Lodge Bread — Great Bread, Meh Everything Else

22 Feb

They say that in France a bakery can be great at bread or great at pastries, but not both.  Lodge Bread in Culver City stands as a testament to that principle.

Let’s get this out of the way: Lodge Bread makes a great loaf of bread. A real rival to Clark Street Bread for the title of best loaf in the city (and by that, I mean, best Tartine imitator in LA). I just wish I had gotten my bread and gotten out of there.

Just look at this beautiful loaf of bread.  Crusty, deep brown, with excellent crumb structure.  It’s got a nice tang from the sourdough starter, but still wonderfully wheat-ey.  The crust looks like it’s burnt, but it’s not even that hard.  And the inside is moist and delicious.  A truly impressive loaf.

(And I’m saying all this despite the fact that they screwed up my order and gave me a sesame seed loaf instead of the country loaf.  The whole wheat is pictured here.)

But I was also drawn by the outsize praise of the food critics for a cinnamon roll.  Yes, a cinnamon roll.

Let me just state a few obvious caveats to begin: it’s gigantic, like comically gigantic.  It’s $6.  Yes, that’s $1 less than the sizable country loaf.  That would all be fine if it tasted amazing.  But it doesn’t.  It’s just a gigantic 2000 calorie disappointment.

As you would guess from a roll so large, it’s dry.  It’s so big that you feel like you’re just eating a ton of white bread (which you are).  I don’t mean wonderful country loaf white bread; I mean sliced sandwich bread.  The fact that they make it quite not-sweet (which should normally be a virtue for baked goods) heightens the feeling that you’re not eating a treat, but something that should go with something else.  It’s not even that cinnamon-ey.

The only part of it that is at all interesting is the labneh cream on top.  But even then, I wouldn’t say it was an improvement over good, old cream cheese based toppings.

Here’s a shot showing how ridiculously large this thing is.

I also got a gigantic chocolate cookie and a cup of De La Paz espresso (in the form of an americano).  The cookie (not pictured) was also comically large and surprisingly not sweet.  It didn’t suffer from dryness; quite the opposite: it was almost dripping in butter.  The paper bag that it came in had a huge oily stain on it later.  But the cookie, while rich in butter and cocoa powder, lacked anything interesting about it.  I found a couple large chocolate chunks, and those were good.  But that’s it.

The coffee was also not great.  I can’t tell if it was the coffee or the person making it.  It lacked the rich flavor of a decent Third Wave coffee.  But that could be because it was a bit weak and overwatered.  But it could also be that the coffee just isn’t that interesting.  I’d have to try De La Paz elsewhere.

Anyways, I’m glad the Westside has another awesome bread option.  But I doubt I’ll try their sweets again.

Lodge Bread
11918 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(424) 384-5097
tuesday – sunday   8 am – 4 pm

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