Chances are that if you are a living, breathing human-being you’ve been a victim of the Hangrys. You know, that feeling when you’re so incredibly irritable that the sound of someone sneezing on the street sends shudders down your spine and you wonder how much attention they REALLY need. Or when you pick a fight with your significant other because you just don’t think you can go on in this relationship if they don’t start squeegeeing the shower doors like you asked. Or like, you’re in traffic on the freeway and the person in front of you isn’t racing like a bat out of hell to the car in front of them so naturally their mother is a bitch and you wish them a premature death (we’ve all done it. Don’t lie to yourself). Bottom line is that being Hangry turns you into a fucking monster and its not a good look on you, sorry but someone needed to tell you. Luckily for you, if you live in LA or are visiting, I can save you from yourself and maybe even save your loved ones and strangers from you.
Breakfast & Brunch:
- Joans On 3rd https://joansonthird.com – I want to preface this recommendation by saying that I exclusively go to the location in Studio City. The one on 3rd is just too chaotic for me and lets face facts, she’s a valley girl. This isn’t just a breakfast place, it’s an everything place. On any given day the market place is packed with pretty much anything you can think of and it’s all good…But what I am here for every weekend are the pancakes. They come out piping hot with about 3 tablespoons of butter on the top and are served with REAL maple syrup (god be with you if you ever serve me fake maple syrup. Plan on sleeping with one eye open from now on till the rest of forever). I’m going to need everyone to take a moment right now and make a conscious decision to reserve their judgment. Ready? Ok. I get the pancakes with a side of hash browns. These aren’t just regular hash browns, they are the most crispy, butter drenched, perfectly salty hash browns you’ve ever had. Double carbo-cide is a thing and I commit it every weekend.
- Friends & Family http://www.friendsandfamilyla.com – I hate East Hollywood, like hate it, that’s how you know how good this place is because I happily travel for the breakfast here. Every time I come here I binge eat, and that’s not because I have no self control ( I don’t) but its because there are too many amazing options to choose from. Their pastry case is more beautiful and has brought me closer to God than seeing the Sistine Chapel in person and I speak from firsthand experience. I always get a croissant as an appetizer, because bread, and because I have a theory that if anything is homemade it’s healthy. Get on my level. Follow that with the Olive Oil Fried Eggs (they’re served with harisa and their fresh baked olive bread) and the Baked Buckwheat Pancake that’s served with seasonal preserves and barrel-aged maple syrup. It takes 20 min to bake and its basically a hot, thick ass cake but I think it’s GF (don’t take my word for it if you have a gluten intolerance) and it’s homemade so = HEALTHY.
- Go Get Em Tiger https://gget.com – There are multiple locations of this coffee shop/cafe but I have only eaten at the one in Los Feliz. Let me explain something to you, I didn’t really care about cookies before the chocolate chip cookie here changed my life. Like, they were fine, I didn’t have a particular problem with them but they were probably one of the last items in a pastry case I would go for. Well, the cookie here is life changing; It’s crispy on the edges, soft and chewy in the center, there are giant pieces of flake salt on the top and it’s homemade…you know what I’m getting at here. One time we came and were next in line to order and I noticed that there was only one cookie left in the case and it was one of the most suspenseful few minutes of my life. Don’t worry, I ended up getting the cookie in question. Now for the real food, that’s just a starter; I always get the Protein Brekkie which is soft scrambled eggs (I get mine well done because, ew), delicious nitrate free bacon, half an avocado and some greens. Pro tip: GET IT WITH THE TOAST. They use Bub and Grandma’s bread, which is a local baker here in LA and no shit it’s the best toast I have ever had and you guys know how seriously I take bread. Other hits on the menu are the breakfast burrito and the yeast raised waffle if you can get over the word “yeast” being associated with something you want to put in your mouth. Oh ya, don’t forget some coffee, it’ll have you grinding your jaw all damn day.
- Bluestone Lane https://bluestonelane.com/cafes/flower-shop/ – You might know Bluestone Lane already, they have multiple locations in NYC and seem to be opening more and more locations all around at a rapid pace. The cute Aussie cafe serves great coffee and a big menu of great food, but, and I’m hesitant to even write this because I know what you’re going to think, “Ugh another basic bitch blogger in LA recommending avocado toast. GAG.”, but believe me when I tell you, if there is a place to get avocado toast this would be it. The bread FANTASTIC (are you catching onto a theme with me yet?), they pile on the equivalent of probably 2 whole avocados and a generous smattering of olive oil, lemon juice and feta cheese. Drool. Also, make sure to get a side order of their potatoes, they are carbohydrate crack. The breakfast burrito is good and so is their Rainbow Bowl if you’re looking for something a little lighter. I have yet to try their Fried Chicken Sanga (is that some kind Australian slang for sandwich?) but I have eyeballed it so hard it might be pregnant with my child, oh and it’s on my radar for next time
- Tere’s Mexican Grill – http://www.teresmexicangrill.com/home – Growing up in L.A., strip-mall Mexican restaurants are a dime a dozen and everyone seems to have their favorite but, unlike all those people, my opinion is the correct one. The only 3 words you need to know: CHIPS AND GUAC. Tere’s has the absolute best. I don’t know how they did it but the avocado gods have blessed them and bestowed some sacred knowledge unto them on how to prepare a guacamole that is better than anything we humans deserve and I am forever grateful. After I gorge myself on all that and right before i should be rolling myself out of the establishment my carne asada quesadilla arrives. The cheese to meat ratio is always perfect; believe it or not there is such thing as too much cheese when it comes to a quesadilla. Then you’re left dealing with a soggy, floppy mess and no one needs that kind of negativity in their lives. I order the ‘dilla with a double side of beans, which are vegetarian and incredible as I am not a rice fan, don’t @ me. Over the past 15 + years this is all I ever order here. I hear people love the breakfast burrito but once you go quesadilla you never go back.
- Mendocino Farms – https://www.mendocinofarms.com – Ok, so Mendo is a chain, but you know what? When the world is as chaotic as it’s been lately, sometimes you crave some consistency in your life. The staff is always happy and friendly (sometimes maybe a little TOO much so) and the chic barn aesthetic has me feeling like I am eating fresh AF farm to table and you know what, maybe I am. They use ingredients that are carefully sourced by local bakers and farmers and meat products that are ethical and free from harmful additives and antibiotics (aka you can have the bacon here, it’s nitrate free). My favorites on the menu are The Avocado & Quinoa Superfood Ensalada and the Study Of Heat sandwich, sub the white bread for the organic seeded whole grain and thank me later. Make sure to take advantage of trying everything in the deli case and get an Arnold Palmer. The slogan here is “Eat Happy” and dagnabbit (am I a 300 year old oil prospector?) I will!
- Pizzeria Mozza https://pizzeriamozza.com – If I were to have a love affair with a restaurant it would be Pizza Mozza. I love it, like a LOT. There was a point in time where it was becoming borderline a problem, like going every week and sharing a bottle of wine and multiple pizzas PROBLEM. All of a sudden I was randomly gaining weight and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why… It definitely wasn’t related to the copious pizza consumption. Pizza Mozza is Nancy Silverton’s restaurant. If you’re not aware of who that is I highly recommend watching her Episode on Chef’s Table on Netflix. Nancy loves bread as much as I do and basically devoted her life to creating the most perfect pizza dough EVER. To call her a hero would be undermining her accomplishments. I could go on and on for hours talking about the greatness that is Nancy and how my life is forever improved by her presence on this Earth but instead I am going to do you a favor and drop my Pizza Mozza knowledge: Start with Nancy’s Chopped Salad and the Pane Bianco (that’s Italian for “life changing bread”. Ok, it’s not. I made that up but that’s what it should be called). The chopped is kind of a normal chopped salad but elevated because of the quality of all the ingredients. It comes out in the shape of a mountain, it’s a legitimate salad mountain and we always finish it. I know that you’re probably thinking to yourself “Wow big deal. So you finish a SALAD.” but did I mention its a mountain?! There are a billion amazing pizzas on the menu and all are good, but the BEST is the Bianca, which is a white pizza topped with fried sage. For the love of God and all things holy make sure you order this pizza. Next, and listen very carefully to me, order the following; You are going to go down the menu and locate the Bianco Dinapoli Pomodoro portion of the menu and order the Tomato, Sicilian Oregano & Extra Virgin Olive Oil pizza and you are going to add mother effing burrata to it. Why? Because you deserve to be happy and if there is one thing Nancy might know better than bread it’s cheese. After you eat all your pizzas, crust included because you’re not a little bitch, you are going to order dessert. The menu changes seasonally and I’m a little conflicted as I write this because our current favorite isn’t on the menu right now, which, in case Nancy is reading this, is the Caramel Copetta. I don’t want to get into too much detail in case they don’t bring it back but just know there is caramel gelato, marshmallow fluff, caramel sauce and salted peanuts involved. People also love the Butterscotch Budino but TBH its not my favorite. Be adventurous and go with a seasonal special. You are going to be so full at this point that you’ll be sweating and indigested but oh so happy.
- Kismet https://www.kismetlosangeles.com/kismet-about – Walking into Kismet feels like the LA equivalent of walking into a restaurant in the Lower East Side where you are probably not young enough or cool enough to be. People in interesting clothes kind of stare at you and look you up and down as you’re walked to your table but the food is good enough to justify the potential high school related PTSD flashbacks. The menu at Kismet is Middle Eastern inspired meets California cuisine. There are plenty of vegetarian options, in fact, almost everything I order here is vegetarian. I’m experiencing some mild embarrassment as I get ready to type this, as I can’t believe I’m actually going to talk about bread again, but here we are…Get the bread, actually order both types of bread; The House Barbari Bread & the Flaky Bread (this isn’t on the menu as being served by itself but just ask for it). The flaky bread reminds me exactly of a Roti bread you would get at a thai restaurant, its cooked with butter and is the consistency of a croissant but flat like a thin pancake. Dead. It’s hard for me to make recommendations here because everything I have ever ordered is great, but if I were forced to be concise and give you the greatest hits they would be the following: Lemony Chicken and Pine Nut Pies (think greek spanakopita), Marinated Feta, Persian Cucumbers, Tahini with stewed beans, fennel & chili, and lastly, that star of the show, the Jeweled Crispy Rice. You’re going to be VERY full but try something on the dessert menu, its fancy which also means it’s a small serving. The Chocolate Coconut Pudding is next level and you will have just had so much salt that something sweet is obligatory. My ONE gripe with Kismet is a personal one that many won’t share; I am not a fan of their wine menu. The options are too interesting for me, I will be the first to admit that I probably just don’t have the pallet for such things. The good news is that the corkage fee is extremely reasonable.
- Sri Siam Cafe https://www.srisiamcafe.com – When I was considering what restaurants to include in this post this one was the one I was hesitant to include. Why? Because I’m selfish AF and want to keep it to myself. Sri Siam is a little cafe in a strip mall next to a 7/11 in North Hollywood that’s been there for 35 years and it is oh SO good. For a long long time I only ordered take out from them, being a valley dweller myself (818 for life). Then one day I went into pick up my order and realized I was seriously missing out. I think we can all agree that take out is never as good as getting something fresh and hot from a restaurant and if this place was a 10/10 on their take out food I figured my mind was about to be blown on my dine in experience. I was correct. The staff is SO kind, they treat you like family and, while the ambiance might leave something to be desired, the service makes up for it. My usual order is as follows: Crispy Rice Salad w/ Thai sausage. I could take or leave the sausage, its kind of a mystery meat but Travis digs mystery meat. Next up is the Pad Thai which is so so good it spanks all other Pad Thais in the butt and puts them to bed early. It isn’t too sweet or too saucy which is what makes or breaks pad thai for me, no one wants their noodle too wet or too dry (that’s what she said). Follow that up with Yellow curry w/ veggies no meat, I love this curry. It has giant chunks of potato in it and the savory sweet level is so deliciously balanced. Lastly you’ll want to order the Mango Sticky Rice, because it’s just mango and rice and maybe a smidge of condensed milk but who’s counting, its health food and if you haven’t had mango sticky rice you haven’t lived.
I could go on forever and definitely plan on doing a post devoted to snacking but I will save that all for another day. I truly hope you enjoy these recommendations, buddies! Happy eating.