The 5 Kinds of Brunchers in LA
Some people go to church, others take a day to help out the needy, and some even make it to a 7am Soulcycle, but for most Angelenos, Sunday mornings are reserved for the greatest sport in all the land, brunching.
Break out your darkest sunglasses to protect your bloodshot hungover eyes from the harsh rays of the sun, and throw on your most stretchiest sweat pants, because you’re about to head into battle, armed with bottomless mimosas.
In a town that is obsessed with body image, dieting, and raw everything, there seems to be a loophole in the restrictive eating practices that LA has so famously mastered. Even though LA folks are notorious for expecting everything done with an unreasonable amount of speed, Angelenos will wait in line for up to an hour at their favorite brunch spot (prime example: The Griddle Café). This groundbreaking phenomenon has lead to millions of Instagram pics, and it seems that where you spend the hours between 10:30am and 2pm could be the most important social event of the week. Who you choose to brunch with says a lot about your inner circle, and you can appropriately judge a man on where he will take you out for eggs the morning after. While the LA brunch scene seems to be multiplying exponentially, there are a few classics and newbies that are a sure hit.
The Connoisseur: Republique
The restaurant that took over the space of Campanile not only makes Jonathan Gold’s top 101 LA restaurant list, but my very own highly competitive brunch list. The space boats a full service bar, ice cream counter, bakery, coffee shop, and breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus, so you can pretty much spend all day there if you don't have anything else on your calendar. The kimchi fried rice with poached eggs and beef shortribs is a highlight. The wild mushroom toast is topped with melt-in-your-mouth soft scrambled eggs. And if you get the Brioche French toast you will never be satisfied by any French toast again in your life. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The Old School: Nick’s Coffee Shop and Deli
Nick’s is your classic breakfast diner, serving up all of your original favorites with a whole lot of love and bacon grease. This family owned coffee shop has been around for years, and offers a cozy atmosphere with a lengthy menu at affordable prices. If you get a chance, sit at the counter and watch as the most experienced line cook prepares each dish with beautiful precision, and without using any of the pasteurized egg matter that many diners cook with to cut corners. Each egg is hand cracked and cooked to your heart’s delight, no matter how many long-time patrons shuffle in. While I’m not typically a hash brown girl, you absolutely must get the potatoes along with any of their decadent omelets.
The Trendsetter: Blu Jam Café
Blu Jam Café on Melrose may have the most used hashtag every Sunday, with teenage girls lining up for their favorite meal to fuel a day of shopping at the Melrose Trading Post flea market just a few blocks away. Perhaps their most famous dish is the Crunchy French Toast, which takes the typical breakfast item to a whole new level by encrusting the bread in a layer of cornflakes. And for the gals who are coming back from their hike up Runyon Canyon, the Health and Fitness menu has a variety of dishes under 600 calories (which is apparently difficult to achieve with brunch food).
The Hipster: Eggslut
Eggslut has set off a craze that has seemed to reach Angelenos even in the depths of the valley. This all day breakfast diner may have a limited menu, but for good reason, because they have truly perfected the art of the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Originally a Hispanic food and produce market, the introduction of Eggslut to the Grand Central Market has brought more Angelenos to the downtown district than ever before. The perfectly crafted sandwich may be a reason why so many artists, musicians, and other creative folks are heading to the city center like never before. Eggslut, or what some call Sexually Liberated Egg, may be the greatest phenomenon to hit the LA brunch scene since the introduction of Dupar’s.
The Adventurer: Golden Dragon Restaurant
For those who want something a bit off the beaten path, the tradition of Sunday dim sum is something that has been close to my heart since my grandparents started bringing me as a child. Dim sum is more than just a meal, it’s a highly interactive dining experience which involves a large banquet style room filled with women pushing metal carts carrying stacks of steamers filled with mysterious Chinese specialties. Perhaps the loudest brunch option in the city, this may not be the best option after a night of drinking, but it is certainly the most fun. There are many restaurants throughout Chinatown and the San Gabriel Valley that carry on the tradition, and for the most part, you can find the same menu at each. Golden Dragon is a very typical spot for regular dim sum enthusiasts, and offers a very complete menu. Don’t be afraid to sample something a bit wild, like chicken feet dumplings, because for the most part dim sum dining is some of the cheapest brunching around.
No matter how long and rough a week may be, you can always remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel sitting at your favorite brunch spot.