Brunching is the city-wide pastime of Los Angeles. It’s what most friends, couples and families are doing on a Saturday or Sunday morning, whether you’re in Beverly Hills or your own kitchen.
Here are some of my top spots for brunch in Los Angeles that I tried this summer.
Located in the Brentwood Country Mart (much more fancy and less cabin-in-the-woods than it sounds), Farmshop serves brunch at its restaurant, adjacent to the food market that offers cheeses, wines, luxe sodas and imported pastas. My Tamworth Prosciutto & Crescenza Omelet ($23) was very soft with a beautiful cook, and came with a bit of heirloom tomato as a side treat. However, the croissant was too airy and crunchy (I have high standards). And clearly the plating isn’t great with the three pieces thrown onto the plate. But the egg’s flavors were nice and the shopping experience afterwards is worth a trip (stop by Goop’s lab store or Diesel bookstore).
Home State, dubbed the Texas kitchen, serves breakfast burritos all day. Normally I’m a corn tortilla girl, but their homemade flour tortillas are perfectly soft. The scrambled eggs in the guadalupe taco ($3.50) added a delicious soft texture, and the salted chocolate chip cookie for dessert ($2.50) is perfect to share. Complaints: presentation, served wrapped in foil for convenience, but certainly not pretty. But there’s good deals at Home State.
Blu Jam Cafe
Blu Jam Cafe, with its multiple locations in Los Angeles, is a popular spot (Adam Levine goes). I ordered the Norwegian eggs benedict ($16.95) with salmon lox and dill. Have to say the dill was a little too much for me, but the egg was cooked well. I loved the crispy potatoes that come with the dish, and enjoyed the fragrant coconut cream tea pot I ordered ($4.95).
But have to say the spinach on the benedict made it a bit soggy. Blu Jam is well known for its benedict and the crunchy French toast, so I’ll try the sweet option next time. The atmosphere is above average, as apparent by a 20-30 minute wait, even if you go early in the morning.
Famed chefs Jon & Vinny own Animal on Fairfax, dishing out hearty meat selections. The “thing” about Animal is that many dishes are meant to be shared, so portions are small and you try many things. The best plate my friends and I ordered was the peach toast, a delicious take on French toast with cinnamon sugar butter and mascarpone ($15), pictured. We also tried the “truck stop” with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast ($18); we all agreed the one slice of toast was the best part, but happily ate our half a piece of bacon and sausage each (did I mention portions are small?).
Finally, we had the hamachi tostada with fish sauce vinaigrette, peanut and avocado ($19) and again the portion is tiny. The palette was the most advanced, with a hint of spice on the soft tuna with cool greens on top. Go for the peach toast.
The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker
Dare I say pay a visit for the name (and the Instagram tag) alone? But no, this was actually a pleasant surprise. The banana fosters French toast ($15) was fabulous; very soft, sweet and moist. Quite possibly the best French toast I’ve ordered in a restaurant. In fact, it was so tasty that the bananas felt unnecessary and took away from the melt-in-your-mouth toast.
The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker has a nice ambience with indoor and outdoor seating on what resembles a Grecian patio with olive trees. There’s plenty of seats, but the wait is still long (1.5 hours for me on a Saturday).
Harajuku Crepe, near Rodeo Drive, functions more as a Japanese dessert shop on-the-go than a sit-down brunch restaurant. However, if you’re looking for a quick, cheap bite in Beverly Hills, their crepes are very delicious. The American (strawberry, banana, nutella and Vanilla ice cream) is a personal fave, but Harajuku Crepe offers savory choices and build-your-own crepes (cooked fresh), with most costing about $6. It’s quite convenient for Rodeo wannabe shoppers.
Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar just opened on Melrose Avenue (with a two hour plus line to go with it). Though she’s famous for her cereal milk soft serve ice cream with cornflake topping, there’s also Los Angeles exclusive brunch options like corn bread, pistachio-lemon brioche and egg chorizo. Or maybe just swing by after lunch for the ice cream and compost cookies.
Leo’s Taco Truck
Okay, honorable mention here because it’s not technically brunch, but if you want to go for lunch with friends and want authentic Mexican food, I highly recommend the very affordable Leo’s Taco Truck on La Brea. Their al pastor is to die for, and I also love carnitas street tacos. I went with a friend — we got five tacos and two horchatas, and the total was about $10. It’s a steal.
After picking up your tacos from the window, add your own amount of onions, cilantro and lime. Stand in the gas station parking lot to eat the goodies off a paper plate or take them to go. It’s my favorite taco spot in L.A. along with Pinches Tacos for real flavor.