We could wax on about the Farmers Market burger joint Short Order for days. This place is so comfortable and the food is just so good that we are drawn here three to four times a month to eat an Ida’s Old School burger and the incomparable Tuna Melt (all washed down with Blue Collar Cocktails, of course). Every time we are there, we always go, “We really do need to go to Single Origin and Short Cake,” the two other brand associated establishments that cover coffee and baked goods. The three brands cover your brakfast, lunch, and dinner and are such great, Americana concepts that play off of each other very well. Yesterday we finally had the chance to visit Short Cake, which is undoubtedly the most delicious lunch at the Market.
The stall is located on the Fairfax side of the Market and is one of the physically bigger establishments. They are a full service bakery and coffee shop (Single Origin is the coffee place within Short Cake) and far exceed just selling bread goods and pastries. To the contrary, they actually are very much akin to being culinary everymen. The space is very unassuming as it’s located next to that weirdo candy shop, the T shop, a crepe place, and Market classics Farm Boy and Du-Par’s Pie Shop. Short Cake appears to be an extended countertop when you walk by but, if you look closer, is deep and full of various baking contraptions.
You may think that you’d just be eating cake and cake and cake from a place named “Short Cake.” Is that the case? No, not at all. They carry a particularly special savory lunch menu that spans from salads to croissant sandwiches, just about everything made in house and/or purchased from local farmers. We were unsure of what to get so we decided to try a little bit of everything.
First things first: a drink. It was quite hot (still!) yesterday and, although an iced tea or iced coffee sounded delightful from SO, we discovered they had a Cherry Agua Fresca special and we had to get that. This was a good inclination because it was so refreshing and very subtly sweet, surprising for a drink that looked to be a glowing red. It’s like you opened up a cherry, took a seat, and cooled off: this is a perfect hot day drink!
For your meal, you have lots of different options. If you’re craving something light? You can get a salad. Something in between? An open face toast. Something more? A croissant sandwich. Short Cake distills all the dining concepts at the Market–from fish sandwiches at Tusquellas Fish & Oyster Bar on the Northeast side of the Market to Phil’s Deli & Grill’s foodstuffs–into one, refined stop. They take what is best from each of the stalls and pay a little homage to them and, when they aren’t honoring Market neighbors, they’re honoring local produce and local cuisine.
We opted to try everything: we had the Seeds and Sprouts Salad, Christian’s Hotel Salad, a Manchego and ham hand pie, the Zucchini, Eggplant, Tomato, Carmelized Onion, Red Pepper, and Olive Open Faced Toast, and the Albacore Tuna Croissant Sandwich. The salads were both light and both intriguing in their own ways. The Seeds comes as a beautiful tower of sprouts and seeds, composed of pea shoots, sunflower and radish and alfalfa and more sprouts, in addition to their corresponding seeds and tossed in a poppy seed dressing. The salad is sweet, oniony, raw, and very, very fine as the tiny sprouts can be a challenge to eat (and keep out of your teeth). It’s a very special salad. Equally as special is their take on the classic Waldorf salad, which is a smokier take on the classic: with a nicely bitter friseé and endive base, blue cheese, Marcona almonds, dried cherries, and smoked chicken mix in a bitter sweet-and-salty bowl. It’s quite good–and the chicken is perfectly juicy, well paired in this very crunchy salad.
The savory bread items: all delicious. The smallest we got was a Manchego and ham hand pie, which was noted to constantly be changing based on what they have and–as the menu states–the “baker’s imagination.” This was a great mix of distinctive Manchego with salted ham all in buttery handmade puff pastry. We could have probably eaten seven thousand of these but, alas, we had more menu items to handle. The zucchini/eggplant/tomato/onion/pepper/olive open faced toast looks quite a bit like a stained glass window of vegetables laid onto bread. The best way to tackle this is to just pick it up instead of trying to manhandle it with a fork and knife. Uncouth, yes, but it all the tastes of the roasted vegetables won’t allow you to wait to stop eating it.
The final item we had was the Albacore tuna croissant. This sandwich is devastating: it’s so good. There isn’t that much to say beyond it is the same locally caught and prepared tuna that Short Order uses in their now iconic tuna melt. Here, it’s without the cheese and with home pickled pickles (that are delicious) and red onions, all tucked in the middle of a big ass croissant. This sandwich is to die for. It can and should be eaten at any point that you need to eat. What a triumph–and totally unexpected!
Short Cake is a delight. It’s fairly affordable, it’s a somewhat hidden and non-pretentious lunch spot, and it–along with Short Order and Single Origin–are making the Original Farmer’s Market a cool, foodie destination again. We love it.
We must note that their head baker–Hourie Sahakian, pictured above–is one of the sweetest, most talented food people working in Los Angeles now. While eating, we noticed she personally was delivering food to customers, speaking with people in line, and spreading an infectious positivity: she is the beating heart and creative brain behind Short Cake. Her incredible passion for her work is palpable.
We know we missed all the sweets, one of the biggest reasons people love Short Cake. However, their lunch menu is superb and we have plenty of time to try their sweets. Seating can be a little dicey as they only have a small bar and surrounding tables (if available) to sit at. However, that is part of the Farmers Market experience. It wouldn’t be honoring their location if they had a hostess and places to sit and people to wait on you: that isn’t the point. Like all the best places within the walls of the Farmers Market, it’s all about letting the food speak for itself on a very accessible level. Short Cake personifies this and goes above and beyond what they should be. You need to grab lunch here.