Rustic Canyon Makes Beautiful Use of California’s Bounty

Executive Chef Andy Doubrava and Pastry Chef Erika Chan share the inspiration behind five dishes on the menu.

By Izzy Johnson
Jun 16, 2022
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“We don't even think about dishes as “vegetarian” or “carnivorous,” it just happens that way,” says Andy Doubrava, Executive Chef at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California. Jeremy Fox’s restaurant, a fixture in Californian cuisine for nearly two decades, is known for being hyper seasonal.

“We change the menu at least a little bit every day,” says Chef Doubrava. “In the summertime it’s more raw produce and seafood. In the winter, it's more decadent—slow cooked pork and vegetables. It kind of ebbs and flows like anything else. And of course it helps being in Santa Monica where all of the produce is, you know, immaculate,” he laughs.

Rustic Canyon truly knows how to do produce justice. The menu is packed full of beautiful dishes for every diet—omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are welcome. With such seasonal bounty, you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose, but here are five dishes that Chef Doubrava and Pastry Chef Erika Chan love.

Beets and Berries

“This is the one thing that never changes, never leaves the menu. It’s a Jeremy Fox classic. It’s pickled red beets, red quinoa, and avocado mixed with a little bit of garlic. We also add blackberries and raspberries from Tamai Family Farms and finally, pistachios that we mix dried beet so it looks like dirt. We call that soil.” —A.D.

Grilled Turnips

“These carrot shaped turnips are a variety called hinona kabu from County Line Harvest, in Petaluma, California. We poach them in a fennel broth, then grill over charcoal. They’re sliced up and covered with this really awesome cheese sauce made from mimolette cheese and smoked garlic. The cheese sauce goes into a siphon, which gives it that whipped texture. We garnish with some pickles— these are celery root— and finish with a bit of chili.” —A.D.

Twice Cooked Squash

“We steam the honeynut squash, scoop out the inside, mix it with a little bit of smoked garlic and squash miso, purée that, and put it back in the squash. Then we steam it again to bring it back together. Next, it gets bruléed and covered with squash seeds that have been fried and fermented. All that goes over a vadouvan curry cream sauce with cheese.

The squash miso is actually from around this time last year when we were getting to the end of the season. We took a bunch of squash and mixed it with koji, knowing that we’d want to use it for the squash dish next year. I do that a lot with things—when we get to the end of the season, I try to preserve it. It’s cool to season this year's vegetables with last year's version of it.” —A.D.

Carrot Cake

“It’s a tres leches-style cake with carrot curd on the bottom. We make our own sweetened condensed milk, and instead of just milk in the cake, I use carrot juice. Then there's some carrot powder in the cake for color, and on top is a home homemade cream cheese whipped cream. I decorate it with Mandarin orange meringues, carrot pâte de fruits, and carrot chips, which are sliced, compressed in simple syrup, and laid out in a dehydrator.” —E.C.

Beets and Berries Cake

“This is our celebration or birthday cake. It’s a play on the beets and berries dish that Chef Doubrava talked about. It’s a lamington, so a sponge cake with jam. The sponge has some beet powder in it, and I put berry jam between the layers, then I cover the whole thing in chocolate glaze, and roll it in homemade cookie crumbs.” —E.C.