Sunday Brunch Day

Brunch. It’s what gays do. For a while now I’ve been hearing of the wonders of a restaurant called BLD (Breakfast Lunch Dinner) in West Hollywood. I finally had an occasion to visit this past Sunday with my friend Meg and her father who graciously treated us. The decor is very typical WeHo – polished, modern, yet with some nice homey touches. I was particularly tickled by a display of little mini stoves from days gone by on one of the walls.

The restaurant boasts a traditional brunch menu with a modern flare. Benedicts, egg sandwiches, burgers, salads – all with twists that make them modern and a little classier. What stood out to me was their entirely homemade breads and baked goods. Everything made on the premises, down to the english muffins. These people are not messing around. And believe me, the starving artist really appreciates restaurants (and men) that don’t mess around. I went for one of the specials, which was an heirloom tomato frittata topped with pesto, served with a choice of potato and bread. I ended up with both a biscuit and an english muffin (I’m not ashamed) as well as their chorizo homefries. Really outstanding. And one of the best biscuits I’ve had in a long time.

More good news: their service matched their food – very friendly, very professional. Our waitress messed up Meg’s order and put in the wrong dish. Meg didn’t really mind that much as she was happy with the food that they did bring her, but the waitress was still very apologetic and took her meal off the bill. That’s how you keep customers happy.

As for pricing, if you’re looking to spend less than $10 this will not be the place for you, but I still think it is very reasonable considering it’s brunch in WeHo.

Verdict: highly recommended. Get there before 10am or have a reservation.

7450 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Click here to see my review on YELP

Magic Muffins

Ok, they’re not really magic, they’re just blueberry. But the way people scarf them down, you’d think they were magic. When I lived in NYC back in 2005-9 I had an office job at a fantastic music publishing company. Usually once per week I would bake these muffins and share them with my coworkers. It’s amazing how fresh baked goods really brighten someone’s day, particularly in an office setting. I hadn’t made this recipe in almost two years, mostly because when it comes to self control, I have zero, and having an entire batch of muffins laying around is never a good idea for me… in fact it can get downright ugly.

Right now it is blueberry season in SoCal, so everywhere you go you find vast quantities of the berries for little money. I had a giant bucket of blueberries sitting on my counter over the weekend that I got from Trader Joe’s for only $5.99 – a serious bargain. As you read in yesterday’s post, I decided baking muffins for my friends would be the perfect way to start off our Sunday.

Truth be told, the recipe is not of my own creation. It is actually a recipe from Ina Garten called “Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins.” And she is right to call them that – the muffins are just like coffee cake except without the crumbly topping… and blueberries… fluffy, eggy, and not too sweet. It’s a fool-proof recipe that is always a crowd pleaser. Definitely worth sharing, even if it isn’t mine. Thanks, Ina!

Blueberry Muffins (Recipe PDF)

Griddled Amazingness

“Sow Your Oats” pancakes

Nothing says brunch like a steaming pile of flapjacks (I love the word “flapjack.” it makes me giggle… flapjack… heehee). I know few people who can resist the call of those light, fluffy, browned discs of joy, particularly hungover at 11am on a Sunday. And let’s be honest, it is classic starving artist food – cheap, filling, and just as easily acquired at 2am as 2pm on any given day. But not just any pancakes will do. Oh no. I take my pancakes seriously. Since I can make killer pancakes at home, if I’m going to go out and spend money on someone else’s, they better be so good that I would slap a baby to get them. Before I will consider ordering pancakes at a restaurant, there are three things I look for:

  1. Whipped butter. None of those foil-wrapped packets. Airy, spreadable butter is crucial for complete pancake coverage. Butter in every bite!
  2. Real maple syrup. You already know my feelings on maple syrup – 100% pure is the only option. The ideal is a restaurant that doesn’t charge you extra for it; then you know they are serious.
  3. Creative pancake options. ¬†While it’s true that you’re only as good as your classic buttermilk recipe, nothing entices me more than creativity. Offer some outrageous pancake option that I HAVE to order because I won’t find it anywhere else. To me, if the restaurant is confident with their recipe, what better way to show it off than all kinds of crazy variations.

So far I have discovered one place in Los Angeles that meets all three of my criteria and that is the Griddle Cafe on Fairfax and Sunset. All of their pancakes are plate-sized monstrosities. They are most famous for their Red Velvet variety, topped with a cream cheese frosting swirl. Divine. Pictured above are the “Sow Your Oats”, which are oatmeal, honey, and cinnamon. Hearty and delicious – totally my thing. I’ve also sampled “Yellow Brick Road” – butterscotch, caramel, and walnuts. Sinfully rich. And guess what: at every single table there is a bottle of pure Vermont maple syrup. Clearly they are trying to get into my pants. The best part? The pancakes are all under $10. Sow Your Oats was $7.95 for a stack of three (there are two more under there!!). I ate maybe a quarter of the plate and took the rest home for two more meals. Starving artist heaven.

While we all love weekend brunch, you’re guaranteed to wait at least 45 minutes on any Saturday or Sunday. Madhouse. Totally worth it, of course, but if you can swing it, I would recommend a weekday after 10am. Same great food, but much more chill. Whenever you decide to go, you are guaranteed a phenomenal pancake experience.

The Griddle Cafe
7916 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles 90046