When I was in Solvang a couple of weeks ago for the Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, afterwards I headed to Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos for dinner. The place is only open Thursday through Sunday and I’d never happened to be up there on any of those days before that weekend. I scarfed up more than my fair share of rustic flatbreads from the big wood-fired oven in the back.
If I hadn’t been able to get in (Full of Life which takes no reservations), I could have eaten just down the street at the year-and-a-half old Bell Street Farm, a little restaurant and market set in a turn-of-the-(20th)-century bank building. Normally not open for dinner, that night was was the start of their “Third Saturdays Chicken Dinner.”
It’s prix fixe only ($40) and features a generous "endless" antipasti bar. When I dropped by the next morning for a buttery almond croissant and a big cup of coffee for the road, the guy in the black cowboy hat behind the counter extolled its virtues.
It turns out he's owner Jamie Gluck, who's both an Angeleno and a local. The antipasti bar is inspired by a restaurant in Rome, he told me, where "you go into the back room and there’s all these little dishes laid out. We wanted to do a similar spread," he explains. And so, they’ve laid out finocchiona salame, mortadella, house-made rillettes, cheese, tuna and cannellini bean salad, wild arugula salad and more, along with plenty of fresh-baked baguettes. The antipasti is followed by a Huntsinger free-range rotisserie chicken (the same one you can pick up during the day for a picnic in the wine country), white bean hummus and olive oil-roasted veggies and potatoes. Dessert is cookies or buttermilk-vanilla affogato.
Bell Street Farm Eatery & Market, 406 Bell St., Los Alamos, (805) 344-4609, www.bellstreetfarm.com. Third Saturdays chicken dinner, $40 per person, starting at 6 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month. Note that the cafe is open Friday through Monday only from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.