Steamed or roasted, pickled or candied, beets always have that wonderful sweet, earthy flavor.
* Ammo: At the bottom of the bowl is baby arugula, then tiny French lentils, diced roasted beets, chives, bits of French goat cheese and finally toasted pumpkin seeds. The salad is lightly dressed in a delicate lemon vinaigrette. (French lentils with roasted beets, $8.) Ammo, 1155 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 871-2666.
* Philippe's The Original: The old-fashioned pickled beets at this 92-year-old landmark are about as fresh as they come. They're steamed before pickling and served within a couple of days, topped with onion slivers. (Pickled beets, $1.10.) Philippe's The Original, 1001 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, (213) 628-3781.
* Cayo: This kitchen serves steamed red, yellow and striped beets on baby greens in Sherry vinegar, olive oil and a touch of fleur de sel. They're garnished with goat cheese in a sweet caramelized crust and finished off with a puree of chervil, parsley, basil and tarragon vinegar. (Beet salad, $9.) Cayo, 39 S. El Molino St., Pasadena, (626) 396-1800.
* Gustaf Anders: Blanched baby beets are peeled (all but a bit of stem) and pickled Swedish style, in extra-strong vinegar with sugar, bay leaf, red pepper, cloves, coriander and a dash of white and black pepper. (Side of beets, $4.) Gustaf Anders, South Coast Plaza Village, 3851 Bear St., Santa Ana, (714) 668-1737.
* Campanile: The menu changes weekly, but you'll often find a beet salad. At lunch, perhaps roasted beets, chopped walnuts and chives in a shallot-mustard-horseradish dressing. At dinner, it might be roasted beets with sliced prosciutto, red onion and toasted walnuts, tossed with ma^che in a tangy lemon vinaigrette. (Roasted beets with horseradish or roasted beets and prosciutto, $15.) Campanile, 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 938-1447.
* Spago: This tower of red and white is beet slices alternating with warm herbed goat cheese. The beets are roasted in rice vinegar, sugar, rosemary and thyme; the cheese is rolled in thyme, parsley, chives and black pepper then lightly sauteed in olive oil. The stack is dressed with a hazelnut-shallot-citrus vinaigrette and topped off with toasted hazelnuts. (Roasted beets layered with warm goat cheese and citrus shallot vinaigrette, $10.) Spago, 176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 385-0880.