Serious Eats: Drinks
Hangover Helper: The Savory Yam Galette from The Sycamore Kitchen in Los Angeles
Being hungover doesn't always mean that you pounded two-dozen wide mouth cans outside of a convenience store and then used your t-shirt as a makeshift parachute while you jumped off the roof into your neighbor's kiddie pool (none of which is recommended, BTW). Sometimes, being hungover is about spending the previous evening engaged in a stimulating discourse on the nature of positive emotional ambience and it's effect on our post-industrial society at large. There can be a classiness to the traditional hangover, assuming you drank the right beverage with the right kind of people in the right kind of minimalist-chic space. And for those hangovers, for those pounding prosecco headaches and cognac regrets, there is a classier kind of Hangover Helper.
Today's upscale hangover attendant comes from The Sycamore Kitchen, the young Los Angeles café upstart in the heart of La Brea's furniture district. The open patio and large windows make for great gazing, although you may find your neck swiveling between the tables of impossibly attractive twentysomethings and the ten or twelve different pastries on display. We've already mentioned the salted caramel pecan babka roll at Sycamore Kitchen as the site's heavy-duty sugar supplier, but there is a simpler and heartier pastry that deserves your attention after a night of expensive Champagne toasts. And its nom de plume is the savory yam galette ($4).
Galettes, of course, are sweet or savory French concoctions that use flaky pastry dough to hold up any manner of suitable toppings. And when pastry dough is involved and rich, silky impossibly creamy yams join in on the discussion, that means the presence of one important ingredient: butter.
Many a weak-willed hangover has been broken over a next-morning soiree that involved an embarrassing amount of butter, and Sycamore Kitchen's savory yam galette is no different. The five-inch pastry begins with an effortless base of buttery baked dough, flaky at the edges but substantial; it won't shatter just because you brought up Kierkegaard at the brunch table.
On top rests two large orbs of bright orange yams, silky smooth on all sides, as if it were born so privileged. A quick toss of walnuts and a dab or three of goat cheese, and this fancy hangover eradicator sounds just about perfect. Until you dip your fork into the fray, and it gets even better. Hidden between the buttery layers of warm yam and airy pastry dough is a creamy base of sweet slow-cooked onions.
There's nothing wrong with picking up a sixer and heading out to the quarry to reminisce and chuck rocks at stuff, but when you've been up all night drinking Old Fashioneds at a monocle swap meet, you need a hangover helper that's more your style. At once delicate and hearty, this galette is the perfect day-after remedy for a city that wants to look good all the time, but really loves to eat well.
The Sycamore Kitchen
143 S. La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (map)