By all means, everyone would call me a Los Angeleno as I have been here since I was 6 months old. With some brief stints in the OC and SD, I returned to the LA Area. Even though I have lived here all my life, I don’t get out enough. Like many Los Angelenos, I don’t really move around outside of my normal life zone. This means I miss a lot, even things I don’t know I am missing. This brings me to the purpose of this post…downtown Burbank. Who knew????
Downtown Burbank is adorable. The atmosphere is fun, friendly and relaxing. Downtown Burbank is a urban neighborhood spanning 34-blocks and featuring more than 300 shops, restaurants and businesses. Within all of the other wonderful food and shopping choices is the Market City Caffe. So glad to have been invited to dine at this gem.
Market City Caffe is set up for any occasion and suitable for all ages. Whether you are looking for a great date night space, a family meal, or just a nice meal al fresco, this is the spot. The atmosphere is relaxing, while the building is spacious, open and cozy.
The General Manager, Jerry Koren and his staff were friendly, knowledgeable and also aware of gluten allergies, which is always a plus in my book. We were given two options: pick and choose or be served the most popular Tomato Festival dishes. It didn’t take long for Jerry to talk us into sampling the menu or into tasting their personal line of wines, Vanishing Point and Squirt Gun.
Tomato Festival is only here for a limited time – closes 5/31/15.
The Food & Wine
Jerry informed us that the owners Sal and Chipper are very passionate about their wines and we just had to try some and we were glad we did. Typically I am a red wine fan, but this Sauvignon Blanc was delicious: crisp, refreshing and not too sweet. The Pinot Nior was equally tasty: smooth, dry with a rich full flavor.
We started out meal with the two new appetizers available right now on the Tomato Festival menu, though we have been told they MAY add the Crispy Sardines to the everyday menu. At first I was very skeptical about eating sardines, but I was promised it was not to be missed. I’m not a huge cooked fish fan but I gave it a try and I am so glad I did. They were crispy, slightly salty and very delicate. We also had the Bruschetta and Smoked Ricotta. We found the smokey flavor and thickness of the ricotta a little too much for us, however when you add the tomato’s acidity into the mix the flavors and textures were better balanced.
Following the appetizer was pizza and salad. The Heirloom Tomato wood fired pizza was delicious. Hand tossed artisan dough covered with fresh mozzarella, California Olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil. Though I like my crust a bit crunchier, this was a very flavorful pizza. One bite into this pizza and you knew it was all very fresh ingredients. Yes, I took a bite..but I trusted my guest to tell me how she felt about it. She too said it was extremely fresh, rich and tomatoey (not sure that is a word) with just the right amount of cheese to tomato to bread. Accompanying in pizza was a phenominal Greek Salad. I could have eaten a whole plate of it. Baby heirloom tomatoes, imported Italian sheeps milk Greek feta, baby romaine hearts, marinated Kalamata olives, lemon-oregano vinaigrette, sliced red onions and cucumbers. Did I mention how delectable it was? Perfection.
The last course was Bacon & Roasted Tomato Risotto and Flat-Iron Prime Steak. Let’s start with the Risotto, which in its purest state is wonderful, but add bacon and roasted tomatoes and it makes it 10X better. Creamy parmesan cheese, Applewood bacon, onions, roasted tomatoes, and Fava beans. Even good reheated the next day 🙂 We finished our meal with the steak. The steak came grilled perfectly and was served on a bed of heirloom cherry tomatoes and pee wee potatoes. No steak sauce needed for this dish. It was juicy and tender and the crumbles of blue cheese paired very beautifully.
All in all it was a fabulous night of drinks, food and of course conversation. You’ll have to hurry over to Burbank by the end of the month (May 31st) to try these great dishes. But rest assured, if you do miss the Tomato Festival you can check out one of the many other special nights or festivals at the Market City Caffe. Coming up June 24th is their “Al Fresco” Wine dinner. A five course meal with a wine paring for each course. Cost is $74 per guest plus tax and service fee and the menu looks fantastic. When you go tell Jerry, Terri from EatDrinkOC.com says hi!