After studying in New York and working at Jardinière and Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, baker extraordinaire Zoe Nathan moved back to her native Santa Monica, where she fell in love with Rustic Canyon Wine Bar owner Josh Loeb after their moms, who are book-club buddies, set them up. Then the couple set about building one of Los Angeles’ most formidable yet down-to-earth restaurant empires, opening Huckleberry Bakery & Café in 2009, followed by Sweet Rose Creamery, Milo & Olive, Cassia, and Esters Wine Shop & Bar, which opened in the summer of 2015.
Nathan and Loeb are bringing that energy to Food & Wine Weekend on April 16, when they’re preparing a six-dish lunch featuring roast chicken, braised brisket, spring mac and cheese, strawberry pie, and more. Though she laments not visiting Santa Barbara more, Nathan did check out the Funk Zone while researching Esters and found that we’ve “become really a pretty awesome food community.”
A mother of three, Nathan usually turns down off-site cooking events like this one, but Loeb was adamant, so she’s excited to get away. “My husband and I like to make space in the world, and hopefully it will be a fun space where people eat too much and hopefully drink too much in the middle of the day,” she said. “I don’t know if we can teach them anything. We can feed them, get them tipsy, and call you an Uber. That’s what we can do for the world.”
And that, thankfully, is about all anyone will be seeking that afternoon.
Central Coast Farm-Style Lunch, Sat., Apr. 16, 12:30-2 pm, $75