Weekend brunch at Playa
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Weekend brunch at Playa is a revelation. First of all, it’s wonderful to experience the light-drenched space in the daytime, without the crowds and the buzz. It’s a tranquil time, especially if you get there early. A cook bends over the tortilla press, arranging flower petals for the tortillas florales just so. The bartender mixes up a Bloody Mary made with rye and muddled basil for someone waiting for a friend.
In the light, you can appreciate the design details -- the pattern of the tiles, the sheen of the tabletops, the texture of the upholstery, the sizzling color palette.
Start things off with blue corn muffins with almond butter. I have to stop myself from eating the entire order. Seriously. Or try those tortillas florales with marmalade.
Then go for the duck hash with Weiser Family Farms fingerling potatoes, sweet peppers and a slow-cooked egg. (That’s a trick that renders the yolk and the white the same quivery texture.)
Other dishes include a tamal of cracked corn and pulled pork, topped with a sunny side up egg. And a fine version of eggs Benedict made with jamon and a chipotle-fired béarnaise. Chef John Sedlar knows his béarnaise: He was trained by the late Jean Bertranou of L’Ermitage and his first restaurant, Saint Estèphe, was nouvelle French with a Southwestern twist. (To note: All through September Sedlar will be cooking Saint Estèphe’s signature dishes from the ‘80s at Rivera downtown.)
The coffee at Playa is excellent, and if you don’t need caffeine to get going in the morning, get the Spanish drinking chocolate with house-made passion fruit marshmallows. Zing!
Check out Playa’s brunch menu here.
7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 933-5300; www.playarivera.com. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch items, $6 to $15.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Top photo: Blue corn muffins with almond butter.