Yesterday, I played hookey from public service and instead met a colleague for lunch at The City Bakery, located at the Brentwood Country Mart on 26th Street near the corner of San Vicente Blvd. We were not alone. The place was packed with kids and adults. That’s fitting, since the Brentwood Country Mart is one of the quaintest places I have seen in the Los Angeles area.
The Mart’s red and white barnlike structures, which always seem to be freshly painted, date back to 1948, and house a number of shops and eateries. Diners can choose between the upscale City Bakery and its more pedestrian neighbors, which include the popular Reddi Chik, as well as a taqueria and a burger joint. Two courtyards flanking the Bakery provide picnic table seating. In one of the courtyards are well-used mechanical horses. Around the courtyards and along the narrow walkways are numerous shops, ranging from the old timey Edelweiss Chocolates and Country Mart Shoe Repair to the more mod Selima et Benjamin Optique and Turpan design shop.
The place might not be a hit with the bloggers. It’s not especially hip. It’s not ironic. Emo kids don’t line up at 2 a.m. for cake and coffee. I don’t care. You can keep your hip hot dog stands, your sterile shopping malls and their plasticized neon-lit food courts. The Brentwood Country Mart is one of my favorite places in the Los Angeles area. It’s so quaint, it should have Santa and the Easter Bunny show up for the kids. Wait, it does.