Farm-fresh fare isn’t what one might expect to eat in one of the nation’s largest cities, but that’s what Chef Richard Hodge at Blvd 16 knows best. While working as an executive chef in the Bay Area, he developed a strong sense of environmental responsibility, creating food from sustainable ingredients. Hodge brings all of that knowledge to Blvd 16, where guests flock for meals all day long. Breakfast kicks off with his California burrito, which is stuffed with hash browns, scrambled eggs, and avocado. Brunch sings a similar tune, though hearty salads and $1 mimosa refills join the mix. At dinnertime, Hodge fills plates with robust main courses, such as duck drizzled in pink-peppercorn vinaigrette and steak frites with thick-cut paprika fries. Because he relies on farm-sourced ingredients, Hodge sometimes has to substitute menu items or talk down the cans of Cheez Whiz that occasionally picket outside the restaurant.
The Nosh of Beverly Hills resolves East Coast–West Coast rivalry with a unique formula: it’s a blend of New York–style deli and health-conscious California diner. The result, as the restaurant’s website puts it, is “a place for people to meet and talk and nosh.” Groups gather over three meals a day, with special dietary menus and plenty of health-centric options to make everyone feel welcome. The chefs take pride in their baked goods made without the use of preservatives, their from-scratch salad dressings, and, especially, their sourcing: all meats, including free-range chicken and turkey, grass-fed burgers, and Niman Ranch roast beef, are completely free of hormones and antibiotics.
Breakfast specials kick off the morning with some lox and cream cheese on a signature bagel or a south-of-the-border treat, such as the breakfast enchiladas. At lunch, the deli serves a repast of triple-decker cold-cut sandwiches alongside a selection of melts. Those who spelunk deeper into the extensive menu will find such dinner eats as grilled salmon served on a bed of Israeli couscous, New York steak with sweet potato, and a brisket plate. This comes alongside a full slate of classic deli staples, including matzo ball soup, pastrami and corned beef, and organic house-made hummus and falafel—all washed down with organic coffee and tea. Parking at the restaurant is free after 6 p.m.
Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek and frequented by celebrity parents from Gwen Stefani to Halle Berry, Giggles N' Hugs caters to kids' boundless energy with a spacious play area alongside a restaurant that fuels little bellies with healthful fare. On the colorful play space's pirate ship, mini swashbucklers can climb rope ladders to the deck, ascend the crow's nest, or swoop down the slide to sword-fight with imaginary narwhals. Elsewhere, a lavender castle protects princesses from the wall mural's cartoon dragons, as rocking horses and a jungle gym distract the kingdom's squires. All the while, friendly staffers, certified in CPR and first aid, supervise and play with children, ensuring their safety and full engagement. The play center also sates hungry tummies of all ages with a catering menu, brimming with fresh fare and rich cupcakes. Party hosts and their guests can tuck forks into salads featuring everything from beets to barbecue chicken, or snag sandwiches and wraps such as the Asian-inspired citrus tuna wrap cradled in whole-wheat lavash. Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes fulfill everyone's sweet cravings, salvaging the party when the magician accidentally saws the cake in half.
Among the oldest ice-cream shops in the country, Carvel Ice Cream was founded in the early 1930s, when owner Thomas Carvelas borrowed $15 to begin selling ice cream from his truck. After getting a flat tire, he pulled into the parking lot of a pottery shop and began selling frozen treats from his broken-down auto. The impromptu ice-cream parlor was unexpectedly popular, and the up-and-coming youth bought the pottery shop and stayed for years.
Soon, demand for his newfangled soft serve became so high that he patented his machinery and franchised his business. Today, in an all-kosher-certified shop on sunny Rodeo Drive, friendly staffers serve the same creamy confection in hundreds of flavors. Dessert artisans decorate signature ice-cream cakes in brilliant colors and whimsical shapes, and fill ice-cream sandwiches and chocolate-dipped cones with dairy or vegan, nondairy soft-serve options. The shop's relaxing setup boasts a spacious balcony, where guests can watch sports on HDTVs or get a closer peek at the flag on the moon.
Be it on one of The Farm's breezy outdoor patios or inside its down-home Americana-themed dining rooms, patrons today come to savor the nostalgic flavors of traditional American cuisine, just as they have since 1997. With black-and-white portraits of Wisconsin farmers adorning the walls of all three locations, fresh, seasonal ingredients are the heart and soul of The Farm of Beverly Hills' menus. Organic and locally sourced products comprise dishes whenever possible, as evident in the dill-pickle fried chicken made with a free-range and organic bird, the hearty meatloaf sandwich of certified-humane Angus beef, or original tableside magic tricks performed by Miss Piggy.
Organic ingredients, kosher certification, and owner Desiree Adl-Revivo’s cupcake passion combine to create each hourly batch of Famous Cupcakes' cupcakes. More than 15 flavors, from classic to seasonal to specialty (vary daily), grace the menu. The indecisive can experiment with a sampler dozen, which includes red velvet, Va-va-va-nilla, Chocolicious, and 24-karat. Place an order online at least 45 minutes in advance. The cupcakes stay fresh for four days, can be frozen for 30 days, and keep for decades if buried underground in a styrofoam container.