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RESTAURANTS | THE FIND

Looking for lunch? So was Frank Gehry

September 06, 2006|Susan LaTempa | Times Staff Writer

PERHAPS more than one executive has looked out his or her office window and wished there was a little lunch spot just downstairs. Something for the days when there's no meeting at a fancy restaurant. Something open-air and easy. Something friendly and fast.

Not many such wishful thinkers can go ahead and say "let there be lunch," but Disney Hall architect Frank Gehry did just that.

He not only designed and built a tiny (less than 400-square-foot) food stand on the patio of the converted warehouse in the Playa Vista industrial park that houses the Gehry Partners architectural firm, but also recruited a caterer he knew to provide the food.

And the little spot painted light blue that opened in July --called Delicious -- is even furnished with Gehry-designed molded plastic patio chairs.

It's nothing ambitious food-wise, just sandwiches, salads, espresso drinks and smoothies, with sushi available three days a week and a few cookie-type desserts. But from noon to 2 p.m. there's a steady line of workers from the surrounding buildings (largely housing "creative" industries), and folks coming and going from a nearby yoga studio have taken to dropping by for lattes and a quiet chat under the beautiful sycamores that arch over the deck. It's even handy for grabbing something to eat on the plane as you're heading for LAX. (Just don't try to bring a smoothie on board!)

All the food is made off the premises at the kitchen of caterer Lisa Field(smoothies and coffee drinks are made on the spot). The stand opens at 9 a.m., but the day's delivery doesn't happen until about 10:30 a.m., so stick to coffee before that time. Sushi is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the modest nigiri combination and standard rolls are fine, fresh-tasting take-out quality.

The most substantial dish available is a simple, satisfying barbecue brisket sandwich on a roll with horseradish sauce. And there's cold mirin-glazed, pan-seared salmon served over naked cabbage slaw (most dressings are offered on the side). A bit less plain is the moist, lemon-thyme marinated grilled chicken breast over rice salad made with pecans, corn and fresh herbs.

Among the sandwiches, the generous turkey with cranberry mayonnaise is most successful; the grilled vegetables with feta on focaccia has tasty components but often seems to be soggy. Mid-afternoon snackers can loll in the sunshine with an order of pita chips and hummus or red pepper-almond dip.

So many hundreds of condos are opening up in the nearby Playa Vista area that not only office workers but residents are probably desperate for places nearby to eat. Someday there may be restaurants instead of machine shops along the stretch of Jefferson Boulevard that cuts through this neighborhood on its way to the beach.

In the meantime, Delicious fills a niche. It isn't only the Disney Halls of a city that contribute to the quality of life. Sometimes a nice place under the trees to have a sandwich or a cup of coffee will do just fine.

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susan.latempa@latimes.com

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Delicious

Location: 12531 Beatrice St., Los Angeles, (310) 821-5748, (310) 821-5806; www.delicious1.com.

Price: Main dishes, sandwiches and salads, $4 to $7; sushi, $7 to $10; desserts, $1.50 to $3.25.

Best dishes: Barbecue beef brisket, turkey sandwich, nigiri sushi combination, caramel bars.

Details: Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Major credit cards. Street parking.

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