Recently, on a Saturday morning, I had my yearly dentist appointment. Though I like my dentist, and I knew this was just a routine appointment, I didn’t want to go by myself, so I tried to figure out a way to bribe my husband to go with me. I told him that if he was willing to get up in the morning and go to the appointment with me, we could go out to brunch together afterward. That bribe did the trick. I had a specific restaurant in mind for breakfast, but before I could even voice my opinion, my husband mentioned to me that he wanted to go to the same place. Bingo! It was interesting to me that my husband mentioned this place because he’d never been before. Located in Downtown LA, it was a place I was familiar with because when I used to work Downtown, I’d been to the patisserie a few times to pick up some sweets. I had known that this place had a restaurant and a café as well, but I’d never lingered long enough to try them out. And then eventually, I didn’t work in Downtown anymore, and never really thought about the place. That is, until I remember seeing a friend of mine on Instagram post pictures from a brunch she had at the restaurant. The food looked so good, and somehow that stuck with me. So, when I was thinking about brunch and I knew we’d be in the area of Downtown LA, I immediately thought of this place. My husband, well, I guess he had heard his co-worker talk about having been to this place to eat and how good the food was. This friend of mine on Instagram, she’s also a friend of my husband’s, so my husband remembered seeing the same pictures as well and had been curious enough to want to try this place.
Bottega Louie, a café, restaurant and patisserie located right in the heart of Downtown LA. Not the type of swanky, hip place you’d expect in Downtown, in a neighborhood that hardly has any other restaurants or eateries quite like it. Opened 7 or 8 years ago, Bottega Louie has been a hit since the day it opened. The patisserie may be what draws in clients, but the café is always buzzing, always busy with people who grab their pastries and a cup of gourmet coffee and linger for a few minutes at the tables. And the restaurant, it’s huge and spacious and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With an open kitchen, and serving a wide-away of homemade, handmade classics, it’s not hard to understand why Bottega Louie is so popular.
As it was brunch, I found myself wanting to sample some of their gourmet coffee drinks. However, their menu also offered a wide array of fresh squeezed fruit drinks which I wanted to try as well. I warred with myself, but eventually, the need for some caffeine won over and I ordered a café latte. Ok, so I snapped this photo a little too late as the frothy milk leaf design on the top of my latter isn’t quite so visible. But the latte itself, that was terrific. Strong, hot and definitely made from a gourmet coffee machine.
To start our brunch, my husband wanted to get an order of beignets served with raspberry compote. One order came with 4 beignets, so we figured we could split it and each have two of them. The beignets came out looking like these white fluffy pillows all dusted in fine granulated sugar and served with a little bowl of fresh raspberry compote. And pillows probably the most accurate word to describe these beignets. Fresh, and hot out of the fryer, these were amazing. The insides were so airy and soft and warm and yeasty. And the outside was perfectly fried and crunchy with the sweetness added from the sugar. The berry compote provided a refreshing contrast as it gave a nice tangy bite and you could tell it had been made with fresh raspberries. My husband said that these were the best beignets he’d ever had.
I debated what I should order for brunch, as I’m really more of a lunch person than a breakfast person. But, when we were at the restaurant, it really was more breakfast time than lunch time, so I opted for a heavy breakfast of steak & eggs. Center cut New York steak cooked to order with two eggs any way you want served with roasted potatoes and grilled tomatoes. Everything about this plate calls out to me. The steak was well cooked and flavorful. I ordered my eggs over easy so that I could have all that runny egg yolk. The eggs were perfectly cooked. The roasted tomatoes added a nice touch of acidity, and the roasted potatoes with peppers and onions were so flavorful and terrific. Needless to say, I loved this meal and ended up eating every last bit of food off of my plate. What would have made this plate perfect would have been a piece of toast to help soak up all of the yummy egg yolk.
No surprise to me, my husband ordered the eggs benedict for brunch. Served with poached eggs, Canadian bacon, spinach and hollandaise sauce all atop an English muffin my husband fell in after the first bite. My husband is a sucker for eggs benedict, but he particularly loved this eggs benedict as he said that Bottega Louie’s hollandaise sauce was the best hollandaise sauce he’d ever tasted. He really liked the flavor combination of the eggs benedict and I swear he inhaled his breakfast. Of course, I’m not sure he touched any of the fancy side salad that came with his meal at all.
Alright, so this may have been brunch, but when our waitress asked us about dessert, we were so tempted we just had to get something to split between the two of us. In the end, this was actually the only meal that we had on this day, so it was ok to have dessert with our brunch. After a bit of a debate, my husband and I settled on the butterscotch budino with butterscotch custard, fleur de sel, candied almonds & Chantilly whipped cream all served with a salted caramel macaron. First off, one of the things that Bottega Louie is known for is their macarons, and this salted caramel macaron did not disappoint. It paired perfectly with the butterscotch budino, but even on it’s own, the macaron was heavenly. It was crispy and light on the outside and the salted caramel filling on the inside had just the hint of salty that you want. The butterscotch budino was out of this world good. It’s probably the best butterscotch item I’ve ever tasted. The custard wasn’t too sweet and hit the perfect butterscotch notes. The fleur de sel sprinkled over the top was just the right touch. The candied almonds added texture, crunch and a hint of sweet flavor and the Chantilly whipped cream combined with the custard was heavenly. This is definitely one of those deserts that you remember for a long time, which for me was quite surprising because I never expected it to be this good!
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that Bottega Louie is more than just a café & restaurant, it’s actually a patisserie as well. It’s the patisserie that I always used to visit when I was working in Downtown LA. And it’s the patisserie that enticed my husband and I to take home a few goodies before we walked out of the restaurant at the end of our brunch. There was a wonderful selection of breads and cookies to choose from. How can you resist items such as pain au formage, ham & cheese croissants, cookies, coconut rocher, demi baguettes, croissants, and my personal favorite, chocolate croissants. But, having just had brunch, we refrained from the breads.
The next display case had a gorgeous display of cakes to take home and enjoy. Look at those! Don’t they just make your mouth water. There’s le dome, cheesecake, grand dacquoise, grand macaron and fruit tart. The fresh fruit topping the fruit tart looked so spectacular that you just wanted to gobble up the whole thing. And look at that vanilla grand macaron with the fresh raspberries.
If large cakes weren’t your thing, there was also a selection of petite pastries to choose from. There’s chocolate and vanilla petit grand macarons, petit le dome, peanut butter terrine, white chocolate princess cake, verrines, and pistache gelee. These petite pastries and cakes made you just want to buy one of everything. They were so colorful and looked so delicious.
But there was more! How about opera cake, or frangipane? Or what about the chocolate and raspberry saint amour, that really caught my eye, and I’m not that big of a raspberry fan. Admittedly, some of these names were a bit over the top and it was hard to tell what was what, though my eye didn’t have a problem distinguishing what it wanted and using the “point at what you want” method of ordering sweets! But alas, we refrained from any pastries as well, because what we really wanted were some macarons!
At the front of patisserie, right when you walk through the front door, you’re bombarded by a rainbow colors – a rainbow of macarons, actually. Artfully arranged, these little 2-bite macarons just call out to you to take them home. And with 14 different flavors to choose from, its hard not to be tempted. Let’s run through the flavors. There’s coconut made with Valrhona white chocolate & Thai coconut ganache, mango with Valrhona white chocolate & mango ganache, praline with praline buttercream with fresh Valencia orange zest, strawberry with strawberry buttercream & candied strawberries, vanilla with Tahitian vanilla infused with white chocolate, violet cassis with violet buttercream & cassis ganache, salted caramel with salted caramel & milk chocolate ganache, earl grey with early grey infused milk chocolate ganache, raspberry with dark chocolate ganache & raspberry jam, pistachio with Sicilian pistachios & white chocolate ganache, grand cru with dark chocolate ganache, lemon with citrus buttercream, espresso with coffee ganache, and finally rose with rose buttercream. Tell me there isn’t a flavor out of those 14 that you don’t think you couldn’t fall in love with. Exactly, there isn’t. And because of that, ultimately, my husband and I walked a way with a box of 5 macarons. Believe me, they were devoured shortly after we got home that day.
As my husband and I were driving home, we said to each other that we couldn’t believe that we’d never been to Bottega Louie before, or that it had never come up before. The fact that it took my husband and I both seeing Instagram pictures posted by a co-worker of his, and for him to hear her talking about Bottega Louie that it even came up as a thought in our minds that we should give it a try. I guess it’s understandable in the fact that we don’t really find ourselves heading to Downtown LA to eat (read, never), so then why would we have ever thought to make a special trip out to Downtown LA? But, now that we’ve been to Bottega Louie, I can see my husband and I coming up with “excuses” to head that way just so we can eat at Bottega Louie again, and maybe stop at the patisserie and come home with a box of macarons as well!