I am visiting LA more and more, and each time finding new ways to start my day. Enjoy:
Guerrilla Tacos – Now a full service restaurant in the Arts District
This taco truck is putting everything fancy and good on a taco like they don’t give a fuck. Oxtail and foie gra. Uni and hamachi. Crab with a poached egg. Lamb meatball tortas. But don’t even start to roll your eyes, my dear $2 taco traditionalists. They throw down like the best when it comes to carnitas. Yes, you’re paying more for a taco, because the menu changes daily based on the availability of fresh, well-cared for ingredients. Tortillas are nice and toasty and the salsas are bright. I loved that they also had a few veggie options the day I visited:
~Sunchoke taco with persimmon, castlevaltrano olives, almond chile, scallions, pistachio.
~McGrath farms baby rapini and bacon taco with fried egg, aged English coastal cheddar, arbol chile, chives.
~Baby Artichoke quesadilla with Oaxacan cheese, queso fresco, raw tomatillo chile, avocado, red pepper escabeche, herbs.
Shut up already, Guerrilla.
I visited them outside of Blacktop Coffee, right in the heart of the arts district. There’s a hipster lifestyle store (is that what those places with well-crafted things you don’t need and ill-fitting boxy dresses are called?) and a juice stand right there to keep you entertained while you wait. Walk around the block to enjoy the murals and grab a slice of pie at the pie hole.
Pesto sorrel rice bowl could be so boring and hippie. But SQIRL is one of those places where every damn thing is a million times more delicious than you think it should be. Even though I was confused by that lonely translucent slice of watermelon radish that was not quite an ingredient but not pretty enough to be a garnish, I didn’t care once I dug in. That creamy, rich sheep feta. That tang of preserved meyer lemon. Jesus. This menu, full of seasonal hashes and juice and jam and breakfast bowls is exactly how I want to eat every morning.
I’m over the bacon fad but never the bacon waffle. This place makes a great one. If there was a taste expression for doing a double take their biscuit made me do that. The 1-inch thick french toast tasted like brioche soaked in buttermilk. It was like I was a walking shiny cube of European butter after this meal: higher in fat content, but feelin classy. Make a reservation.
Superba Food + Bread
Save for a few exceptions, Venice actually begs for some good food. While I’ve made it a routine to stop at Gjelina for a little duck sausage pizza on route from the airport to Topanga, I haven’t figured where else to stop for a quick, good lunch. I think this is it. The pastries and the place are equally as pretty. The former autobody shop mixes splashes of wood, yellow, green and blue, and a side wall covered in black and white food illustrations opens into a sunny sidewalk patio. It’s airy and comfortable. I feel like I’m in Southern California when I’m here.
The menu feels just as effortless. There’s a coffee bar where you can grab pastries to munch on while you wait to be seated. Toast options range from sweet to savory— we enjoyed the prosciutto with cultured butter and arugula. The frisee salad with slow cooked egg and bacon confit was perfectly done.
Expect a short wait during weekend brunch.
If I ever have to get some work done in the east side I know where I’m headed. Well, provided it’s not raining. This LA-based coffee roaster has a cozy cafe, the bulk of it an outside astroturf patio, complete with leather booths, colorful lawn chairs, and bouganvia hanging from the walls. It’s about time someone made sitting in silence and staring at our laptops more comfortable.
In between meals: Check out the Grandes Maestros exhibit at the Natural History Museum!