Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Best Bites #8-The Knot Plot

One of the most depressing instances in modern life happens (but of course) on the treadmill. You wordlessly acknowledge to your reflection that, yes, indeed you are looking slimmer and fitter than usual. Only to step off the machine and realize that you had been straddling a mirror seam all along, thus visually shaving off about 30% of what’s actually there.

A similar effect takes place occasionally when presented with an order of garlic knots. I grew up on these knotted carbs, and I’ve had lots of amazing ones, and quite a few terribles. The golden light bounces back from each smooth surface topcoated with olive oil. The scent of garlic steams upward to you, and the whole glowing experience is really quite dramatic for a place with plastic tablecloths and iceberg lettuce. But many times they are overly chewy, not hot all the way through, or hard and flavorless. But they looked so good on the treadmill...

Milo and Olive is decidedly NOT a red sauce, shaker-can parm joint. They are a legitimate and cozy bakery and restaurant that is also the home of THE GREATEST GARLIC KNOT IN THE WORLD. (listed on the menu as wood-fired garlic knot, but don’t be fooled.)

Anytime you see “please allow 20 minutes” on a menu, just get it. Whatever it is. If it takes that long for this character to arrive, you know he’s going to bring a damn good plot point with him. And this garlic knot is exactly that: a plot point. You are having a certain kind of night, living a certain kind of story, and then this garlic knot shows up and changes everything. It’s the big reveal.

Less of a "knot," than a dough "bundle"-it is tied at the top Santa Sack Style, and obviously loaded with surprises. Have you ever had stunning olive oil? If you have to think about it, then probably not. That’s ok, because this lucky dough ball comes lounging in a pool of the stunning olive oil that will make you know that you have never had stunning olive oil before this night. It does not taste of oil. It tastes of OLIVES. Like the smooth froggy green marbles swimming like Pre-Cogs in their incubation pools at Whole Foods and specialty shops.

And just as you’re thinking “wow, that’s the first time I’ve wanted to drink straight olive oil,” somebody cuts into the damn thing. And out spill whole roasted cloves of garlic, bathed in more straw-worthy olive oil. Another unexpected plot point in the life of this humble garlic knot. I have described this moment to be like “cutting into a dead alien, and watching its shiny guts pile out.” It’s not gross in person, I swear. It’s actually just really breathtaking and delicious, and so much more interactive than your average garlic knot.

And if you’re very logistical about it, and you care enough, you will stack your fork with the chewy dough, the smooth softened garlic cloves, dip the whole cast into it’s olive oil paddling pool, and serve yourself an eyes-closed, world-stopped, fogged lens bite.

Incidentally, the pizza here is also the best pizza I have had in Los Angeles. I had butternut squash on mine, but you should just go with your gut. And then report back. So that I can go with your gut too. I hate being left behind.

Milo and Olive
2723 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403


  1. I totally agree with the pizza thing! =)

  2. You are such a good writer! Zoe & Josh and their garlic knots fo life. (Note: Huckleberry and Rustic are actually home to two of my fave LA bite too... the salted caramel at the former and burger at the latter. Will need to get myself to Milo + Olive so I can complete the trifecta!)