By Mary MacVean
12:00 PM PDT, May 16, 2013
This year I think we’ll break our Father's Day habit of staying close to home and take my husband to the Addiction Bistro, a little café on La Cienega Boulevard that serves burgers and sausages, chili and ice cream.
I found the Addiction Bistro while I was reporting a story (to be published Saturday in The Times) about the still-growing gluten-free world. And this cafe caters to people who don't eat gluten.
Also in the course of my reporting, we stopped eating gluten at home for a while. And my husband discovered that he feels a lot better (less sneezing, less congestion) when he avoids gluten, which is found mostly in wheat.
The two owners, Rick Foster and Johnny Kovin, also figured out by chance that they were sensitive to gluten, and a business plan was born -- designed "so people like us can feel good and not get sick." (There are gluten versions available in the cafe, too.)
They started out as Chili Addiction, and sold food at farmers markets and took awards at the Malibu Chili Cookoff. They changed to the current name last year.
Kovin is the chef and makes much of the food in-house, including mustards and ketchups, sausages and ice cream. He also makes pickles and sauerkraut. He makes his own non-gluten flour mixes for fried chicken, cupcakes and other foods. There’s no wheat flour in the kitchen to prevent cross-contamination, Foster says.
Some people call the yellow mustard German caviar, Kovin says, because of the way the seeds pop in your mouth. It's a clean, delicious taste. And the ketchup tastes like tomatoes. The cafe sells the condiments in bottles and the chili and ice cream from the freezer case.
Kovin took advantage of his German-Italian heritage; in fact, he's the descendant of Bavarian sausage makers, he said. From the time he was a boy, he cooked, ate in restaurants, and his mother would quiz him about the ingredients in foods he tasted.
Among the sausages, there is weisswurst, Italian, currywurst, and chipotle and cheddar. There also are vegan hot dogs and hamburgers.
The cafe is small and cozy with red walls. Foster says they’re getting a wine and beer license soon, and they’ll stock gluten-free beers.
408 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 203-1793, www.chiliaddiction.com.
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