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Nicole Rucker’s long-awaited bakery, Fiona, opens today along Fairfax

Nicole Rucker bakery on Fairfax Fiona in Los Angeles
Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

In L.A.’s age of restaurant saturation and instant gratification, few concepts feel worth the wait—but there’s no doubt that Fiona is the exception. Finally, after a year delay and an even longer stretch of pop-ups and guest appearances, Nicole Rucker’s bakery is now open, bringing her homey pastries, pies, cookies and hearty loaves of bread to one of the city’s busiest restaurant stretches. 

But there’s more to Fiona than the bakery—though that alone would be enough for us. The award-winning Rucker, who’s stocked the shelves and pastry cases of the likes of Cofax and Gjusta, teamed up with former Simbal chef Shawn Pham to create an all-day café menu centered on internationally-inspired toasts and collaborative plates. As of today, the sunny, black-and-white tiled space on Fairfax is now home to a mouth-watering pastry case that’s packed with bundt cakes and crinkle cookies, while the kitchen is stocked with seaweed-topped toast drenched in a dashi-like butter sauce.

Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

The pastry case will rotate items daily, informed by the seasons and Rucker’s whim: Biscuits slathered with quince jam; chocolate bundt cake; and kabocha-squash pie by the slice might be available one day, wedges of apple crumble available the next. Crusty, inviting loaves of bread in a handful of styles sit behind the counter, and can be sliced upon request. (And, for those in need of last-minute Thanksgiving pies, they have those on hand, too.)

It’s this bread that serves as the opening menu’s base for Pham’s toasts, which come thickly sliced, griddled and then topped with black garlic, dates and chives; yogurt, chutney and fried curry leaves; honey, salt and black and gold sesame pastes and more. On December 3, Fiona will stretch its culinary wings—and hours—with a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, and extend to 10pm nightly. 

 

Pham and Rucker
Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

 

It’s then you’ll be able to find an even larger range of collaborative plates, including chicken noodle soup with miso; celery root pancakes topped with green apple remoulade, smoked trout and pickled celery; and masa cakes with avocado and red onions.

For now, you can stop into Fiona for a casual lunch, a slice of cake, or, perhaps, some upscale cookware. Before you make your way to the pastry case, you’ll be greeted by a table covered in boutique kitchen items—we’re talking wooden butter knives, stainless steel reusable straws, sourdough-and-sea-salt Pump Street Chocolate, a rainbow of stationary, Bellocq tea leaves and everything else we’d like to drain our bank accounts for. You can even take home bags of Fiona’s own coffee blends, roasted by way of Inglewood’s Las Lilas.

Take a peek at just a few of the dishes you’ll find at Fiona, then drop by and taste them, yourself:

 

Fresh baguettes
Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

 

 

 

 

Vanilla chiffon cake with ruby quince
Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

 

 

 

 

Black-garlic toast
Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

 

 

Celery-root pancake
Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

 

 

Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

Photograph: Courtesy Fiona/Alan Gastelum

Fiona is now open at 339 N Fairfax Ave, with hours of 8am to 8pm, daily. Extended hours begin December 3 with the launch of dinner service.

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