Bookending the row of shops in Franklin Village, The Oaks Gourmet Market has been garnering lots of attention since its arrival last fall. Whether in the market for coffee, fine Italian meats, or Ostrich Jerky, chances are you'll find everything you need at the latest venture from the people behind La Cienega's Spanish Kitchen and Oak Fire Pizzeria, and maybe even a little more.
Inside you'll find a paradise of fine wine, fresh roasted coffee, cupcakes, rare microbrews, deli meats and cheeses, and even a bar of chocolate bacon if you're so inclined (and we were very inclined). The market also features an extensive menu, with a communal table inside and limited seating out front. We cozied up to a nice rail outside to make room for lunch.
We were all pretty excited to see that the market had prices for individual beers. So we each picked out something unique to enjoy with our lunch only to be told at the register that we weren't allowed to drink them on the premises. I'm not sure who buys an individual can of beer to take home, but we adapted and moved past the minor disappointment. I picked out a bottle of Margo's Dark Root Beer- a natural cane sugar soda with a dog on the label (below, right) and we got this cute little lady named Gizmo (below, left) to go along with it. Okay, the one thing the market doesn't sell is French bulldogs... we brought this one with us.
The one thing that The Oaks has quickly become known for is their burger. Since I'm a man intent on finding the best burger in LA (which is a post you can expect in the future), I had to try it. Their burger has already been festooned with titles and claims. The Food Network says it's the best in LA. The LAist gives it the title of Top 5. And I'm here to tell you that neither is far off.
This beautiful beast (below) is one of the best I've ever had. Topped with Black Forest bacon, Taleggio cheese, red onion, tomato, arugula and a jalapeno-pineapple compote, this dry-aged burger earned a chorus of oohs and ahhs from every member of our group who tried it. While the juicy patty was fantastic, bonus points were awarded for the toasted brioche bun. It doesn't come with any fries or chips, garnished instead with a small side of slaw. The burger was filling enough that I didn't even notice, and I presume the lack of sides helps keep the prices reasonable (only $11.50 for this guy).
While the burger (below, left) dominated our attention, the menu continued to impress with other popular options at very reasonable prices. I was surprised to see them offer a lobster roll (below, right) for only $12.50. The vegetarian in the group had plenty of options, as well, settling on the vegetarian meatball sub. The menu also includes salads, brick-oven pizzas and breakfast options.
Not to completely get away with an affordable lunch, Angela kept sneaking back inside, ultimately purchasing some cured meats, cheeses and some beer she found that had been brewed near her hometown in Oregon. I may or may not have had to drag her away from the rack of wines. And there lies the problem with The Oaks - you may have to leave quickly before you spend all your money on all the goodness it has to offer.