Our clan is a good fit for Urban Plates and Lyfe Kitchen – much like the two fast-casual restaurants are well-suited for the health conscious, entrepreneurial residents they serve at The Runway mixed-use complex at Playa Vista.
Ordering, paying, grabbing a table, digging into your savory food, and splitting as soon as you’re done is a great set-up that is growing in appeal for me (there’s also Hop Doddy Burger Bar just a half block down from these two spots that utilizes the same approach). Urban Plates has various stations where you slide your tray cafeteria-style and watch the cook prepare hand-tossed salads, hand-carved sandwiches, flatbreads and other various comfort foods. Like Hop Doddy we’ve been here twice and chose communal high-top tables for our size group, sampling each other’s dinners both times: Moroccan Chicken Braise, Asian Chicken Salad, BBQ Turkey Meatloaf, Margherita Pizzette, mac & cheese and an Urban Kids Plate with grilled steak, one hot or cold side and a chargrilled focaccia.
And it was 10 enthusiastic thumbs up for Lyfe Kitchen, where the food and drink is a bit more organic. Co-owned by Top Chef Masters alum Art Smith (we tried LK for the first time at its Culver City location), my Faye’s Grilled Cheese ranks up there with one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve had, with its house-made pimento cheese, thinly sliced tomato, arugula and sprinkled with parmesan (459 calories/620 mg sodium); at six bucks, this was a good value so I went for the sweet potato fries on the side for $2 more. A varied menu features everything from “Shareables” like Spicy Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps and an Edamame Hummus Plate to “Handhelds & Sides” like Mahi Fish Tacos and Roasted Brussels & Squash. “Little Lyfers” can choose from a handful of dishes including pancakes and “Unfried Chicken Strips.”
Longtime family friend and former neighbor Sheba texted me this screensaver-worthy shot
from an annual hiking holiday with friends: while it may look and sound a bit like the
Palos Verdes Peninsula here in SoCal, it’s actually The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region known for its sunny Mediterranean climate, beaches and golf resorts.
Talk about a place that has it all – inventive food, excellent service, laid-back atmosphere, hip local vibe – Superba Food+Bread (yes I’m about to go there) is superb-a.
We took Irene here for an early breakfast to kick off her festivities-filled Mother’s Day and it was a hit from start to finish: service was spot-on and our server gifted Irene with a house-made bag of granola to mark the special day at the end of the meal.
All of our uniquely-conceived dishes were equally delicious, including a Croque Madame featuring the sunnyside egg set into the top of the bread and boasting a smoked ham, gruyere and tomato bechamel mix, and a “Hangtown Fry” with soft scrambled eggs, mushrooms, onions, bacon, potatoes, chilis and a crispy oyster.
We sat at a corner banquette (the space is divided into indoor/outdoor dining areas separated by a garage door) with an outward view of all the action going on under the high, exposed-beam ceiling; for guests on the go, there’s a baked goods-filled case along the south side of the restaurant where they can quickly choose a baked-on-premises item, grab a cup of coffee and park themselves at communal seating in the front instead of getting table service.
Locals from the neighboring sidestreets must love walking over to this cool spot (there’s also another location at The Point in El Segundo).