Huckleberry was a bit of a cheat. I had brunch there the morning after E and I hit Antojitos Carmen. See, E works all day on the weekends. I work all day during the week. So, we can never have breakfast, lunch, or brunch together, hardly ever. So when my friend K wanted to get brunch in Santa Monica one Sunday, I jumped at the chance to cross Huckleberry off the list, and I figured I’d bring some pastries home for E and it would still count.
Well, the morning we went to brunch it was pouring rain, so E actually didn’t work (he works outdoors), but stayed home to do some school work. K and I wanted to catch up and have a girls’ brunch anyway. So I headed out in the rain for Santa Monica and surprisingly made it down the 10 in nearly record time, no hydroplaning. Parking around Huckleberry proved to be fairly terrible, especially in the rain, but I finally found a spot around the corner and up a block and braved the rain and wind on the walk back to the bakery. I was early, and K was running a bit late, so I waited in the front doorway for a bit. Having glanced in the window, I notice the epic line Gold mentions in his review (and was notorious on Yelp), so I figured we were OK. K texted saying she was still on her way, and I finally poked my head inside and saw that in fact there was a fairly massive line curving around in the back of the place. I got in line, standing right in front of some poor girls’ table, my ass in their faces, and waited. When K got there about 10 minutes later, the line had moved a bit, but we still had a ways to go. But we weren’t dying of hunger, and we were in no rush, so we chatted and inched along.
We probably waited about an hour in all, but it was totally worth it. When we finally got to the counter, I ordered the fried egg sandwich (even though I had spotted the soft-baked eggs Gold mentions as well, and they looked DELICIOUS) and a vanilla latte, and I got three of the pastries Gold calls out in his review: the prosciutto croissant, the maple-bacon biscuit, and some sort of cheese tart – vanilla? – which the guy behind the counter heartily recommended. K ordered the green eggs and ham and some coffee, and a $7 fruit tart, which measured about 3 inches across. We debated about her spending $7 on a tiny little fruit tart while we were waiting in line, gazing at the pastries, and even though we had agreed it was a terrible idea, that is an outrageous amount for such a little thing, when we got to the counter to order, she blurted out “and the fruit tart!” like she had Turret’s.
They have a very strict rule at Huckleberry (which is clearly marked on MANY signs posted around the place) that you cannot reserve a table until you have ordered and gotten a number. Lots of dumb people tried to grab tables while their friends were still in line, only to be shooed away by the staff. K and I managed to grab that same table that I had stood so obtrusively close to when I first came in, but it was a perfect, cozy little spot. In his review, Gold discusses how remarkable the whole system is at Huckleberry – you wait in line forever, but when it’s your turn to order and eat, there is magically a table available, here is your number, here’s your coffee, and your food quickly appears, no trouble, and everyone is nice. This is really true. I was worried while we were in line that we wouldn’t be able to sit, but in fact, when we got our numbers, there was that one tiny table waiting for us, and there was our coffee, and our food came surprisingly quickly.
First of all, let me talk about this vanilla latte. I am not a coffee person. I know good coffee when I get it, but I don’t normally drink coffee. But this particular morning, I wanted a latte, and I wanted some sugar in it. So on a whim, I ordered a vanilla latte. This thing was like a dream. It tasted like floating on a cloud. It was magic. It was amazing. I might have to drive all the way to Santa Monica from Hollywood to get one right now. It was surprisingly sweet, with not a strong coffee flavor, but not overly sweet or syrupy tasting at all. It was a perfect balance, with a lovely foam heaven on top. And of course they had drawn a design in the foam. Like a work of art.
OK, OK, the food.
That egg sandwich was GOOD. Fried egg, bacon, aioli, and arugula on some delicious, fresh-baked toast. The yolk broke immediately and got everywhere. It was awesome. I basically shoved that thing in my face because it was dripping yolk all over everything but it was fantastic. I was even dipping arugula in the yolk on my plate.
You can see K’s tiny baby fruit tart in the background there. OK, it was minuscule, and it was SEVEN DOLLARS (almost as much as my sandwich), but good lord, that thing was good. I had a bite and the custard filling was perfect, with probably the freshest, most amazing raspberries I’ve ever had. And of course it came with a little flower on top.
K enjoyed her green eggs immensely. I did not sample any.
After stuffing our faces and downing our coffee, we ducked back out into the rain, said goodbye, and I headed home with a lovely little box of pastries for E and I.
That night, as I was making dinner, I was starving because I hadn’t eaten anything since brunch. I sneaked a bite of the biscuit.
E got home and was hungry too, and had half of the croissant and some of biscuit. You can tell we were very scientific in our tasting.
After dinner, we shared the vanilla tart. Similar filling to the fruit tart – it was delicious.
The next night, I ate the other halves of the croissant and the biscuit. The biscuit was good, but the bacon didn’t necessarily mesh well with the biscuit texture, and sometimes the maple flavor was a bit overpowering. Perhaps I should have eaten it fresh, but it was just good, not great. The croissant I ate cold, which I knew I shouldn’t. I could tell it would really good warm; cold, it was fine, a little tough. Next time I’ll have to just order and eat, no messing around.
Huckleberry was a good ‘un. On the next blue moon when we are able to go out to brunch, and we are willing to trek to Santa Monica, I will definitely give the pastries a second chance, and try the soft-baked eggs. E might not like putting up with the line, but hopefully I can convince him it’s worth it.