If you find yourself at a new L.A. restaurant lit with Edison light bulbs, and outfitted with repurposed wood, chances are you'll see a grain bowl on the menu. No longer solely associated with health food stores and post yoga session sustenance, grain bowls have become a satisfying one-dish meal with a variety of textures and flavors, appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And you'll find chefs are taking as much care with their grain bowls as they are with their osso bucco. Here are nine great grain bowls around town.
At Field Trip, Minh Phan's eggs//grains//greens is mix of quinoa, millet, adzuki, urad dal and brown rice with roasted carrots and shallots. The grains are served with soft egg, market dark greens, housemade harissa and tumeric pickled onions ($12). There's also a dinner porridge, when the restaurant converts to Porridge and Puffs, made with teff, steel cut oatmeal, amaranth and millet stewed in rye beer served with sour cherries and topped wth fresh cream, roasted champagne grapes, hazelnuts and crisped rosemary ($12). And for more on Phan and her porridge at the Porridge and Puffs pop-up at Field Trip, check out Jonathan Gold's recent review. 1555 Vine St., #119, Los Angeles, (323) 467-7600, fieldtripla.com.
The next time you're at Gjusta, you may want to try the porridge bowl. We know it's hard to not order a bagel slathered with labneh and stuffed with smoked fish, but just trust us. The porridge bowl is a mix of quinoa, spelt, oats and barley with a milky star anise flavor. The grains are topped with seasonal roasted fruit. If you stop in now, you can expect pear, persimmon, apple, raisins and raspberries ($7.50). And if you pay an extra $1, you can have some almond milk with your porridge. 320 Sunset Ave., Venice, (310) 314-0320, gjusta.com.
At Lincoln, Christine Moore is making her grain bowl with farro. The meaty grains are mixed with kale, chickpeas, roasted fennel, onion and almonds for crunch. And the bowl gets a dollop of romesco sauce before it hits the table ($10.50). 1992 Lincoln Ave. Pasadena, (626) 765-6746, lincolnpasadena.com.
Little Sister's grain bowl doesn't include kale, or any form of greens. Instead, it's a bowl of tender Bhutanese red rice topped with Dungeness crab, rich lamb bacon and a fried egg ($18). If this is what comes to mind when you think grain bowl, those new year's resolutions are going to be a lot easier to keep than you thought they would be. 131 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-2096, littlesistermb.com.
If you're looking for a classic, straightforward quinoa bowl, look no further than M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica. It's a large bowl of quinoa, well-massaged kale, think slices of squash and creamy avocado. It's served with a nutty, carrot Tahini sauce ($15). 395 Santa Monica Place #333 Santa Monica, (310) 394-7046, matthewkenneycuisine.com.
M Cafe de Chaya offers a variety of grain bowls with your choice of toppings. For a little bit of everything, you can order the M Cafe Macro Meal with Kokohu Rose brown rice and quinoa. The bowl comes with steamed vegetables, kale, adzuki beans, hijiki seaweed, house-made pickles and your choice of carrot-ginger dressing or roasted sesame sauce. Prices for the bowl are based on what proteins you decide to add, including salmon ($14.75), tofu ($9.95), tempeh ($11.95), crispy seitan ($13.25) and black cod ($15.95). Multiple locations at mcafedechaya.com.
At Sqirl, chef Jessica Koslow mixes her Kokohu Rose brown rice with sorrel pesto, giving the rice a distinct green hue. She adds preserved Meyer lemon, lacto-fermented hot sauce, black radish, French sheep feta and a poached egg ($7.75) 720 North Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 394-6526, sqirlla.com.
If you're ready to give the porchetta at Stir Market a break, try the Tangiers quinoa bowl. Fluffy quinoa is topped with chickpeas, shredded carrots, zucchini, pepitas, bits of dried apricots and tahini dill yogurt ($10.95). And if you're looking for more protein, you can add some of the restaurant's rotisserie chicken for $3. 7475 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 879-8283, stirmarket.com.
Superba Food and Bread uses quinoa, wheat berries and rye berries to make its savory grain bowl and sweet porridge. For the bowl, the grains are topped with a runny egg, pickles, collard slaw, avocado and cashews ($10). You can add chicken ($4) and or avocado ($2). The porridge, stewed with milk (or hazelnut milk for an additional charge) is topped with a berry compote and hazelnuts ($7). 1900 S. Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 907-5075, superbafoodandbread.com.
I also like Great Grains cereal. In case you were wondering. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_