Monday, January 22, 2007


Here's the thing about Bloom: it's really a great spot, but it's not quite ideal. I'm not blaming Bloom though; the problem with Bloom is actually a fundamental problem with Los Angeles: too many people live here. Bloom just wants to be a sunny local cafe that makes delicious food with quality seasonal ingredients -- a small spot where you can sit on the sidewalk and eat well-prepared organic eggs and a green tea latte. And it does that well: the food is delicious, the space is adorable and the staff are personable. But on a Sunday afternoon, with a full house plus a constant handful of people waiting to be seated (sharing the sidewalk with the friendliest graffiti giraffe ever), the service seems flustered and harried.

Bloom has taken over two spots where other cafes used to live, and neither of them had this overpopulation problem. Perhaps it was Posh on Pico's prices -- a little spendy for cafe fare, though the spot's Latin-inspired menu was delicious and the airy space was perfectly appointed with inviting thrift-store-chic decor. Or the fact that Sierra Bonita Cafe, despite a broad menu and friendly stay-for-a-while vibe, never really had a focused personality. But something about the style and substance of Bloom is striking a chord with the progressive Wilshire Vista neighborhood, and it's bringing in diners in droves.

In spite the crunch, I got a great sense of what Bloom does well, which is fresh thoughtful food. You might have to wait a bit, but you won't be let down. A simple breakfast of poached eggs is elevated to something much more sophisticated: Fresh walnut raisin bread is spread with a light goat cheese and sprinkled with diced applewood smoked bacon. Top that with two perfectly poached eggs and a fresh tomato coulis for a satisfying and clever breakfasty take on crostini. The blueberry pancakes are generously packed with inky blueberries, and the plump browned chicken sausage bursts with chunks of fresh apple. They also offer plenty of sandwiches, salads, and inventive smoothies.

The staff are friendly and uber-hip, with each member of the crew sporting either a funky Bloom tracksuit jacket or a French accent, and the cheery spot is decorated in bright summer colors. In fact, the vibe of the place makes you want to be a regular, were it not for all those other pesky Angelenos who also want to elbow their way into the tiny spot. I'd like to come here on a weekday when the droves are at work and the place is more calm. I have a feeling I'm deluding myself though: even during the week, there are too many people in Los Angeles. And in a twist that never fails to amaze me, none of us have day jobs! So, perhaps when Bloom expands into the space next door (appears to be in the works), they will be able to better accommodate me and the rest of this overcrowded city. But still, I'll go back anyway. Happy people and organic eggs are kinda worth the inconvenience.

Bloom is at 5544 Pico Blvd., 2 blocks west of Hauser.

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