Sweet Butter

Sweet Butter ATG FINAL


Where: Sweet Butter
Location: 13824 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks
Cost: $$


What is it about seeing a line hanging out of a restaurant that instantly makes you feel like you’re missing out? I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in L.A., anytime you see a group of people congregated outside a dining venue, it’s usually a place you want to be. Aside from word of mouth, it also happens to be the best form of free marketing for an establishment. I cannot tell you how many places I’ve frequented based merely on “line hanging out of the door” advertising. And 9 times out of 10, I can understand the hype. That 1 other time, well

Whenever I find myself driving down Ventura Boulevard on a sunny weekend morning or early afternoon (moon roof open and iPod on shuffle), inevitably, my eye would be drawn to the crowd of people just outside a little yellow building that channels a rustic, welcoming feeling. My eye would then look up and smile at the charming marquee. Sweet Butter. Something in the name just grabs you.

I don’t think there’s anything that I enjoy more than kicking-off a weekend by going out to breakfast. Sadly, it’s not something I get to do as often as I’d like, so I’m particularly picky when choosing a place. I’m all about the food (of course!) but I admit that I’m a sucker for good ambiance. I trust that when my fellow Angelenos feel the need to wait on the sidewalk for a table, it must be for something pretty special. Angelenos don’t typically have the patience to just stand around…especially when you can walk 2 minutes in either direction to find somewhere else to eat.

Sweet Butter Seating _ATG FINAL

{Exterior/The best seats in the house.}

After hitting Yelp to ensure legitimacy, Sweet Butter became the next place to conquer. Though I can appreciate the kind of business that has people so into it that they’re willing to stand on the sidewalk for scrambled eggs, I made it a point to go during their slower time for my inaugural visit. It was a crisp, Friday morning in January around 10:00am, the place practically deserted. In other words, perfect timing.

I was immediately struck by the “homey” feel to Sweet Butter and the use of the space. As you enter through wrought iron gates you’re instantly welcomed by a seating area, doors on either side of it. The one of the left leading to where the magic happens, the kitchen. The one on the right, where you consume and enjoy the magic. It holds the bakery, market, coffee bar, and most importantly, it’s where you order.

Sweet Butter Welcoming Words_ATG FINAL

{Positive words and cucumber-infused water to greet you.}

Sweet Butter Market_ATG FINAL

{Sweet Butter has a charming little market inside, were you can purchase everything from jam to candles.}

Sweet Butter Menu_Interior_ATG FINAL

{Perusing the menu. / Checking out the interior shop.}

The menu is diverse enough to cater to anyone’s needs – whether you’re in the mood for breakfast (served all day), a hearty salad, a sandwich or a wrap. The same attention given to the decor, is equally allocated to the ingredients used on the menu. Sweet Butter’s turkey, chicken, and beef are all free-range or grass-feed. They personally make their own salad dressing, spreads, and pastries in-house using the freshest of ingredients, without preservatives. Are you vegan or gluten-intolerant? Heck, do you need a last-minute gift for the foodie in your life? Sweet Butter’s got you covered.

Swwt Butter Interior ATG FINAL

{Interior. Artisan products for sale.}

Sweet Butter Interiors ATG FINAL

{Coffee bar menu. / Bookshelf full of goodies to purchase.}

Caffeine addicts: I was beyond bummed when I ordered a “vanilla” latte and was told that they don’t make them. (Boo!) The baritsa was quick to try to put a smile on my face and offered their signature “sweet latte” made with simple syrup instead. My frown was instantly turned upside down. She was right. I didn’t miss the subtle sweetness of vanilla, the simple syrup did just the trick – and I’m sure in a much healthier fashion. Admittedly, I’ve been back a handful of times just to stop in and grab a latte to-go.

Sweet Butter Latte_ATG FINAL

{Their sweet latte is to die for. It’s my favorite new place to grab a latte in the Valley.}

I must have passed the wrought iron gates and yellow walls of Sweet Butter on Ventura Boulevard dozens of times over the last few years, always making a mental note that my next girl’s brunch would find me there. Unfortunately, the blessing and the curse of living in a big city with dining options abound, is that it’s slightly overwhelming! I simply never got around to it. I don’t know what it was that made me finally stop being so curious about what was on the other side of the crowded sidewalk. Perhaps it really came down to feeling like I was missing out. And indeed, I was.

Since there are as many cafés in LA as there are out of work actors, I’m looking for what makes an establishment stand out. Of course, a long line of devotees is a good start, but what more does it have to offer? Sweet Butter creates an experience around food. From the quality ingredients, to the welcoming decor; the artisan shop, to the best latte I’d had in a while.

And you know me, if the latte’s right…I’ll be back.

Overview:

PROS: Great ambiance, quaint market, fresh ingredients, well-curated breakfast and lunch menu, staff friendly, vegan and gluten-free options available, pay before you eat (perfect for when you don’t want the hassle of splitting the bill), and online ordering ready for in-store pick-up.

CONS: Parking is difficult (but when is it not?), coffee is pricey (but worth it), the lunch rush and weekends are extremely busy (I waited 45 MINUTES during my second visit to receive my order), and hard to find a table during rush times.

Swwet Butter Pancakes_ATG FINAL 2

{Mia’s Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes.}

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


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Buttercelli Bakeshop, Sherman Oaks

Location: 13722 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks

The search for the best cupcakes around town continues. Buttercelli sits in a sweet little spot on the very busy Ventura Boulevard in “The Oaks” (yep, I came up with that myself!). My second time here puts this place in the “so-so” category. Let me explain…

It was a H.O.T. Sunday afternoon earlier this summer. After spending the morning at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, we made a quick and spontaneous decision to head over to Buttercelli to check out their selection. They have one of the largest gluten free baked goods sections that I’ve come across to date (for the boyfriend) and somehow I always feel better about eating sweet treats when they’re promoted to be of the finest organic ingredients. I went with a simple lemon cupcake and because it was over 100 degrees outside, I didn’t want the frosting to melt while sitting on my kitchen counter and put it in the fridge. A complete no-no, of course, but it was too H.O.T. not to. When I ate the tiny treat later that night, the cake portion was hard. Boo!

Take 2.

Since it was the “weather’s fault” that I didn’t get to experience all the hype from my first time at Buttercelli, I made it a point with the recent cooling temperatures not to make the same intentional mistake twice! I left with an apple pie cupcake and a lemon poppy-seed muffin.

{My treats.}

The apple pie cupcake was delicious, but unfortunately the cake portion was hard on the edges and not as moist as some other places I’ve been in general. I swear, no fridge was involved this time. The next morning, the lemon poppy-seed muffin went well with my coffee for breakfast. This treat was both moist and delicious.

As such, I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with their cupcakes. Their Yelp reviews are positive overall, the other customers I’ve met in-store rave about the place, and the staff have always been very friendly and confident in their goodies. Perhaps the point is to eat the treat right away. The store must have some magical tool in the air to keep their goods fresh and the minute you walk out the door their stock plummets.

Either way, it shouldn’t be this much work on my end to enjoy a cupcake (in decent weather no less). Kudos to them for the gluten free selection and the use of organic ingredients.

Bottom line? I’m not too convinced of this place’s awesomeness. The muffin was good and a bite of my guy’s chocolate thumbprint was yummy, but why is it that the cupcakes can’t seem to float my boat?  I rate Buttercelli “so-so.”