Breakfasts at Caffe Latte, Pann's, Dupar's
- Jeff Shore Feb 13, 2002 12:58 PM
(pardon me if this is a duplicate posting...)
The trick for me about this place is remembering that a restaurant with a kind-of cheesy name (doesn't it sound like something that a wanna-be hip place in Canoga Park would call itself?) and a strip-mall location is actually quite good. Tried two very unique breakfasts tofu veggie scramble (no eggs, no cheese), and tofu/sun-dried-tomato/goat cheese scramble (again, no eggs). Very different, and while the veggie scramble was a bit watery (blame the tofu), it was still distinctive and worth repeating at home. Hash browns good, but just not up to Sam & Woodys; coffee excellent (that is really their thing). Service was, uh, relaxed (we were fine with it, but a woman next to us seemed to really be tweaking that her server wasnt moving faster).
What a gorgeous restaurant. Built in 1958, this really is one of the best preserved examples of Googie architecture. The food strikes a fascinating and impressive balance between coffee shop comfort food, and somewhat boundary-pushing (for a coffee shop) mod-soul food. We got a veggie omlette with Louisiana Sauce, and a salmon croquettes with poached eggs, grits, and sautéed spinach. Both were impressive, and the sauce was like an upscale Spanish sauce. Coffee was decent, service quite friendly. Prices moderate, though frankly their dinners look like a better deal. $10 for fresh fish. Great fun.
We'd visited the Studio City location a few years ago, and enjoyed ourselves. This is a very different experience, closer to the Pantry in feel than other famous LA coffee shops, as it was built in 1938, and feels like it. (Actually, the booth benches feel like they were built in 1838. They were more like pews; I kept looking for the bible in front of my seat.) One Spanish omelette, one Italiano with a layer of marinara sauce on top impressive eggs. Almost like a quiche. There must have been 5+ eggs in this thing so thick, so yolky, so fluffy. Id love to know how they cooked these omelettes, because without seeming different on the surface, these were unlike any eggs wed had in a while. Gorgeous, too almost a bright yellow. We tear through food in the morning, but we could not finish our eggs. Coffee decent, hashbrowns distinctive, but not up to Sam & Woodys.
It must be noted that thanks to the additions at the Farmers Market, parking is abysmal. Nightmarishly bad. We got there by 8am and I wouldnt have wanted to arrive any later
Dupar's, and Kokomo's, also in the Fairfax Farmer's Market, are among our regular weekend breakfast spots. Our experience with parking during the remodel has (so far) been that it looks much worse than it is -- we regularly get there between 9:00 and 10:00 and have always found a space without too much trouble. BTW, if you haven't tried Kokomo's, it's worth a visit -- good coffee cake and great bacon.
If you don't mind me asking, what/where is this "Sam & Woodys" of which you speak?
re: David Kahn
We have tried Kokomo's, and definitely enjoy it.
The place I call Sam & Woody's is officially listed (in Yahoo! yellow pages) as S & W Country Diner.
9748 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Excellent southern-style cooking. Definitely has it's admirers and detractors on chowhound...search a bit on the board. In my eyes, however, their biscuits are awe inspiring, and their corned beef hash is, well, awe inspiring as well. But no one beats their hash browns. They fry them forever, and the results prove it. Like any decent L.A. hangout they are crazy on weekends, but if you can possibly get in on a weekday they are less crowded...
AND if you can get in between 7am and 8am, they have the terrifyingly good deal of 1/2 priced omelettes. That means you can get a build-your-own with two things, plus hash browns and biscuit for about $2.70. Terrifying.
re: Jeff Shore
Thanks -- something about eating a good breakfast just makes me happy. Left to my own devices, I would eat my weekend breakfasts at 7:00 a.m., when everything is still fresh and the streets are relatively empty. Unfortunately, the missus thinks 10:30 is early on the weekends. Next time I prevail in this "discussion," I'll definitely give them a try.
re: David Kahn
With all due respect, I gotta disagree on the Kokomo's recommendation. I've been going there a semi-long time (5 years or so?), and noticed a serious decline in their food about 2-3 years ago. My only hypothesis is this: one of their great cooks is at The Pig now...so maybe he possesses the Secret Ingredient or something? Service is resoundingly bad and the prices are high for what they're offering (bland, small portions of overcooked food). It's a cute spot with ambiance in spades, and all my friends LOVE it, so perhaps just consider me a singular 'hound howling in the wind....
re: Lisa Bee
No, Lisa, not a singular hound -- I'll howl with you. I've been going there even longer -- ten yrs? -- and I've also noticed a decline. Ever since they remodelled really. Still not bad. But much less inspired than when they first started cooking up their coffee cakes and curly fries. Better breakfasts to be had inches away at Dupar's, Charlie's, Gumpo Pot, etc...
re: David Kahn
I agree with the Kokomo's recommendation. I love their croissant sandwich and the wife and I had some great pumpkin pancakes there a few months back.
I also second the statement about Du-Par's pancakes. I used to go to the Studio City location in high school a couple times a week and get a short stack during the mid-morning break. They were so light and tasty.
Parking at the Farmer's Market SUCKS. I don't like the changes that are happening to the Market in general, but the parking situation right now is a nightmare.
If you haven't, you gotta try the pancakes at Dupar's. They are rightfully famous for their buttermilk pancake batter. Articles have been published about how good the pancakes are at other restaurants, in those restaurants efforts to emulate the Dupar's pancake experience. Dupar's buttermilk batter is the gold standard.
I know the Farmer's Market Dupar's is the "real thing", but has anyone been to the new-ish one on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood? Every time I walk by it seems fairly deserted, even weekend mornings. Is there any reason for that (other than parking concerns, etc)?
Just a word of caution: do *not* go to Dupar's at night. I went to the one at Farmer's Market one evening, hoping for a breakfast-for-dinner fix and it was terrible. Maybe the good cooks had the night off or something, because the food was so off! My omelette had no taste other than the red salsa it was smothered in (which tasted like it came straight from a jar) and my friend's pancakes were dry. Ugh. Moral of the story: Dupar's for breakfast in the daylight only!