Joan’s on Third
Although we love to travel, going away for an extended trip can be tiresome on the food front since dining out for three meals a day, day after day, can leave you feeling heavy and longing for a simple, home-cooked meal. That’s why on our recent trip to Los Angeles we were thrilled to discover Joan’s on Third, a gourmet marketplace and café with simple, high-quality dine-in and take-out options. Joan’s is a family affair and it shows – it is the enterprise of Joan McNamara, who was joined in operations by her daughters, and her sophisticated but comforting fare feels like it is served with loving care. Originally opened in 1995 as a catering company, Joan’s has expanded over the years to fill a large, airy space with bright marble counters, white tile floors, a large communal table indoors and several smaller seating options street-side.
Packed on both our visits, Joan’s is a lively emporium and amidst the hustle and bustle we enjoyed both our lunch and breakfast fare. A soft boiled organic egg with toast is always a favourite way to start the day, but eggs are also available in a variety of omelettes, scrambled, or as a New York sandwich with bacon. The Irish, steel cut oatmeal was the perfect consistency and served with sides of brown sugar, steamed milk, and a bowl of bright, perfectly ripe berries. The Corn beef hash topped with a poached egg was exquisite – a potato-beef medley with a crispy exterior and a soft centre, flawlessly seasoned, it was wonderfully complimented by an oozing golden yolk.
Lunch is fulfilled by a myriad of sandwich options which are offered on your choice of breads. So many sandwiches are pre-prepared, dry and tired, but here they are prepped when ordered and the Grilled Maple Rosemary Chicken Breast with Mustard Caper Sauce was commendably moist and flavourful (and so large we could only eat half!) but there are so many others we’d love to try including old-fashioned favourites like a traditional Croque Monsieur and their Tuna Melt. We also enjoyed a side of their roasted vegetables, baked in a generous bath of olive oil and including small yellow squash and baby carrots, it is a lovely way to enjoy your daily intake. These simple but delicious selections exemplify what Joan’s is all about.
Joan’s is LA’s answer to Dean & Deluca, the venerable New York institution that helped redefine what a grocery store could be. Both take care to carefully source and curate their offerings, helping to ensure good results in the kitchen by outfitting their shops with high-quality ingredients. Joan’s is only open until 8 daily except Sunday when it closes at 6 so it’s not an ideal spot to languor over dinner, but they have supper covered with so many takeaway options including mains like Maple Rosemary Chicken Breast, Macaroni & Cheese, and Beef Tenderloin as well as various sides and salads – so you never have to touch the stove, but are still equipped with a home-style meal. Other grab-and-go options include their delectable, home-made, salted chips and baked pita chips, salads and dressings, soups, as well as their signature sweet and crunchy pickles – a must-try, they are absolutely addictive. Their cheese selection is excellent and their baked-goods counter beckons – we thoroughly enjoyed their packets of their delicate, perfectly balance pecan shortbreads on the road. We can’t wait to go back and sample much, much more.