Our high school restaurant reviewer Josh Fried is a fan of fine food so we’re lucky to have him out there sampling the westside’s flavors. This time he trains his discriminating palate on gourmet-style breakfast fare from chefs who make a difference-and serves up four places we should try.
Huckleberry is a great little cafe on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica dishing out creative takes on classic breakfast fare. For instance, they give a Dr. Seuss twist to the classic eggs benedict with the aptly named Green Eggs and Ham. This is two perfectly poached eggs drizzled in pesto with La Quercia prosciutto and arugula on a housemade english muffin. But the ultimate temptations are on the pastry shelves. Customers line up for the blueberry cornmeal cake, cinnamon sugar donut and the delectable Niman Ranch maple bacon biscuit. Yes, it all tastes as decadent as it sounds.
Tip: If it’s a weekend, get there early because inevitably there’s a wait.
Huckleberry is located at 1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
Open M-F 8 AM to 8 PM; weekends 8 AM to 5 PM
The Larder At Tavern
When you walk through the Tavern doors on San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood, hang a sharp left to the deli-style area and plant yourself down at any of the window-view tables to settle in for a gourmet breakfast. The Larder at Tavern offers organic produce and meats, house-baked cookies, breads, and organic espressos, coffees and teas. For my weekend breakfast, I had the soft scramble eggs with fontina served with amazing fried potatoes. On another outing, I tried the brisket hash and blueberry and meyer lemon pancakes. The Larder is a more casual place to enjoy award-winning chef Suzanne Goin’s finely-crafted dishes.
Tip: For takeout, try the mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies, the mac n’ cheese with gruyère & aged cheddar, and your choice of fresh baked breads, like date walnut, raisin hazelnut, green olive, and ciabatta.
The Larder at Tavern is located at 11648 San Vicente Boulevard, Brentwood
Open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM
Located on a sleepy corner of Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, Superba Food+Bread wakes up tired surroundings with its cavernous, colorful, sun-filled eating emporium. Superba is an all-day cafe that pays equal attention to all its meals. But breakfast is a great way to start a gourmet day with inventive menu offerings such as a grain bowl with a slow cooked egg, pickles, collard slaw, and cashews. I tried the hearty Paul’s Big Boy breakfast, which was two sunny side up eggs, bacon steak, kale, toast, hot sauce and maple syrup. You can also order toast with your choice of homemade jam, cheesy soft scrambled eggs, PB&J, avocado and pickles, or smoked trout. The pastries are world class from fresh-baked pretzel croissants to currant scones and muffins.
Tip: They make their own Testa, a head cheese, which is great on toast with sweet-hot pepper jelly and herbs. And you can buy whole loaves of their freshly-baked bread.
Superba Food + Bread is located at 1900 S Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA
Open Sunday-Thursday 7AM to 10 PM/Friday-Saturday from 7 AM to 11 PM/Saturday and Sundays the bakery opens at 7 AM and brunch starts at 9 AM
Cora’s Coffee Shoppe
To me, nothing is nicer than spending an al fresco morning with a cup of coffee and some great food. From chef Bruce Marder of the much-lauded Capo restaurant comes this “coffee shop” serving diner fare geared towards the foodie crowds. Cora’s is small, seats only about 25-30 on the rustic, covered patio, which is why there is usually a wait. (They do not take reservations.) I tried the organic grass-fed “Vegas” steak and eggs with smashed potatoes, done with flat iron. It was as delicious as its promise. The menu also takes some Italian cues, such as the bruschetta poached eggs on Red Rooster country bread and heirloom tomatoes. There are so many varied gourmet offerings-from orange pancakes with blueberries to frittatas and a Turkish-style yogurt breakfast-that satisfy every desire. Cora’s proudly serves illy coffees-espressos, cafe aux lait, capuccino, cafe mocha-and they are experts at pulling a double.
Tip: Dogs are allowed on the patio so bring your pooch!
Cora’s Coffee Shoppe is located at 1802 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
Open 7 AM to 3 PM Sunday and Monday; 7 AM to 5 PM Tuesday-Saturday;