this year, Lodge was a tiny daytime spot with a few different toasts, some pastries, and a very popular Sunday night pizza operation. But an expansion into the space next door has turned it into the thing it always should have been: an all-day spot that’s more about the food than anything else, and the kind of place where you could eat once a week and still not get bored.
So what exactly should you be eating? Basically anything, as long as your order involves the pizza that’s coming out of the wood-fired oven in the corner of the shop. The dough here is soft, chewy, and sourdough-y, and the toppings are always changing. Any of the salads are a good move too (we’re in a committed relationship with the romanesco), and the hummus and pita is addictive. Not only are the cinnamon rolls the size of a not-small baby’s head, they’re a legitimate tourist attraction way more satisfying than hunting for the Hollywood sign.
We’re not going to pretend that Lodge is perfect for any and all occasions. You probably don’t want to come here on a first date, or with your mother-in-law who hasn’t ingested a carb since 1996. But Lodge is one of those places that you’ll keep making up excuses to go back to because you can’t get that cinnamon roll out of your head. And you just can’t explain away complicated midday fantasies about cinnamon rolls with facts.
Sprouted Rye and Cured Fish Toast
This is a plate of some of our favorite things: bread that’s so full of seeds that it’s definitely good for you, smoked salmon, pickled vegetables, yogurt, and a cured fish spread that will leave you shook.
Get this. The romanesco spent some time hanging out in that wood-fired oven, and it comes with chermoula, tahina, and raisins, and once this salad is on the table in front of us, we are unable to think about anything else until it’s gone.
Hummus and Pita
You could say this was just hummus and pita, but then you’d be missing the point.
Ordering a pizza at Lodge is mandatory - the only issue is which one to choose. We tend to lean towards the white options - the four cheese is one of the best in the city, and the mushroom is hard to skip. The margarita has a tendency to get a little soggy, but somehow is still great.
Want to know what it feels like to be a famous person? Just order this enormous pillow of yeasty dough, cinnamon, and frosting. It is guaranteed to attract a crowd of people asking “what is that?” and “can I take a photo of it?” and “is it cool if I can get an autograph?.” Things get weird when the cinnamon buns come out.
If you don’t think a meal counts as breakfast if it doesn’t involve eggs, this is your move. The tomato base is the exact right level of spicy, and the egg is perfectly poached and runny.
This is the one thing we’ve had at Lodge that we don’t need to have again (and again and again). It’s enormous, in the “how do I actually tackle this thing?” kind of way and the filling of roasted cauliflower, pickled vegetables, and tahina just isn’t that exciting.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have no idea how they make this simple green salad so ridiculously good. It might be the buttermilk ranch, it could be the crunchy dehydrated onions, but we suspect it has something to do with the cheese-to-everything else ratio.