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A small boutique-y food thing that actually gives a crap

Thi N. Mar 9, 2010 03:29 PM

Oaks Gourmet Market: corner of Franklin and Bronson. It's on my block. When it came, I was like, "Great, another expensive waste of space."

Most places that look like this end up being heinously irritating. This is a small place, with a bit of a wine selection, a beer selection, a pastry selection, a little meat counter, a little cheese counter. Most of the times, in Los Angeles, a place like this ends up being hideously overpriced, full of crap. In LA, most of the great places are super-specialists. The Italian wine specialist. The scotch specialist. The cheese specialist. The generalists in little stores tend to be wallet-gouging opportunists.

But: weirdest of all weird: Oaks Gourmet Market, on that little hipster-satellite-annex (sort of an hipster-moon floating at near-escape-velocity from Los Feliz) of Franklin Village - is fantastic. FANTASTIC.

Their beers: they know their stuff. They have Russian River. RUSSIAN RIVER! Not always, but often. And not just Pliney the Elder - sometimes they have Damnation and stuff like that. They have Allagash. Lots of Allagash! Not just the usual stuff, but lots of little production numbers and rarities. You can ask the beer guy for a recommendation and he nails it! They have weird Japanese beers. My friend spotted a Japanese hazulnet beer with a picture of an owl on it and freaked out - she was like, "I love this and I haven't seen it in years!"

The beer selection actually rivals places like Beverage Warehouse and Wine House. (Wine House may have *more* beers, but Oaks' selection is better-curated - consistently great, and full of totally weird stuff I haven't seen.)

Their pastries are great! They sometimes carry Cakemonkey! They have nice cheeses! It is way more great than I could have expected! Hooray!

Only weakness: boring liquor selection. I can't speak to the wine selection, because I'm poor.

This is probably not worth a long-drive - they're a little more of the a-little-of-everything for the locals, then a world-spanning specialist. But who knows - maybe for the beer selection? I've definitely found things there occasionally that I've looked for and haven't found anywhere else in Los Angeles.

-thi

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  1. Chandavkl RE: Thi N. Mar 9, 2010 05:35 PM

    Thanks for the update. I drive by there twice a day to and from work and based on other board comments it didn't seem like it was especially noteworthy.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chandavkl
      Thi N. RE: Chandavkl Mar 9, 2010 05:54 PM

      It may not be strong evenly, but There Are Treasures - far more than expected.

      Certainly worth it if you live near there or are passing by. Esp. for weirdo-beer-o-philes.

      1. re: Chandavkl
        Thi N. RE: Chandavkl Mar 9, 2010 06:11 PM

        Caveat: my view of this place may be slanted by the fact that I'm beer-oriented and not wine-oriented at this (poverty-stricken) stage in my life.

        But: Russian River and Cakemonkey (occasionally)! One-stop-shopping bliss!

        By the way - no place I've seen carries Cakemonkey regularly. Anybody know if this is a supply-side problem?

        1. re: Thi N.
          sku RE: Thi N. Mar 9, 2010 06:24 PM

          Silverlake Wine Shop always seems to have CakeMonkey.

          1. re: sku
            Thi N. RE: sku Mar 9, 2010 06:32 PM

            Oh right - forgot about them. Yup, they do. They were the First Supplier, so maybe they have special dibs. But Oak, Intelligentsia Venice, and the one other place that now slips my mind - it's always like one-out-of-three times.

            Or maybe I'm just supremely unlucky.

            1. re: Thi N.
              Peripatetic RE: Thi N. Mar 9, 2010 07:17 PM

              The La Brea Umami Burger carried Cake Monkey, though I haven't been back in a while. I haven't noticed if the Los Feliz one does.

      2. Peripatetic RE: Thi N. Mar 9, 2010 06:00 PM

        Thanks, it sounds great! I'd written it off as another useless place like Locali.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Peripatetic
          Thi N. RE: Peripatetic Mar 9, 2010 06:12 PM

          Locali: exactly what I was talking about above, re: most-places-that-look-like-this-are-the-crappers.

          Somebody I trust told me their sausages and sandwiches are quite good, but I have not had myself. For some reason.

          1. re: Thi N.
            m
            mc michael RE: Thi N. Mar 9, 2010 07:11 PM

            IIRC, their burger got trashed on A Hamburger Today. Not that that site has thefinal word on burgers.

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