Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tiara Cafe

After spending the afternoon haggling with carpet salesmen downtown (funny how a $300 rug can drop to $100 by the time you get one foot out the door), we worked up an appetite and headed straight for Tiara Cafe. Owned by chef Fred Eric of Fred 62, Tiara Cafe is a contemporary, whimsical cafe filled with Project Runway wannabes from the fashion design school across the street. You realize the Fashion District influence is in full effect when you see on the menu the mention of the designer of the server's uniform for the season.

We were started off with cucumber water, then moved on to a most excellent strawberry lemonade. The menu offers many sandwiches, soups, pizzas, and some more interesting dishes like our starter of chickpea fries. Deep fried chickpea batter cut into the shape of fries, served with a harissa aioli. Imagine deep fried polenta, but creamier and with a nice nutty flavor. They were so good I ordered another. For my entree, I had a pizza from their seasonal menu. It was an interesting Mid-East/North African combo of labneh, roasted squash, eggplant and mirco greens. It was great. An interesting combo of flavors on a very thin crust.

My mom ordered on of their "fresh'wiches", which are not to be confused with a proper sandwich. Order these if you have a light appetite: they are essentially spring rolls. This one is grilled ahi tuna with cucumber, avacado, daikon and carrots. The tuna was almost non existent, as was the avocado. It was really just a disappointing roll of lettuce.

If you have a proper appetite, stick with one of their pizzas, panini, or salads. They also have a deli case of take out items, and a chocolate fountain with marshmallows to dip on your way out.

Tiara Cafe is a pleasant hide-out from the bustling downtown LA scene. Stick with the specials, avoid the "fresh'wiches" and you will enjoy it very much.

Tiara Cafe
127 E 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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