The term “pop-up” doesn’t just apply to fashion. Restaurants in cities all over the world, especially in the past couple of years, have been developing their own pop-ups. Pop-ups are tough on customers because unlike a restaurant that has central locations, we can’t always get that food again. As a customer, we have to savor that food while we can. Food trucks are probably the most popular form of a pop-up I can think of, but I’m starting to see more in actual restaurants.
I finally got around to walking the Abbot Kinney First Friday in Venice, CA last week. Abbot Kinney Blvd. was deemed “the coolest block in America” by GQ magazine in 2012 and I can see why. The mile long street has a very hip, boho-chic vibe to it. Even the buildings with expensive retailers look distressed and as if they’ve been there since the 60’s. I like this look though. It’s fun.
There was an overwhelming amount of food trucks on Abbot Kinney. I suppose I could’ve stopped at one, but I didn’t want to wait in a long line only to end up eating my food on the sidewalk. I found 3 Square Cafe + Bakery and found to be aesthetically inviting right off the bat.
3 Square Cafe + Bakery
1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
I am coining their patio “the coolest people watching spot in America”, cause it has a great view of the block.
3 Square is known for their German and Californian blended Breakfast and Lunch on the weekdays and Brunch on the weekends. During the Summer they have a dinner pop-up open Wednesday – Saturday nights 4 PM – 10 PM called Patties and Pies. As you can gather from the name, it’s all about burgers and dessert pies. It all sounded amazing and after a long walk, I was ready to kick back and chow down.
3 Square is owned by Chef/Restaurateur Hans Rockenwagner who wrote the popular cookbooks Rockenwagner and Das Cookbook: German Cooking…California Style. Hans is well known in the LA food scene for providing pretzels and other baked good to retailers like Gelson’s and Whole Foods. He’s also credited with inventing the Rockenwagner Pretzel Burger, which has been imitated by many other restaurants. I was stoked to come in on a night he was there, cause he was able to provide me with a look at their updated Patties and Pies menu starting this week (5/3/15). Foodies, it’s sehr gut.
Pictured: Avocado Fries
The avocado fries are a staple here. It’s literally a sliced avocado, battered and deep fried with a side of fire roasted salsa. I was amazed by this dish, because even though it’s deep fried, it has an unexpected freshness to it. I expect to see county fairs imitating this dish soon.
Pictured: Avocado Crostini
Yes Foodies, I was on an avocado kick that day. The avocado crostini is another longtime dish here. The toast is fresh baked, then grilled, topped with mashed avocado and watermelon radish. Simple, yet delectable.
Pictured: Grilled asparagus with leeks and romesco sauce
This is an interesting item to have on the menu, cause it’s inspired by Spanish tapas. The fresh asparagus is grilled and topped with leeks. The leeks are prepared in a similar style to Calcotada, the leeks are roasted, then topped with a romesco sauce. The romesco sauce at 3 Square is made with ground almonds, which adds a soft nuttiness to it. It still has that expected garlic and chilli kick to it.
Pictured: The Swiss Burger
Oh boy. Here we go. It’s a doozy to eat, but it’s so worth it. It’s a ground veal patty, topped with fried onion rings, bacon, hash browns, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, then smothered with a parsley aioli and that is all sandwiched in a biscuit bun. It’s bonkers. It’s also one of the best burgers I’ve ever had and now I’m wishing more places had veal patties. This burger separates 3 Square from all the other burgers on the Westside.
Pictured: Wild Blueberry Pie
It wouldn’t be Patties and Pies without a delicious pie to finish it off. The blueberry pie a la mode paired with a hot cup of their Stumptown Coffee brought out the Dale Cooper in me. The crust is flakey and buttery. The filling was packed with actual berries that maintained their flavor.
I can’t turn down a Twin Peaks reference.
Foodies, you have to stop into Patties and Pies this Summer before the pop-up goes away! Check out rockenwagner.com for more information.