Although it is tricky to find, everyone who has made their way into Hinoki & The Bird’s beautiful dining room knows that the hunt is one worth making. Nestled down between rows of Century City’s glittery hotels and Hollywood agencies, Hinoki & the Bird feels calm and earthy, the entire dining room lined in reclaimed wood. The back patio is light-washed and garden-lined, retaining it’s sense of calm even throughout it’s power-packed lunch hour.
Chef Kuniko Yagi, formerly of Comme Ça, brings Japanese and French influence into a solidly California place with recipes like the one below. Watch out, avocado toast – this colorful baguette makes for a sweet and nourishing breakfast on-the-go or the perfect treat for a gathering of your closest girlfriends. Make this toast at home or enjoy on the patio at Hinoki & The Bird along with braised shitake mushrooms, crispy kale and a freshly-made Hinoki Swizzle with elderflower, apples and champagne.
1 kabocha or butternut squash (2 to 2 ½ lb)
5 oz pumpkin seeds, toasted
5 oz goat cheese
10 tsp honey
1 baguette, cut into 10 slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fill the bottom of a steamer with 2 inches of water. Peel and cut the squash (remove seeds) into 1-inch cubes. Add to steamer and cook for 7 minutes or until soft and tender. Transfer to a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Using a wooden spoon, smash into a smooth texture.
Cut baguette into slices. Brush with olive oil and toast.
To build the toast, add a spoonful or two of squash, then add 3 teaspoons of crumbled goat cheese, 1 teaspoon of honey, 3 teaspoons of toasted pumpkin seeds, and a pinch of sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with a fresh squeeze of lemon.