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Lunchtime Eats: Olive & Thyme Is SoCal's Answer To Dean & DeLuca

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Recently, a reader wrote in asking if there was anything in Los Angeles that was along the lines of the enduring New York City-based Dean & DeLuca. For those who've not been (or who didn't watch "Felicity,") it's basically a hybrid café and gourmet marketplace, where you can get a great cup of coffee, packaged treats, cheeses, baked goodies, and also sit down and eat all in one spot. In L.A., we have great gourmet markets, and great coffeehouses, and great restaurants, but this kind of hybrid is rare. However, in Burbank, Olive & Thyme fits the bill, serving up tasty meals, top notch coffee, and delicious pastries, in a marketplace setting.

Burbank isn't exactly a dining destination, which is in part what makes Olive & Thyme not only a much-needed addition to the food scene in the area, but also so successful. At lunchtime, inarguably the raison-d'etre for the eatery, the tables are full of regular customers coming in from the nearby studios, still wearing their "Conan" show or Disney ID badges.

At Olive & Thyme the menu is simple, focused at lunch on salads and sandwiches, expanding into entrees at dinnertime. You'll find welcome diversions from typical flavors thanks to co-owner Melina Davies' Armenian heritage, and zingy dishes like the Fattoush salad with their housemade pita crisps, or their Middle Eastern Chicken wrap, the latter of which spiced to a palate-pleasing place of mouth-tingling tastiness that can shake up your usual lunch sandwich routine.

Their standout sandwich, and crave-able calling card, is the Braised Short Rib, which is tender, succulent meat topped with sweet caramelized onions and tangy horseradish creme fraiche. If you need to temper your guilt, split it with a friend and go sharesies on one of their many salad choices.

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Olive & Thyme brews up Intelligentsia coffee, giving coffee lovers in the area thirsting for options beyond the requisite Starbucks a welcome option. The restaurant sources their tempting array of baked goods from a variety of local independent artisanal bakers who collaborate with the O&T kitchen to concoct things like the Chocolate Caramel Rice Krispie cake, or their popular chewy-crisp Toffee White Chocolate cookie. If you don't save room for dessert, the eatery's laid back cafe vibe ensures that's it's perfectly fine to come in between meals for that vital snack and pick-me-up beverage.

In the evenings, they serve wine, and they also have a breakfast menu for the morning folk, though for those who like to do brunch, note Olive & Thyme is closed on Sundays, so your laid back patio weekend breakfasting is limited to Saturdays. Friday night is Burger Night, where you'll find special once a week creations like a Bacon Brie Burger, along with a classic All American Burger, and a Spicy Turkey Burger.

So while you might not find a reliable cafe-market hybrid in every part of L.A., when life brings you to Burbank, there's definitely a place that hits the spot thanks to Olive & Thyme.

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