Most of my formative years were sans pere – no dad to call my own, no sleepy pop to wake up on Father’s Day with an ugly tie clumsily picked out from Macy’s sale section. Essentially, I became my own de facto father: I taught myself how to tie my own tie, throw a ball, fix the toilet, and walk with the arrogant swagger that only men are allowed to have (this was the most difficult lesson – de-genderification is a bitch). I think I’ve grown up ok. So, on Sunday, I took myself out to brunch to thank myself for doing a decent job. Happy Fatherless Day, iDad!
I wasn’t really sure where I was going when I left my house. Somehow I ended up on La Brea, briefly idling in front of Campanile. Outside, well-to-do sons in Sunday golf shirts were waiting with their proud dads. I haven’t done that great of job with myself (I still can’t kill spiders with nothing more than three squares of toilet paper and calm resolve) (my girly technique involves bunched up paper towels and frantic, breathless indecisiveness). I continued past Pink’s, site of our infamous Hot Dog Death March. It was early, but a few families already were congregating. Um, no. I didn’t do a great job with myself, but I didn’t do a bad one, either. So up I went. Ultimately, I ended up at The Farmer’s Kitchen in Hollywood, nestled quietly near Selma and Vine, right in front of the Hollywood’s Farmer’s Market.
Before The Farmer’s Kitchen opened, my Sunday Farmer’s Market ritual was to order a pupusa from Delmy’s and find a sightseeing spot to sit in what became The Farmer’s Kitchen doorway. As much as I hate to lose my seat, I’m happy to see that SEE-LA finally was able to get the place off the ground in May. This is a kitchen with a purpose: to link residents with local food. The point here is accessibility: you don’t have to eat at a restaurant in a high-rent district – and thus pay high-rent prices – in order to access farm fresh cooking. All ingredients, down to the bread, are fresh and local, and not much is over $10. The revenue generated in part supports the kitchen’s off-hours use as a classroom: SEE-LA’s “Good Cooking” programs teach participants how to prepare Whole Food-nutritious meals on 99 Ranch budgets. SEE-LA also envisions The Farmer’s Kitchen as job training site for aspiring resident chefs. This, Ms. Waters, is how the food revolution ought to be televised.
The menu is seasonal; items are based on what’s available at the markets that day or week. My breakfast options on Sunday essentially boiled down to eggs or French toast. I opted for the French toast topped with “organic plum sauce with a touch of agave nectar” ($7), a side of chicken sausage ($3), and a cup of coffee ($1.50) and sat myself outside.
I intended to do some work while I was there – Daddy’s always working! – but I eventually gave up and permitted myself to take in the market. There was a troubadour singing all sorts of oldies in Spanish. Believe you me, you haven’t heard the melancholy that is “Last Kiss” until you hear it in Spanish. Right as Troubadour segued from “Last Kiss” to “Under the Boardwalk,” my food came on a paper plate. Good timing; I would have hated to cry into my breakfast.
I was a bit dismayed to see that all I got for $3 was one sausage link, but alas. It was juicy, mild, meaty. Maybe one was all I needed. Maybe I need to teach myself to need to eat more than one sausage, like a real man’s craving.
The French toast was pretty good. With a challah bread base, the toast was crisped on the outside and softly eggy inside. The plum sauce , though, was much too sweet; either the plums at the market were exceptionally sugary this morning or someone took the “touch” of agave necter and turned it into a “shove.” In small doses, though, it was a cordial complement with the French toast. Overall, it wasn’t the best French toast I’ve ever had (the toast over at nearby Square One is better, but at $9.75 plus a few dollars for a fruit or maple syrup, it’s also considerably more expensive – a splurge in the best of times for me, anyway), but it certainly was good enough to make it worth the $7, and to sate my appetite.
The Farmer’s Kitchen is not quite a must-go destination spot, as it’s not really polished (you are eating off of paper plates, after all) or tasty enough to warrant that sort of (over)hype. But, what it is, and all it purports to be, is a handy sit-down option for Sunday market shoppers, a conduit for farmers and diners, an educational tool, and a relatively healthy lunch option for those who work in the area. Perhaps it is worthy of a special visit based purely on its successful symbolism of sustainability, access, and affordability: see, it really doesn’t have to cost $4.50 to enjoy the wonderfulness that is a farm fresh nectarine. The idea of organic food and local sourcing is so early 1990s. Cutting the class divide and making local food accessible to everyone on the totem pole is where the real food revolution ought to take place.
Afterward, I ambled out into the rest of the market and picked up the week’s worth of produce and veggies. I picked up a random call from a friend out in Echo Park – how about lunch? I grabbed some more things to make lunch, and was on my way. Thanks, me, for a nice Fatherless Day! You’re welcome! See you next year, kid. Maybe by then, you would’ve killed some spiders, eh?
The Farmer’s Kitchen
Corner of Selma and Morningside Court
Closed Mondays & Saturdays
Tu-Fr 11am – 3pm
Sun 7:30am – 2pm