Occasional poster, longtime lurker on CH, hated the new format and missed so many posters banned essentially for being too interesting, and so glad to see them here (and I’m fuckin’ talking about you Kevin…)
In any event, my wife and I try to hit breakfast out at least once a week, and it just struck us how many great places there are between La Cienega and La Brea. A lot of them we take for granted and we go and there are not many folks, and it’s like “maybe people have forgotten,” so in the interest of keeping some places on the radar, and at the risk of reaffirming what people already know, just some quick hits on great breakfast/brunch spots in a pretty small area, at least by LA terms:
BLD still excellent. Great pancakes, outstanding and unique omelettes – the Spanish omelette is particularly good, Spanish Chorizo, Pimenton, just delicious. Great selection of toast/bread. Killer french press coffee.
The Larder at Burton Way. Okay, a pain in the ass to get to and park, depending on when you go. Neighborhood parking can be tough, and it is at one of the more " challenging" intersections of the City (La Cienega, San Vicente, Burton Way – I once had a friend declare “you just cannot get to this place going North on La Cienega” – spoken like a true LA native.) Shares a parking lot with a Trader Joe’s, which gives you an idea how “fun” parking is. But the food is terrific. The breakfast sandwiches are top rate – sopresatta, scrambled eggs and fontina on sourdough, is unusual and excellent. Lemon Ricotta pancakes are also solid. Good pastries as well. I think is kind of the poor step child of the Goin Empire, funky location and fairly small, but it is kind of a low key gem, at least for breakfast/brunch.
Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea between 1st and 2nd. Sometimes it is crazy busy on weekends, other times not so much, depending on weather, since the bulk of seating is outside, but the food is always outstanding. Go early on a weekend (8 am to 9:30 am and it is mostly folks with small kids who have probably been up since 5 am anyway), or somewhat later when the rush of folks with dogs come to sit on the patio, but pretty much everything is outstanding. An amazing Chorizo and egg sandwich, great Croque Madame, and the Rye Flour pancakes are some of the best pancakes in the city – not heavy, just a little rye flour to cut the sweetness and really crunchy edges. And the breads and pastries are by Karen Hatfield, so they are pretty amazing. (I’m talking Creme Fraiche Breakfast Muffin, but there is always something different in the case…) Terrific coffee – I think it is Stumptown.
Republique on La Brea. An excellent place for dinner, but well worth a special trip for breakfast/brunch. This one is not flying under anyone’s radar, as it is always busy on weekends, but not so much during the week. Pretty much everything is outstanding. The pastries are interesting and delicious, as are the breakfast sandwiches. If you are a mushroom fan the mushroom toast is one of the best mushroom dishes in the city – incredibly rich – soft-scrambled eggs, house-cured ham, red wine sauce and various varieties of mushrooms and the Breakfast Sandwich, eggs, American cheese and pork belly is kind of a Bodega Egg sandwich on steroids. Outstanding coffee too.
Stir Market, Beverly at Gardner. Not breaking any new ground here, as Stir Market is jammed after 10 am weekends, though it is surprisingly quiet during the week. The breakfast/brunch menu is fairly small, but well executed – a nice Breakfast sandwich with eggs, lettuce and roasted tomato, moroccan baked eggs with merguez sausage, farm eggs, tomatoes, chickpeas, and peppers, very unique, and a farro & kale breakfast bowl that hit the spot with my Vegan daughter. Excellent coffee. Seating is a bit tight though.
Paper or Plastik Cafe, Ogden at Pico, between Fairfax and La Brea. Okay, this place is a bit hipster, with a vibe that there is plenty more going on at night than during the day, but the fact is that the breakfast is solid, with lots of interesting choices – Breakfast sandwich, a chive and cheddar cheese biscuit with bacon and fig jam, creamy polenta bowl, with fried egg, balsamic reduction, spinach and feta cheese, and a solid Huevos Rancheros. The coffee is outstanding (And it should be, because sometimes it takes forever to get it…“Wait a second, got to take a picture of the foam on the latte --its perfect” – Barrista to customer who waited ten minutes for Latte…–I told you it was a bit hipster.) Nonetheless, really different and excellent.
Yeah, I’ve left off some other places in the general area – Joan’s on Third, always really good but almost always a zoo. And Toast – I just don’t get it crowd wise. The food is okay, but nothing interesting.
Honorable mention Shaky Alibi, Beverly at Martel. Liege style waffles (NOT BELGIAN WAFFLES, as they will remind you, although nicely.) Thin, crisp and delicious with the traditional graham cracker speculoos topping, or savory toppings, kind of one note, but what they do, they do perfectly. And particularly excellent coffee.