By S. Irene Virbila
Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
December 8, 2012
I'm always receiving emails or texts from friends needing to know (right away!) where to go for breakfast in this or that neighborhood. The first meal of the day is ideal for catching up with friends or meeting up with a colleague or out-of-town visitor. The hours are elastic. Breakfast can sometimes stretch to afternoon. Many places have outdoor seating, the better to show off our glorious weather to East Coasters. And you can eat very well for a fraction of what it would cost for dinner — and without feeling as if someone is breathing down your neck for your table.
New spots are sprouting up here and there, just in time for late fall and winter, the seasons when you really do feel like something more substantial than a morning pastry and a cappuccino. Keep in mind too that, come January, Sherry Yard (Spago forever) will be serving breakfast at Father's Office as part of the rollout of the bakery she's opening in the Helms Bakery complex next year with Sang Yoon.
Artisanal jam maker Jessica Koslow has just opened up her L.A. workshop for breakfast. Expect toast, of course, in this case, an inch-thick slice of buttery brioche topped with a choice of her artful confitures. I'm partial to Warren pear butter or kumquat jam myself. Behind the two bars, the folks from G&B coffee will get you started with brewed or espresso drinks, even a latte with housemade almond milk. Chef Ria Wilson (Canelé) is right there preparing cocottes with farm eggs and a dash of cream, brown rice porridge with a dab of jam, or fried egg with hot sauce and greens. You'll need multiple visits to work your way through the menu. Outdoor seating in front and around the corner.
720 N. Virgil Ave., No. 4, L.A., (213) 394-6526, http://www.sqirlla.com. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.
Casey Lane's downtown L.A. gastropub started serving breakfast in October. It's a rather limited menu based on housemade biscuits with various toppings. That could be grilled escarole and egg or sage egg with sausage. At about $4 each, quite the bargain. Not so much for the diminutive huckleberry doughnut at $5. But I did love the fresh fried beignets shaggy with powdered sugar. These are irresistible with a cup of joe. Service needs some tweaking, though. You order from the counter and the line moves slowly. "Too bad a food critic isn't here today," quipped a customer behind me on a disorganized Saturday morning.
840 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 225.2400, http://www.TheParishLA.com. Breakfast 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. daily.
The new place from Marta Teegen and Robert Stelzner, of the soulful Echo Park grocery Cookbook, is a small-plates restaurant. It's housed in a lovely brick building just off Sunset, changes the menu just about every day, has a friendly vibe and gives a nod to local farmers. You get the idea. Open only a few weeks, they've just added weekend brunch — more savory than sweet, says Teegen, with eggs fried Spanish-style in olive oil and served with farro, black lentils, fried shallots and harissa. Or maybe with Anson Mills polenta, Taleggio cheese and braised winter greens. They make grilled flatbreads to order too. On any morning you can get one of their prosciutto-butter sandwiches on ficelle, a seasonal fruit galette or quiche with your Sightglass coffee from San Francisco.
1356 Allison Ave., at West Sunset Boulevard, Echo Park, (213) 481-8015, http://www.restaurantcortez.com. Weekend brunch, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., other days breakfast starts at 10 a.m.
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