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Fresh, Picturesque Treats at New Milo and Olive

The newest Santa Monica restaurant and bakery from Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan—the couple behind Huckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery and Rustic Canyon—is now open.

No surprise: there's no Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks breakfast sandwiches at Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan's newest Santa Monica venture, the newly opened bakery and restaurant Milo and Olive.

Just down the hill from , and , there are flaky buttery croissants, poached pear tarts with tall crusts, bacon scones, lemon curd with mandarin oranges, and perfectly formed muffins.

Loeb and Nathan use high quality ingredients and indulge in their flair for visually engaging food. Walk past their already well-established eatery Huckleberry to find a bakery display that's difficult not to photograph.

Loeb and Nathan hadn't planned to open another restaurant. 

What they needed, they said, was additional room to make bread, so they took over the property near Harvard and Wilshire. They ended up with a little more space than they needed, and opened Dec. 1 for lunch and dinner. 

"Then we thought we'd sell pizzas in front," Loeb said, sounding a lot like a homeowner doing a remodel that took on a life of its own.

It explains why the dining room occupies only one-third of the space. With a total of 24 seats (eight at the bar and 16 at two communal tables), Loeb expects "50 percent of the business to be take out because the dining space is so limited."

The husband and wife co-owners' forte is creating exceptionally well-prepared comfort food. And that's the focus of their newest restaurant and bakery at 2723 Wilshire Blvd.  

The pizzas hold their own to the likes of Stella Rosso and Pizzeria Mozza: a margherita is topped with a sunny side fried egg (a $3 add-on) and crispy chanterelles, maitake, beech and oyster mushrooms are paired with melted Fontina cheese, for example.

The paired down menu also boasts salads, vegetable sides and a selection of meats and seafood, including a branzino ceviche; chicken meatballs, sausages and cannellini beans in broth; and braised beef short rib with grits and greens.

Green beans are marinated with a generous portion of Drake Family Farms goat cheese, the roasted pumpkin in brown butter and sage from McGrath Farms and a mix of lettuces from Coleman farms are piled high on a plate with avocado, pomegranate and pine nut gremolata.

Milo and Olive is a casual neighborhood hangout ideal for take-out or for a quick  glass of wine or beer accompanied by a salad, pizza, or dessert and a coffee.

The bakery is open from 7-11 a.m. The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices range $5-20.

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