ESCAPE LONDON AND VISIT AMERICA – Bonjour to the Pitchoun French Bakery, Downtown Los Angeles
Bonjour and merci to the owners of Pitchoun French Bakery in downtown Los Angeles. Having lived in Paris for several years, I was eager to find a genuine French bistro that served up the traditional, perfect chocolate croissant, crepe, croque monsieur and French tartine here in Los Angeles, so many many miles from the Champs d’Elysees and I do think, ladies and gentlemen, I have at last, found it!
The authenticity of Pitchoun was a refreshing change, right from the pleasantly replicated ‘al fresco’ dining found throughout the streets of France, to the counters full of beautifully exquisite, colorful French patisserie that made your mouth water.
This modern, fresh and airy yet rustic, farmhouse-chic style café bistro is a step above the other lunch spots downtown, simply due to the attention to detail the owners have put in, to suit all their customers’ needs. You have the choice of pulling a book down from their small library and relaxing while munching on a hearty tartine (open sandwich), or simply sitting inside at a family style, long table for a quick lunch bite of healthy salad and warm, baguette sandwich. Watch out for the 25 ft wall of grass (quite a sight!), the wooden tables made from beer barrels and even the cute, orange rolling pins used as coat hooks on the wall.
This modern, fresh and airy yet rustic, farmhouse-chic style café bistro is a step above the other lunch spots downtown, simply due to the attention to detail the owners have put in, to suit all their customers’ needs.
Headed up by French husband and wife team Frédéric and Fabienne, the many staff are chatty, personal waiters with speedy service. They make sure the busy lunchtime periods are staffed well. I counted 9! just behind the serving counter. After all, who likes waiting for food when you are on a 30 minute lunch break.
For those who are thinking French cuisine is full fat and calorific, rest assured that at Pitchoun, your Los Angeles-induced healthy conscience is clear. Their emphasis is on using local farms, sustainable and organic ingredients with no GMOs or preservatives. Their meat and poultry are antibiotic, hormone and nitrate-free, the eggs are free-range and pasture-raised so you can sip on their organic beverages, coffees and teas and know the 2 hours in the gym that morning won’t go to waste by eating here. The range of the menu will deliver up tasty tingling satisfaction to even the most picky of gastronomic taste buds. Choose from cold and hot sandwiches/baguettes, crepes and waffles, sweet treats, soups and extensive salads. The Croque-Monsieur is a difficult sandwich to get right given the consistency of the béchamel sauce; sometimes too dry, sometimes too mushy. But here, I can highly recommend it. The Creole sandwich was ‘just enough’ curry taste lightened with their fresh lettuce to suit varying palates. However, I cannot but wonder why their delicious tartines are not on their online menu.
For those who are thinking French cuisine is full fat and calorific, rest assured that at Pitchoun, your Los Angeles-induced healthy conscience is clear.
You can go back time and time again to treat yourself to the huge array of patisserie (little sweet tarts, cakes, macaroons), all of which are sweet enough and yet not too sweet so you get the ‘did I really eat all that?’ feeling. So I guess being raised by his baker grandfather in France, Frédéric has inherited true French baking in his blood, by bringing the right combination of tastes and textures to his offerings.
You know it’s authentic French when you see “Orangina” in the fridge. All we need now is Gerard Depardieu (“Green Card”) or Audrey Tatou (“Amelie”) to take a seat next to you and you will forget you’re ever in L.A.
The downside to this eatery, it isn’t open yet for dinner, but I must admit I would, being a west-side girl cross the 405 to visit there again. There is so much more on the menu to try and with the ever expanding downtown nightlife, I hope to be able to visit soon for an evening treat of a true ‘steak au poivre’.
For more information, see http://pitchounbakery.com/ or visit them at 545 S Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (validated parking next door at the medical building) Phone 213.689.3240
Heart London 5 * Rating:
Suzanne, Heart London Magazine