Sunday, May 9, 2010

Choppe Choppe: Efficient dining - my friend Kyna would approve

My dear friend Kyna, one of my closest college companions, is a bit of a character. As a bit of a character myself, I consider this to be a good thing – nay, a great thing – and would imagine it is probably why we became friends in the first place. (Aside from our mutual appreciation for running, Dashboard Confessional and eating Papa John’s pizza at midnight.)

One of Kyna’s most notable quirks was her affinity for telling me and our other friends to, “Chop chop!” when she wanted us to hurry up. Her voice would cascade down the hallway of our dorm, announcing itself to everyone on the floor with the force of a fierce Chicago wind.

It was terrifying.

And after a few dozen times, annoying as heck.

But the sentiment behind it was always well-intentioned – Kyna didn’t want us to be late. And, to her credit, whenever she was around, we made it to all those football parties, frat parties and baseball parties right on time.

For these reasons, I think my friend Kyna would be very fond of Choppe Choppe, the reconceptualization of Skratch, a quick lunch stop in Culver City that was recently revamped to increase its serviceability. The efficient staff and set-up gets customers in, out and back to their desks before the big hand on the clock reaches the 2. And for those who can’t leave their cubes and offices until 7 pm, the eatery is now open till 8:30 pm on week nights.

Chef and Owner Jeffrey Price has loaded his affordable menu of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups with locally sourced, fresh ingredients that are welcome relief from the drudgery of a brown bag lunch. It certainly was welcome relief from my brown bag lunch (usually a turkey sandwich on Milton’s whole wheat bread) when I was invited in for a quick bite courtesy of the restaurant.

While I was tempted by the turkey waldorf sandwich with shredded turkey breast, spiced walnuts, bing cherries, green apple, stilton blue cream spread, lettuce and strawberry vinaigrette on a tender La Brea roll ($6.95), I already had my mind set on the chicken curry wrap with raisins, green apple, dried cranberries, cucumber, lettuce and a yogurt mango curry ($6.95). Chef Price also brought out sparkling Izze sodas ($1.95), and cups of his tomato bisque and mushroom brie soup ($2.95) for us to sample.

The chicken wrap held together nicely, and I appreciated the sweet crunch of the walnuts, but was a little jealous of my companion’s Oxbow sandwich with braised rib eye, blue cream spread, sliced romas, crumbled brie, buttermilk onion crisps, lettuce and a horseradish and cracked pepper cream ($7.95). The meaty affair oozed tender slices of roast beef and seemed considerably heartier than my decidedly light wrap. Fortunately, I had the pleasantly spiced tomato bisque to round out my meal, and was able to siphon away a few bites of my companion’s mushroom brie soup as well. The latter was particularly satisfying -- the tangy brie was an astute partner for the earthy mushrooms.

We finished our lunch with warm chocolate chip cookies ($1.25) that are baked at Choppe Choppe throughout the day to ensure that each customer receives one at the optimal temperature and doesn’t need to resort to alternative methods to heat it up.

This is a good thing.

And I think my friend Kyna would agree. Warm cookies are meant to be ingested immediately upon receipt. The one I enjoyed was gone faster than someone could yell, “Chop chop!” down the hallway of a college dormitory – with the force of a Chicago wind.

Choppe Choppe
3867 Hughes Ave.
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-3400

Mon – Fri (11 am – 8:30 pm)
Sat (12 pm – 8 pm)
Sun (closed)


Jenn said...

Tempted by that oxbow sandwich right now. Another place I need to hit up when I'm in the area.

weezermonkey said...

This place's name is adorable.

bagnatic said...

sounds like a good lunch place. i LOVE warm cookies...mmmm..oozy chocolate is king.

Diana said...

Jenn - The cookies are a must!

Weez - Isn't it! I thought Skratch was pretty cute too, but Choppe Choppe has sentimental value. :)

Amy - These cookies definitely ooze!

Andrea said...

Just went there today! They didn't have any of the beef options so we got the curry chicken salad, barbacoa wrap and pork banh mi. Great place for lunch and loved the warm home baked cookies at the end!