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May 30, 2007 02:41 PM

Mother-in-law's birthday in the Valley

Looking for a breakfast place to go with the family (kids included) this weekend in The Valley (Studio city to Encino) that is open relatively early (breakfast, not brunch) to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. Trying to avoid places like IHOP(great pancakes, but no atmosphere) or Twains or Jerry's (yuk).

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  1. If you are willing to travel a little bit further west, I suggest The Baker in Woodland Hills, on Ventura Blvd between Canoga and Topanga. They make all their own homemade breads and on the weekends they have fabulous challah french toast. I also love their shakshuka eggs, which are poached eggs over a slightly spicy tomato sauce served with cucumber salad on the side and a ramekin of herbed feta. It's got the atmosphere of a bakery/cafe, so not particularly festive, but good for kids.

    Marmalade Cafe (Calabasas, but I think there are other locations, too) is a reliable alternative, a few steps up from the usual chains. The one at the Calabasas Commons is adjacent to the turtle pond, which is a good diversion for the kids. There is an outdoor smoking ordinance in Calabasas, so you can sit on the lovely patio, eat your meal, and watch the kids staring at the turtles.

    For a more ethnic option, you could try the dim sum place on Reseda Blvd. in Northridge. I can't think of the name of the place, but it's right across the street from the Mandarin Deli. They have a fishtank - again, I'm big on places with diversions for kids.

    1. Jinky's, on Ventura near Hazeltine, is very popular. There's also Hugo's, on Riverside Drive near Coldwater.

      1. A&W for Chinese dim sum

        I think La Frite, which has a location in Sherman Oaks, serves breakfast.

        1. Second marmalade-there's one in Sherman oaks
          . Jinkey's is OK, but the wait can be a drag.
          More than Waffles in Encino is great.
          There is more than waffles:

          Sona's (not related to Sona) on Ventur in Encino has a nice breakfast menu:

          Sometimes, I've had fun going to the Encino or Studio City farmer's market and getting brekkers fromthe stalls there (both on Sunday) The one in Studio City has pony rides for the kids.

          Marie Callendar's has a buffet, but it ain't all that great.

          Hugos' on Riverside has a nice brekkers, nice atmosphere, and good food.

          Follow Your HEart is health food in a cafe located in a health food market. nice outdoor seating, yummy, organic brekkers.

          (scroll down for breakfast items!)

          1. Well, in Sherman Oaks, in addition to those already mentioned, there is Pane Dolce, featuring breakfast dishes every day of the week, and they open at 8:30 on Sunday while at 7:00 on Saturday. Quite popular and kids are ever-present, as are a few canine friends of guests seated on the patio on Ventura Blvd., just east of Woodman. Good food featuring Il Fornaio baked goods and a somewhat Italian-focused menu for breakfast. Lots of options and special orders are always available, as are waffles.
            Stanleys is open on Sunday, yet serves a brunch menu, but has the nicest patio setting of any place mentioned so far, and it is in the back of the restaurant among the trees and away from the noise of the boulevard. Two blocks west of Woodman, north side of the street at Matilija Ave. Brunch menu here to review if you have concerns.