3 Spots for Soup—Plus Exciting Newbies on the Horizon
Warm up the winter months at these local spots where healthy soup is the specialty.
- CategoryEat & Drink
- Written byKaren Young
- AboveGracefully Fed
Drive by the new Gracefully Fed in Sherman Oaks, and you may very well miss it. The tiny grab-and-go shop on the Boulevard offers a combination of two dozen flavors that are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. There are also a couple poultry varieties. Delivery is available.
Diagnosed with Lyme disease, owner Traci Weintraub discovered that eating a clean diet lessened her symptoms. She started developing recipes, including soups, some of which she started selling at nearby BLVD Kitchen. When her friend Teddi Mellencamp (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) shared photos of the soup on Instagram as part of her health and wellness regimen, requests started pouring in and a business was born.
Located in the shadow of Warner Bros. on Riverside Drive, this family-owned, fast-casual eatery offers 10 vegan soups daily, along with chef’s specials. The rotating selection includes whimsical names such as cali-flowa, jacked “chicken” noodle, goddess-pachos and broccoli cheddah.
Order fresh from the counter in 16-ounce or 32-ounce mason jars, or in a bread bowl. Soups are also available cold or frozen in the grab-and-go. Soup Goddess is helmed by chef Lizzy Meyer and her son Dillon. Fans can tune into the Soup Goddess World YouTube channel every Friday for new recipes.
The Gourmet Soup Kitchen
Based in a small West Hills strip mall storefront, chefs Amy Caplan and Daniel Trout have spent more than a decade making their handcrafted soups. You may have also seen the duo selling some at the farmers market in Studio City. The full menu features more than 30 choices of primarily low-fat, low-sodium, vegan soups with global reach. Soups are divided into three categories: mild n’ flavorful, love & thanks, spicy n’ delicious.
Exotic flavors chock full of vegetables include African Peanut, Machu-Picchu (spiced mango with quinoa), Shangri-La lentil and Cuban black bean. A small amount of dairy is mixed in a handful of varieties such as corn chowder and harvest pumpkin. Those seeking basic flavors will enjoy mushroom-barley and country vegetable.
ON THE MOVE & OPENING SOON
Fuel up at the new Gasolina Cafe
Chef Sandra Cordero has doubled the size of her nearly 5-year-old, Spanish-influenced café with a move just down the block to the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Comercio in Woodland Hills. The breakfast/lunch café has the same whimsical and colorful design spirit dedicated to European motorcycle culture but is now full-service with nearly 50 seats inside, extra sidewalk seating, and a craft coffee and beverage bar with grab-and-go items.
Along with favorites such as patatas bravas (which the late Jonathan Gold called “home fries from heaven”), garlic shrimp scramble, churros con chocolate and empanadas, new dishes on the sustainable menu include a warm harvest salad, sweet rice paella (vegan), and Turron French toast made with brioche, almond paste, citrus marmalade and raspberries. In addition to catering, the larger space now allows for private parties and events on-site. (Photo to left: Walid Hoshmand)
Coming in 2020: Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Parisian “kebab” sandwich shop
Chef Ludo Lefebvre, who has experienced local success with the bistro Petit Trois in Sherman Oaks, will open a fine-casual, counter-order “kebab” eatery next door in 2020. The chef’s business partners remain the same: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Jon & Vinny’s) as well as Victoire Loup.
According to Victoire, a “kebab” is different from the traditional “kabob” found at Middle Eastern restaurants, as meat is cooked using brochettes (skewers) rather than a large spit. Ludo’s version will replace pita bread with a baguette that he is specially creating for his new concept.
Victoire also shares that Ludo has wanted to open a kebab restaurant for a few years as it hearkens back to his time working in Paris with Alain Passard at his three-star Michelin L’Arpège. As the story goes, Ludo—along with many other chefs—would stop for a kebab sandwich after dinner service at their respective restaurants because the shops were open late.
The chef’s restaurant group and his list of accolades continue to grow. In June Ludo’s high-end, small-plates eatery Trois Mec in L.A. was awarded a Michelin Star in the 2019 California Michelin Guide.
Opening Soon: Verse, a modern supper club in Toluca Lake
Verse—a 140-seat modern supper club—is set to open mid-December in the former Firenze Osteria digs on Lankershim Avenue in Toluca Lake. It will feature fine dining (including a 10-seat chef’s table), live entertainment and changing playlists.
Michelin Star chef Paul Shoemakerwill helm the kitchen with a sophisticated menu featuring local produce and grilled meats. His partners in the venture are Rob Ciancimino (the former GM of the Sayers Club who will be leading cocktails) and Manny Marroquin, an eight-time Grammy-winning sound mixer and owner of nearby Larrabee Studios, who along with designer Kimberly Biehl Schmidt has transformed the dining room into an “instrument” via custom sound panels and acoustic speakers.
The trio collaborated a few years back at the North Hollywood underground pop-up INTRO Art Gallery & Chef’s Table. Augustine Wine Bar’s Matthew Kaner will oversee the wine list.
(Above left: Photo—Kimberly Biehl Schmidt | Above right: Chef Paul Shoemaker)
Opening Soon: Chicago’s famed Gino’s East to open in Sherman Oaks
Gino’s East, renowned in Chicago for its deep-dish pizza, will open mid-December on Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks. This location, co-owned by television writer Tod Himmel and radio veteran Dan Michaels, is the first West Coast foray outside the Windy City and will feature 14 televisions highlighting Chicago sports.
That’s something to crow about.