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Happy Meal: Los Angeles

November 12, 2009

Lunch at one of my favorite places in LaLa, the Little Next Door was delicious, productive and, well, powerfully fun. Fortunately this time Speidi  and their MTV crew were nowhere in sight.


Ambiance: This  joint is a magnet for the hiperatti, especially the patio area.  It reminds me of  hundreds of outdoor cafes and charcuteries I’ve seen in France. There were starlets and music producers sitting alongside family gatherings and two ladies who appeared to be members of the local AME church. We sat next to a Meryl Streep lookalike, an American raised in Paris.  Apropos of nothing, I spotted a lot of great shoes.


My Order: A Mediterranean stew  with couscous that was off menu—it’s usually just served for dinner but I managed to get our somewhat snooty waitress to serve it up. I get it every time and it’s never disappointed. Every bite, a delight.


My lunch power partner, a movie-producing-television-directing-speaker-author-motivator-Malibu-and-Beverly-Hills-denizen. She always brings bling to her plate and on this day ordered a salmon Caesar salad.


This was Judith’s  first time here and I was so pleased that she loved it and plans to bring her hubby, especially after she found out breakfast is served until four pm.

The portions are so generous you can easily split them. I usually take home a doggie bag and I don’t have my own dog.

Service: The waitress had a bit of le  ‘tude. Too bad because every time I’ve gone in the past the waiter was terrific. She had trouble grasping the concept of  customer service including our request to mix the blood orange lemonade with a splash of soda water.

I will say that I’ve seen worse service at The Ivy.

Amuse Bouche: The Little Next Door is the little sister to the  more glamorous and expensive celebrity magnet located next door,  The Little Door (Is that you Brit Brit,  Justin, Salma, Christina?) Both serve great food in a relaxed but chic environment.

I’ve seen many restaurant pairings like this, mostly in France– and Seattle too, where you have a choice of la-ti-dah and down home versions of the same cuisine often designed by the same chef.

Why not save and savor a great meal for the price of a mid-range chain?

If you do want to splurge at The Little Door, a warning.  It’s one of those places, like the Ivy, that has no signage on the outside.

So How Did I Bring Bling To My Plate?

  • I focused just on what I wanted, the stew.

I politely requested it, even though it is not on the lunch menu.

  • I did not let my plate get bogged down with anything other than the object of my desire. No bread, no desert, no appetizers.
  • I also decided to skimp on dinner that night and that was hard because I was treated to a great homemade dish. So instead I had those leftovers for breakfast the next day.

Rating: Four and a half tines out of five. The ding is because of le ‘tude.

What’s on your plate?


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