Stepping into Valerie Echo Park requires an exercise in self control. The sweet aroma of freshly baked caramel croissants, tea cakes, and almond shortbread, displayed on tiered wooden trays, will incite even the strictest of dieters. Proprietor Valerie Gordon explains her new cafe, open at 11 a.m. today, as an evolution of the Valerie Confections brand, with her signature line of seasonal baked goods and new savory offerings exclusive to this location. While most sweets are prepared in-house, Gordon sources bread from Stolichnaya Bakery in West Hollywood for sandwiches that will change based on market availability. There's also a focus here on compound butters, the prosciutto sandwich comes with house pickled asparagus and lemon compound butter, meanwhile the smoked salmon tartine is smeared with a lapsang souchong butter and crushed avocado. Sandwiches are served with a house salad composed of tatsoi, red oak, dill, and mint in a lemon vinaigrette.
There seems to be a new attention to tea these days, and Gordon is offering a simple tea service, using teas to elevate meals much in the way wine is paired with food to enhance a dining experience. Gordon is especially keen on her tisane program. Patrons select a medley of fresh herbs from vases on the front counter or choose from pre-determined pairings like fennel blossom and orange or lemongrass and dried lemon, for $6 a pot. Overall Gordon wants to make tea service more approachable and less precious.
As far as coffee is concerned, the only brew on offer is $2 cups of drip made with beans from Augie's. In contrast to the many complex coffee bars sprouting around town, here customers will find a simple but high quality coffee experience.
To start, Valerie Echo Park is running 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday with expanded hours to come. Also, in about one month Valerie will roll out additional savory items and an extensive weekend brunch.
All Valerie Confections Coverage [~ELA~]