The pretzel isn’t a new thing by any means, but it certainly has started making more appearances throughout L.A., often in the shape of a bun, a re-worked crust, or a new thing to dip into a delicious sauce. We’ve scoured this great city in search of pretzels and its many iterations and below are some favorites, regardless of form.
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Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. Alpine Village Market – Pretzel: Alpine Village is, by far, the kitschiest location on this round-up. Its proximity to the 110 freeway and Torrance doesn’t seem like it would lend itself to a little German village oasis, but that it does. There’s an inn, shops, a restaurant, and a market. The market is packed with products you would find in Deutschland; the deli counter has items such as Fleischsalat, Currywurst, and Bratwurst; the breads are grainy and hearty; and the mustard selection is expansive.
Head over to the bakery and a basket on top of the glass window holds the pretzels – both twists and rolls. Alpine Village’s pretzels are exactly what you would hope a pretzel to be – a nice lye wash, golden brown in color, big salt rocks strewn on top, with a soft off-white dough protected by an almost crunchy exterior. Alpine Village does an exceptional pretzel.
2. Brü Haus – Giant Churro Pretzel: Brü Haus looks quite modern in West LA, with high roofs, open space, plenty of big screen TVs and big open windows. Inside, the bar has plenty of brews and the cuisine is quite Germanic so it is only natural that pretzels reside here. They offer both a traditional version and a dessert version of the pretzel – both GIANT – and they import the dough from Bavaria.
The GIANT churro pretzel has a slightly blistered, shiny exterior with a faint crispness and is lacquered with cinnamon and sugar. The warm, soft, white dough remains protected and intact and is ready to dip in the accompanying Nutella sauce. Brü Haus offers a solid pretzel dressed up as a dessert with one of the best sauces known to man – Nutella. The pretzel is $9, but it’s definitely worth every penny in terms of taste and size – it could feed a small family.
3. Clementine – Pretzel: Annie Miler tends to be a traditionalist at her Century City café, and that’s the case with her pretzels, sizable sea salted twists that are pull apart and pliable, with the occasional surface fissure. However, it’s also possible to order an over the top Pretzel Paroxysm ($11.75) during Grilled Cheese Month, which she describes as “a twisted tumult of turkey, white cheddar, bacon and tomato relish grilled on a traditional pretzel.”
4. Coffee Tomo – Red Bean and Cheese Pretzel: Coffee Tomo has a variety of pretzels: sweet potato cheese, regular, red bean cheese, jalapeno cheese, and cinnamon sugar. The pretzel dough sits for about a day then takes only 5-6 minutes to prepare once ordered. I tried the red bean and cheese pretzel and this one is rolled up with red bean and mozzarella cheese. It’s not too sweet and not too savory but leans on the sweeter side with the prominent red bean paste flavor. The pretzel comes out piping hot and is without a wash, resulting in a softer, flimsier, chewier, pretzel.
Coffee Tomo is right off of Sawtelle on Mississippi, among all of the Japanese restaurants and shops, so trying the red bean pretzel seemed the most appropriate. The café is open and bright though the decorations try to make it feel a little warmer (i.e. less stark) with the coffee bean sacks hanging on a wall and some shelving and large wooden tables made of dark wood.
5. Congregation Ale House, Long Beach – Fresh Baked Pub Pretzel: Congregation Ale House is on the Promenade in Downtown Long Beach and has an ample selection of beer and sausages. The restaurant has the attitude of a pub that is both modernized and retrospective and is constantly packed; ordering happens at the front and then it’s off to fight for a place to sit amongst the indoor tables, outdoor seating and bar chairs. To complete the “congregational” theme, the waitresses even wear Catholic school girl uniforms.
The pretzels here are “fresh baked pub pretzels” – served with a Chimay cheese and beer fondue sauce – but Congregation Ale House ends their pretzel-cooking-process in a pizza oven. The end result is a doughier, white-bread-like pretzel which is a bit paler than the usual golden variety and is topped with just the right amount of salt. The pretzel goes well with the cheese and beer dipping sauce and even better with an Alpine Nelson IPA.
6. Cooks County [CLOSED]: Talented pastry chef Roxana Jullapat created a unique pretzel variation, the Spretzel ($3). Her spelt pretzel utilizes Spelt, a Medieval grain that’s high in fiber, protein and magnesium. In Jullapat’s nimble hands, the grains also taste great in a pretzel when dotted with sea salt and dipped in mustard sauce.