To kick off Birthday day, which was going to be a culinary tour de force, we went to Deus Ex Machina at the corner of Venice and Lincoln for a quick coffee and croissant (and a dandy tea for Jonny). Deus is a very image driven biker, hipster, hotspot that attracts edgy coffee fiends and the remote, work-from-home creative’s that populate Venice; you might also the same crowd at Whole Foods. Deus, for short, also happens to be a retail store for apparel, sunglasses, motorcycles, surfboards, and general Venice lifestyle accouterments.
The coffee though is actually quite good, part of the reason I like the place, the other being that the inside is completely open to a lovely patio with a long communal table and a couple of smaller tables with stools. I’m not sure how they secure it at night, but spatially it’s wonderful. I like to sit to inside and look up from my computer and outside at the day. It’s very pleasant. I usually have the Flat white, which is a traditional small Italian espresso and steamed milk brew that could be described as a small latte (piccolo latte). It is expertly executed with a delicate leaf shape design, and is creamy and light, and just the right size. I find the normal cappuccino and latte sizes to be too much sometimes/most of the time, which is probably why I rarely finish them.
We then headed over to Huckleberry Café and Bakery on Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica for some breakfast because Jonathan has been wanting to try the other endeavors of the Rustic Canyon group. It is your usual busy local breakfast-lunch spot that has loaves and loaves of fresh bread piled up behind the counter, and takes walk through orders to maintain the flow of traffic. It seems to me like a blend of Panera Bread and Le Pain Quotidien. At the counter we ordered the Cured Salmon Platter, quiche of the day, a blood orange juice, and my favorite, a San Pellegrino Limonata. The sugar content in the limonata is ridiculous, but it’s delicious. If you like real sour lemonade, or lemons if you’ve never had that, then you have to try the Limonata, but be cautioned: it is highly addictive.
The quiche of the day was so good. I was distracted and didn’t take a look at the description at the counter, but it had little cherry tomatoes and yellow pepper inside with a shredded parsley garnish on top. It was so gooey and savory, and a little sweet, and is an easy side to share or a breakfast treat you can have all to yourself. The Cured Salmon Platter, is as big as it sounds; smoked salmon, cucumber and bread slices, piled on top of a bed of arugula with cream cheese and capers on the side. If you’re a smoked salmon fanatic like me, this is a must order classic that reminds me of the Le Pain Quotidien Tartines, only DIY style. It is hard to mess up smoked salmon and cream, so needless to say it was an easy pleaser, but I did particularly like the addition of the sliced cucumbers that were especially juicy and rich. We split both plates and it was plenty, though I’m sure I could have taken care of the salmon platter alone given the opportunity. We had a full day of eats ahead though, and I at least was trying to pace myself.