It was a cold and gray day in LA (hey that rhymes!) when my friend Mika & I got together for our meal at the Little Next Door. Even with the outdoor heaters we opted to sit inside rather than on the patio because it seems some restaurants still have areas that are deemed “smoking”. It seems like an upside down world to me that a French influenced restaurant in Los Angeles has more smokers on the patio than cafes in Paris.

Since it was so cold (here in Los Angeles that means 50 F), Mika ordered a hot tea and received this unusual Tea Forte silken tea bag in the shape of a pyramid. The flavor was White Ambrosia, and Mika liked it so much she had refills.

I chose the grilled calamari salad, made with roasted bell pepper, shaved fennel, spinach, lemon-caper dressing for $15. This is now tied with the grilled calamari salad at Toscanova as my favorite. The calamari was tender and the young spinach held up well to the slightly tart lemon caper dressing.

Mika wanted meat, so she ordered the Hambourgeois, made with top sirloin ground beef burger with onion confit, harissa mayo and pommes frites $15. She requested it medium rare with Gruyere and reported that it was juicy and cooked exactly as she had requested. She especially loved the harissa mayo which added a spicy creamy topping to the fresh bun.

Somehow we found room to split the coconut cheese cake $6 topped with fresh berries. It was too thick for Mika’s taste, but I loved it and we both agreed the taste was sensational.

Since Mika had never had a French macaron, I recommended that she try the pistachio $1.75 since it would compliment the cheesecake. She finished it in (literally) two bites; I think I may have introduced her to a new addiction…

Although service was wonderfully friendly and efficient during our meal, the hostess could use some more training with customer service because she was obviously very annoyed to change our seat from the patio to indoors even though there were many open tables in both areas. Fortunately the warmth of our waiter made up for that bad first impression and we left with smiles in our stomachs and on our faces.

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