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Dining Out: Sweetsalt might just prove good for your health

November 29, 2013|By Lisa Dupuy
  • Brownie with salt caramel at Sweetsalt Food Shop in Toluca Lake on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.
Brownie with salt caramel at Sweetsalt Food Shop in Toluca… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Looking like a fine boulangerie in southern France, Sweetsalt Food Shop is a study in white marble, pewter, vintage silverware and cafe tables. The front window is filled with footed plates piled high with beautiful macarons, bars, bundt cakes and pies. Patrons linger at sidewalk tables and families relax inside in front of plates filled with greens, sandwiches, meats and sweets. In this location for four years, Sweetsalt has become a neighborhood hangout and a top destination for cyclists.

Owner/chef Alex Eusebio is a cyclist himself and it seems his desire to stay fit informs his menu. On Friday mornings, the restaurant is a gathering spot for the Sweet Ride. Before or after the tour, Eusebio’s group of cyclist friends come together for sustenance and camaraderie. Orders can be crafted to patrons’ specific hankering of the day. If one just wants a bowl of Brussels sprouts, no problem. I saw a cyclist with a baguette slathered with avocado, something not specifically on the menu.

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There are a number of other reasons Sweetsalt has become popular. The self-serve model works well here. Ordering is done at the register. Pretty urns of water and ice tea, nice utensils and napkins are all on a self-serve table in the back. Made-to-order meals are a draw as well. Tossed salads ($5 small; $7 large) are built with your choice of gourmet greens, protein toppings including duck and salmon ($2 to $6 extra), vegetarian toppings like roasted beets, grilled corn, fennel, dried cranberries and burrata (50 cents each), and inspired dressings like truffle and pear-walnut. You could come everyday for a healthy meal and never have the same thing twice.

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