When the cafeteria mystery meat has been replaced by an unidentifiable herb and the popular kids’ table is on an outdoor patio surrounded by a bountiful kitchen garden, you know the An family (Crustacean) has given the commissary a makeover.
Named for a zesty Vietnamese leaf (aha!), Tiato Market Garden Cafe, opening today, does wholesome comfort food with an exotic bent and a casual, ecoindustrial vibe.
Caramelized grapefruit with kaffir lime yogurt and hearty five-grain oatmeal make skipping breakfast nearly impossible. Busy bees toss back fresh juices and smoothies (try the lychee-infused Asian Persuasion) or grab and go from the salad bar.
For lunch, order a kale-laced turkey meatball lentil soup or a colorful antioxidant spinach salad from the counter. If you’ve got time to spare, there’s waiter service in the dining area for savory entrees like sweet herb-sprinkled baked eggplant and tofu or simmered pork tenderloin with a side of broth.
We heard Mama An’s famous garlic noodles will be available in limited quantity during happy hour on Thursdays and Fridays. No food fights, please.
Tiato Market Garden Cafe, 2700 Colorado Avenue, between Princeton and 26th Streets, Santa Monica (310-866-5228 or tiato.com). Mention DailyCandy before 10:30 a.m. to get a free strawberry muffin through Friday.
Photo: Courtesy of Tiato Market Garden Cafe
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