So apparently, the beginning of this week is going to be all about The Valley! Yesterday, I told you all about my favorite new shopping spots from The Village at Westfield's Topanga, and today, I can't wait to introduce you to a new Artisan Kitchen + Bakeshop, Claudine. Housed in a beautiful, modern space in Encino, Claudine is the brainchild of two veteran chefs who want to have a hand in redefining the culinary landscape of The Valley. Their focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients is evident in each California-style dish, from Turkey Chorizo Breakfast Tacos to some of the fluffiest, lightest Malted Milk Pancakes I've ever had. And of course, a good breakfast/brunch/lunch place isn't complete without Verve coffee and boozy brunch offerings, like seasonal sangria.
The space is modern and minimal, with black, white, and blue accents. The chalk-style art wall is an homage to Valley neighborhoods, while the wood details ground the space.
Their alcohol selection is surprisingly impressive, and much more extensive than you would expect from a little local brunch spot. Along with a great selection of local beers and wines on tap, they serve up creative drinks like a Sriracha Michelada, and this lemon lime sangria that was refreshing and lovely.
Their breakfast and brunch menu includes modern takes on classic favorites, like lox (cured in house) on toast. The preserved lemon cream cheese and picked shallots balance out the dish well, adding some nice citrus and acidity to the dish. A really nice light choice.
One of my favorites (seriously, I came back for it a second time), Lea's Lightened Quiche is custard made with spinach, basil, and only one egg, served with salad greens. It is so fluffy, sumptuous, moist, and flavorful; filling enough for a hearty breakfast, but light enough that you don't feel as if you're over-indulging.
Off of their lunch menu, the short rib grilled cheese (served here in little bites) is as good as any you'll find. The bread is perfectly toasted, while the short rib is tender and flavorful. The braised onions and roasted mushrooms are a nice addition.
Another great option off their lunch menu, the B.L.A.T is essentially a B.L.T. salad made with little gems, avocado, and burrata. It's really delicious, and I love that it's a substantial salad that still feels light.
Claudine serves a small selection of "Naan-Zza's," essentially Naan pizzas. The dough is crispy, but not dry, while the toppings are really flavorful and tasty.
As fabulous as the breakfast, lunch, and brunch menus are, their baked goods are not to be missed. Their chocolate chip cookies were moist and melty, while their Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats were just ridiculous. Lea, their talented baker, also makes custom cakes, which we ended up ordering for my mom's birthday over the weekend! The cake was amazing-- it was beautiful, and had a delicious caramel filling with buttercream frosting, and all of our guests loved it. My mom continued to praise Lea, saying she couldn't have been nicer or more helpful in designing the cake.