In Glassell Park, Lemon Poppy Kitchen has welcomed diners for more than a decade, serving up delicious brunch dishes and from-scratch pastries, plus savory entrees like chicharron tacos and chicken schnitzel. This year, the beloved neighborhood cafe is sporting a new look, including an updated dining room and a reimagined patio for al fresco dining.
Restaurateurs Katie Kildow, Anca Caliman and Jack Wilson are the dynamic trio behind the restaurant, offering a market-driven menu that blends Romanian fare and Mexican influences. It may be the perfect example of a hidden gem, tucked away in Northeast L.A. and delighting anyone who comes in, from near or far. Also new this year: a happy hour menu, served 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and featuring craft cocktails, fresh fruit and herbal teas, and a rotating beer and wine list. Full-service dining is also part of the refreshed version of Lemon Poppy Kitchen.
“Our recent remodel and new full-service dining perfectly blends the vision we’ve been crafting for over a decade of being in business together,” Katie Kildow said in a statement. “We’ve always envisioned a sunny, warm, welcoming environment to match our hospitality and ever-evolving bright and flavorful menu. Our newly renovated outdoor patio is going to be the perfect spot to enjoy our house sangria at golden hour, or that morning espresso with your best friend.”
We connected with chef/owner Anca Caliman to talk summer cooking, and she shared her recipe for pandispan cu fructe de vara, or summer fruit cake. Here’s how to chanel Lemon Poppy Kitchen in your own home.
“I love this recipe because it’s delicious and light and super easy to make: one bowl and no mixer needed,” Caliman said. “It’s a perfect summer snack cake, sturdy but soft, easy to pack for a picnic.”
For the fruit, she suggests a mix of berries and stone fruit, and a sprinkling of walnuts or almonds if you like.
Pandispan Cu Fructe de Vara, or Summer Fruit Cake
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup greek yogurt or lebne
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt
125g AP flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
A pint of your fave ripe summer fruit I love a mix of berries and stone fruit and a sprinkling of walnuts or almonds.
This time I used:
2 small nectarines
6oz box of blueberries
1/4 cup rough chopped walnuts
2 tbspn Demerara sugar (optional)
In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla for about 2 to 3 minutes; mixture will look looks smooth and slightly frothy.
Add the yogurt, oil, salt, and lemon zest, and whisk again until the mixture is smooth, for about another 1-2 minutes.
Finally, add the flour and baking powder and whisk until fully combined and smooth. Set aside.
Grease a 9×13 pan with butter or spray, and turn on your oven to 350F. Let the batter rest while oven comes to temp.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and top with your prepared fruit/nut combo and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. Keep the fruit to a single layer and spaced out a bit, so the cake can rise and form crispy sugary crusts and jammy fruit dimples.
Bake for roughly 25 to 30 mins, depending on your oven. Cake is done when the middle is fully set and golden brown on the edges, pulling away from the pan.
Let cool and top with powdered sugar, or serve immediately with ice cream on top.