In 2012 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California was deemed the coolest block in America. During my almost 8 years in LA, Abbot Kinney has turned into a mecca of the hottest boutiques where one can find unique high end products that are not mass produced. Many of these cool one-of-a-kind American finds often come to LA from NY or come to life right here in creative LA. This street only a few blocks from the beach has also blossomed to include some of the finest dining options in the city. There are so many new restaurants with fresh California produce that is is hard to choose where to go!
Angelenos have been familiar with the Röckenwagner Bakery for over a decade. This modern clean bakery on Abbot Kinney tantalizes crowds with fresh baked goods, stunning pastries, coffee, sandwiches, and their famous authentic German pretzels (which I just saw sold at Gelsens), but did you know 3 Square Cafe sits beside it?
3 Square Cafe is part of the Röckenwagner German California family infusing and perfecting Old Country secrets with California’s seasonal bounty. Röckenwagner recently re-opened for dinner. This casual small cafe allows for indoor seating and and outdoor seating perfect for people watching.
My co-founder and I feasted on almost their entire dinner menu consisting of burgers, sandwich bites, and pies. She is vegan. I am not. This was not a problem because there is also an array of healthy choices. Who would have thought a vegan could be satisfied coming from a place that is known for its whimsical pretzel burger?
We started with a Beer Cocktail. Yes, what? Bringing back visions of Sicily with their beer and scoops of lemon gelatto, my Ginger Beer Lager ($11) consisted of ginger beer, ginger, lemon, and Gunderberg. My friend Rochelle sampled an Elvis IPA ($11) that infused her beer with a twist of pink grapefruit, vermouth, and elderflower. Both made me want to come back just to spend a day on their sidewalk drinking these creations and more, like the Porter Float.
A colorful array of beautiful vegetables in their full form greeted us as we dipped each and every one into the yogurt dip. The fresh Market Crudités was a nice start. An artfully presented fresh from the garden Vegetable Salad Romaine with Roasted Carrots, Beets, Winter Squash, and Tomato followed. My favorite Starter (perhaps not half as healthy) was the Avocado Fries with Fire Roasted Salsa. How this creation has not ended up on all menus in LA surprises me.
We stretched our stomachs as we sampled what they call Burgers, but not all burgers in the traditional sense. These “burgers’ include not only meat, but salmon, chicken, lamb, and fish. First, I had to dive into the Pretzel Burger with Melted Swiss and Caramelized Onions on a Pretzel Knot Bun to see if it was as good as was expected, and of course, it was! I devoured the whole thing as Rochelle watched me in amazement. They then presented us with a Kobe Beef “Slider” on Crisp Rice Cake “Bun” to updo the last bite.
While my LaLaScoop partner feasted on the fresh very tasty Quinoa Burger with Romesco Sauce, Spinach, Sautéed Red Bell Peppers all on a Potato Bun, I had found my favorite “Burger” bite of the night – the fish filet burger. It was so tender that it melted softly in my mouth with the flat croissant bun. I believe this was a specialty item that night. Saving room for all their pies that were staring at me nearby, I managed to take one bite of the Double Salmon Burger with Cucumber Yogurt Salad . This ‘burger’ bite was also a definite winner on a brioche bun!
Get on their email list, because they send out promotions like this one: If you buy a burger, pie is on the house! Well, we had more than one of these gorgeous looking small pies. We sampled Wild Blueberry (my favorite), Chocolate Pretzel Crust Caramel Creme with Chocolate Whip Creme, and Meyer Lemon Pie with Brown Sugar Meringue. I don’t even like lemon pie, and this won me over with its wispy meringue top. Unlike pies that just look perfect, these pies tasted perfect too.
Make room for one of their whimsical dishes at Das Beste Von Kalifornien. In keeping with their motto, they want you to feel at home in their restaurants and bakeries. We surely did. Happy and content.
Celebrate food with friends and family.
1121 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291
The master and longtime LA chef Hans Röckenwagner has a new cookbook out called DAS COOKBOOK, a modern German-Californian cookbook featuring sections on bread-making (yes, pretzel bread!), holiday treats, and bar snacks, along with the most popular recipes from his several Los Angeles restaurants, including 3 Square Cafe on famed Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Cafe Röckenwagner in Brentwood.
1121 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291
Cafe Röckenwagner – NEW in Brentwood
1168 S Barrington Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Röckenwagner Bakery Cafe – Culver City
12835 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
All photos courtesy of Melissa Curtin.