The Gourmet Italian Market Of Our Dreams

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One of our favorite gourmet shops is Bay Cities Italian Bakery and Deli. It’s been an institution in Santa Monica since 1925, serving freshly made Italian food and groceries and it just keeps getting better.

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The deli is always our first stop because there is usually a wait.  We grab a number and peruse the hot and cold delights overflowing the cases.

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The electronic menu on the wall lists sandwiches they prepare on the spot, that are some of the tasties in Los Angeles.

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Like most of LA we can’t get enough of the godmother, a harmonious marriage of Genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto and provolone cheese on a chewy roll.  We like ours spicy and with the works which includes lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard and a hot, crunchy, pepper relish.

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The combination of spicy heat on the tongue is soothed by he smooth and creamy mayo and hearty deli meats. The godmother definitely ranks as one of Los Angeles’ best sandwiches.

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But Bay Cities is a lot more than a sandwich shop. Refrigerated cases display  imported European butters, gourmet items and prepakaged ready to go Italian meatballs, entrees and sauces.

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While aisles of dried, canned, jared and prepackaged imported and locally produced items can keep us wandering these halls for hours.

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The cheese section alone is a party waiting to happen.

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And an outdoor seating area is the perfect spot for a quick lunch.

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For some of the cities best Italian entrees and sandwiches plus all the paraphernalia one could need for lunch, dinner or a well stocked cocktail party, Bay Cities is our one stop shop.

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery, 1517 Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Phone – 310-395-8279          web site – baycitiesitaliandeli.com

European Bakery and Persian Kitchen Not To Miss

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We were drawn inside by the smell of fresh baking pastries and taken aback by the beautiful assortment of sweets and the Persian menu on the wall. Down the little alley off Robertson, a European bakery and Persian restaurant named La Maison de Creme Bakery is also, according to the sign out front, called Tehran Restaurant.  No matter what you call it, definite do call on it.

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The minuscule patisserie reminds us of specialty shops we’ve found on our global adventures. Simply saunter down the enchanting walkway, illuminated by the warm glow of bakery lights to find the restaurant staffed by a charming couple happy to offer heartwarming hospitality in the sugar and butter scented space. Homemade jams, pickled garlic and other in house crafted specialties line the case.

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There are only three tables inside and a couple more out front, this is an intimate venue for a cozy lunch, dinner or to order take out.

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We requested a sampling of salads and they were happy to oblige. Their baba ghanoush is smooth, mashed eggplant and tahini, heavily laden with garlic and herbs. While the light and enlivening tabouli is a well balanced mix of parsley, tomato, green onion and bulgur.

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Masto khiar blends a sour, tangy yogurt with cucumber, spices and garlic for a cooling palate refresher.

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The well done falafel are crisp and slightly scented with cinnamon, a nice addition to the mix of spices in the garbanzo patties drizzled with tahini.

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Number 1 on the kabob menu is the chicken.  Tender, juicy, marinated white meat chunks of poultry are savory wonders served with perfectly cooked, supremely light and fluffy, buttery, citrus scented rice.  This rice is a marvel we fell immediately in love with.  A fresh salad dressed with cilantro and lime salad dressing completes the perfect plate and at $9.99 satisfies every requirement we have for a gratifying meal.

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Since La Maison de Creme is a bakery it would be a shame to leave without sampling the Persian influenced European delights.  We started with a French macaroon that conceals a heavy smear of almond paste elevating the crumbly, sweet cookie to a heightened exotic level of pleasure.

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The creme puffs, another French phenomena, are light and airy dough puffed to its highest point.

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Then it’s filled with sweet, creamy, rose water tinged, in-house made creme. It’s just two bites, but what eye rolling bites they are.

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For an entrancing little lunch/dinner spot with freshly prepared entries and high quality desserts, all at prices that are easy to manage, La Maison de Creme Bakery is one easy to miss spot, not to miss.

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La Maison de Creme Bakery, 265 South Robertson Boulevard, Ste 3, Beverly Hills, CA 90211                    Phone – 310-855-7290