By Charly SHELTON
The Valley used to be boring. It was a place where you went if you had to, but with everything we have in Glendale and in Pasadena, there was really no huge draw. Over the last five years or so, that has changed.
Case in point – Claudine. A beautifully decorated, quaint little breakfast place with all the Hollywood service and taste but without all the Hollywood traffic and hustle ‘n’ bustle.
Located in Encino along Ventura Boulevard, Claudine specializes in breakfast and brunch with offerings including malted milk pancakes with cinnamon-berry compote, salted honey butter and warm maple syrup, or Lea’s lightened quiche, which uses seasonal greens and only one egg for the entire quiche, though you would never know it. Owned and operated by family friends Anthony Jaquet and Lea Newton, they have each brought their own specialties to the restaurant. Jacquet is the chef and controls the dining program, offering breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. Newton controls the bakery aspect of Claudine, noting that she is known for her chocolate chip cookies and browned butter rice crispy treats.
The bakery is superb and everything in store is baked fresh daily, so Newton encourages visiting early in the day because nothing they make will be left over for tomorrow. And if you find yourself at Claudine at any point in the day, you would be remiss to not try the browned butter rice crispy treat. It will honestly make you rethink your opinion on how good rice crispies can be.
The breakfast naan pizza with gruyere, maple sage sausage, bacon, jalapeno relish, grilled onion and a whole sunny-side-up egg is pretty good, the aforementioned malted milk pancakes won’t steer you wrong either, but the thing that really got me was the house-cured lox on toast. I normally hate lox, so to find a dish with lox that is not only palatable but actually very enjoyable is a rarity for me. The lox is served up with preserved lemon cream cheese, pickled shallots, cucumber and capers all piled high on crispy toast. It’s really a great way to start the day.
Claudine is located at 16350 Ventura Blvd., Suite F in Encino. It’s a nice little spot for breakfast and it’s worth the trip to the Valley all on its own. Next time I am in the Valley, I will return to Claudine, hungry for more.