Say bonjour to ChouChou Cafe. Since Chef/Owner Thomas Sandi opened this sweet little spot in Santa Monica last May, he has engendered quite a loyal following. Chef Thomas creates authentic and scrumptious French fare, including delectable croissants and baguettes, breakfast items, quiche, hot and cold sandwiches, and salads, along with an extraordinary array of desserts. If the decadent treats look familiar, they should, since Chef Thomas has been supplying desserts to many of the top restaurants and hotels in Los Angeles for the past 17 years.
The stellar pastries include the chocolate opera cake, Napoleons, chocolate eclairs, tartes (lemon meringue, baked apple, baked pear and organic fruit), mousse (banana, red berry, butterscotch and mango), tiramisu, cookies and macarons. They taste as good as they look—and they look like works of art—thanks to Chef Thomas’ definitive culinary talent and devotion to top-drawer ingredients, including butter and flour imported from France, cage-free eggs and nothing with preservatives or GMOs. There are also sugar-free and gluten-free options, as well as non-dairy sorbet and gelato. You can even order swanky customized cakes for special occasions, ranging from birthdays and baby showers to weddings.
Breakfast is served all day, so you can indulge in Provencal French toast, French waffles, eggs Benedict and fluffy omelettes (Greek, turkey, sausage and cheese, and ham and cheese). Plenty of delicious dishes for lunch through early dinner include sandwiches, from the Croque Monsieur to the grilled chicken pesto, Quiche Lorraine and spiffy salads (the Nicoise is the most popular, but the Caesar with chicken is also quite tasty). Chef Thomas’ house-cured salmon is truly sublime and is served with a sliced baguette, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes and onions. The feather-light crepes (including strawberry, nutella and banana, and chicken and mushroom) are also superb.
Guests can also order from a nice selection of beverages, including Verve coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, mocha and iced coffee, fresh fruit and vegetable juices and organic teas.
Open daily, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
313 Wilshire Blvd (between 3rd and 4th), Santa Monica
310.395.3101 | ChouChouParis.com
À Votre Sante
This year, 2017, marks the 30th year in the same location for Brentwood’s cherished À Votre Sante. The restaurant’s longevity and continued popularity stems from Executive Chef and Co-Owner Bashar Molem and Co-Owner Kevork “Coco” Artin’s dedication to serving healthy, delicious food comprised of high-quality ingredients. Even the name of their eatery, À Votre Sante, means “to your health” in French.
AVS boasts an extensive menu. Flat bread pizzas, cooked in a wood-burning oven, are distinguished by organic white or whole wheat crusts—the Margherita, the porcini and portobello mushroom, and the zaater and mozzarella are swell. There are also wonderful salads (Mediterranean tuna, Asian chicken and the chopped organic kale and quinoa are faves), wraps (garden, falafel, curry and Scottish salmon), and burgers (from free-range turkey to grass-fed beef). There are even gluten-free options, such as flat breads, pasta, burger buns and rice tortillas. They also serve California grass-fed beef and lamb and have expanded their fish offerings to include seasonal wild Alaskan salmon, wild cod and halibut, and Mediterranean sea bass.
While a cadre of talented chefs, who have all been there for over 25 years (including Chefs de Cuisine Roger Cortes and Carlos Velasquez) turn out the bulk of the mouthwatering menu items from the main kitchen, gifted Chef de Cuisine Jose “Pepe” Lopez cooks divine dishes—from the dinner specials menu—in the second open kitchen. These items were also created by Chef Bashar, and Chef Pepe is expert at translating his culinary vision. Standouts include the oven-roasted Mary’s chicken breast, with wilted spinach and garbanzo beans in a tangy lemon vinaigrette; grass-fed beef short ribs with organic steel-cut oats “risotto,” mushrooms and cipollini onions; sesame-crusted Scottish salmon with a broccoli and shiitake mushroom stir-fry and a ginger citrus sauce; and crispy Idaho trout, served with roasted cauliflower and fingerling potatoes and a zaatar vinaigrette. Noteworthy starters include the oven-roasted beet salad; the sauteed cauliflower with tomato sauce, garlic, cilantro and lemon juice, topped with Greek yogurt; and the sauteed lemony spinach with garbanzo beans and olive oil.
Choose from a selection of 15 wines by the glass or 30 wines by the bottle, with a selection of vintages from California, France and Italy.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily.
À Votre Sante
13016 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood
310.451.1813 | AVotreSanteLA.com