For several months whenever I dropped my car off, and picked it up, I watched with curiosity as the storefront next door to my mechanic’s garage shaped up. What used to be a taqueria was transforming into the cutest country-style eatery.

I would see co-owner Elliot Rubin finishing the wooden trim on the windows and anticipate its completion. About two months ago, the Curious Palate’s doors opened.

The place itself is adorable, chock full of edibles to eat there or take away. The rustic feel owes much to the recycled wood tabletops, countertops and doors, antique flavored décor and eco-friendly design and materials (They used V.O.C. paint made from eggshells.).

Sticking to a “local, fresh and natural produce” policy, everything out of the Curious Palate’s kitchen is tasty beyond what you would expect. For starters, we sipped on the Curried Squash Soup, a quartet of squashes, roasted and puréed with coconut milk (no dairy). Each day specials are offered, and on this Sunday afternoon, we were delighted with Comte & Apple Chutney Grilled Cheese and Sloppy Giuseppe (featuring lamb that’s braised overnight). While these dishes sound incredibly rich and decadent, both were surprisingly simple, light and healthful.

Regulars on the menu are just as appealing. Indulge in Mark’s (as in co-owner Mark Cannon) Famous Mac ‘n’ Cheese, the Hot Pastrami or Cubano.

Cap off your meal with coffee from Intelligentsia and a homemade cookie. (I chose chocolate chip and was told that one secret to its deliciousness is the batter is made 24-36 hours in advance.)

As I sat post-meal, with low-playing classic jazz in the background, thinking about this new market/kitchen/café, I couldn’t help but admire and appreciate the owners for bringing their passion to life – and to Venice Boulevard.

For more information, call (310) 437-0144 or visit