Sweetbreads! I need sweetbreads!
I was just up in San Louis Obispo for the Vintner's festival and attended an open house at Saucelito Canyon Winery where a company that makes sausages (Ray's Own Brand) was not only grilling up their different varieties of sausages but was also grilling up sweetbreads. Where in Los Angeles can we find sweetbreads?
Last time I was there, they had a fabulous sweetbread appetizer on the menu at Spago. Not sure if it was a regular menu item or a special, however.
Bistro K, Pasadena
The Dining Room at Pasadena Ritz Carleton
Pacific Dining Car (awhile back)
Mimosa (awhile back)
as you can tell, I love the stuff!
I would inquire when making reservations, since it may not be a regular item.
The word "sweetbread" is first attested in the 16th century, but the etymology of the name is unclear. "Sweet" is perhaps used since the thymus is sweet and rich-tasting, as opposed to savory-tasting muscle flesh. "Bread" may come from brede, "roasted meat" or from the Old English brǣd ("flesh" or "meat").
Sona had sweetbreads as an appetizer a while back and they were excellent. First time I tried them though, so I don't have any standard for comparison.
Being a major sweetbread fan myself, I've found very good dishes at:
Cafe' Pierre - Manhattan Beach - one of their specialities
Le Petit Chateau - North Hollywood - one of their specialities
La Parisienne - Monrovia - one of their specialities
Le Petit Bistro - West Hollywood (often but not always)
Le Petit Cafe' - Santa Monica (often but not always)
Sona - West Hollywood - appetizer
Just had'em at La Parisienne. They were okay, though hardly worth putting up with the combination of pretentiousness, inattentive service, and underachievement in the cooking department. Oh, and not cheap, either.
Though I have not tried the ones at La Vie in Rosemead, my French maman-in-law gets them just about every time we all go there, which oughta tell us something. That place is also almost totally devoid of stuffiness, though it is formal in a friendly sort of way, and the prices are friendly as well. French food by a classically trained Vietnamese chef.
As for Le Petit Café, I'd love to try the sweetbreads there, just to have an excuse to go back!