It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize the splendor of Los Angeles’ farmers markets. The bounty of California’s fertile hillsides lies plentiful and sparkling among dozens of farmers’ tables. They’re like multicolored treasures waiting to be plucked and transformed into delicious meals in your home kitchen. But, on the flipside, what if you aren’t much of a culinary produce manipulator? What if you would rather have someone else do the transforming for you? You reap the rewards of the product without the hassle and potential confusion of preparation. Enter, Paul Osher of Bean & Thyme.
At the Santa Monica farmers market on Sunday mornings, Paul owns and operates a lovely little stand named Bean & Thyme. Paul is somewhat of the messiah of the farmers market. A bold title, yes. However, this guy warrants it. Let me break it down for you: he works with all the products of the farmers market and makes farm-fresh, gourmet food. He uses bread from the baker, oils, vinegars, and seasonings from local purveyors, and his meats and eggs from neighboring sources. His locality? Less than 50 feet from his location, relatively speaking. So yeah, I’d say he’s doing his part.
According to the seasons, Paul’s menu is usually based on what is lookin’ good at his neighbors’ produce stand, changing it up week by week. A couple crowd-favorites are mainstays on the menu, which include the breakfast bowl: sous-vide soft poached eggs, black kale, and organic grits. If egg isn’t your thing, try the weekly beans. Each week, he chooses a different varietal of beans and cooks them to perfection with garlic, onion, and spices. This week, its cranberry beans. Phenomenal.
Sandwiches are the focus, and boy, does he make a mean sandwich! Right now, he is doing great things with eggplant, pairing the roasted aubergine with cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, and arugula. Or how about a grilled ciabatta sandwich stuffed with homemade chorizo and soft scrambled egg? This guy also makes his own pastrami! Yes, he makes it himself. Talk about a labor of love. The guy is insanely amazing, and his love for the beautiful ingredients he has to work with comes through in his food.
Assuming your only mission at the Sunday market is to pick up some plums and a loaf of bread, making a pit-stop at Bean & Thyme will significantly improve your visit. Paul is warm, kind, and incredibly knowledgeable about seasonal produce. Plus, he makes a scrumptiously mean sandwich. My favorite happens to be the chorizo egg, but if meat irks you, the vegan sunrise will make even the meatiest of meaty eaters swoon. One last thing: this week he’s scooping up fresh peach ice-cream. Just for kicks. In his words, “Because it’s hot out here people!”
Check out beanandthyme.com for more details and to sign up for his weekly menu email. I always drool when I see it in my inbox. Otherwise, head down to the Santa Monica farmers market on Sunday to swing by his amazingly delicious stand.