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How to impress a chef with a Westside brunch?

jandazza Jan 14, 2010 11:10 AM

I have a tall--TALL--order for the Chowhounds, but if you all can't do it, no one can. My faith in internet foodies is in your hands.

My good friend's boyfriend has just been hired as a chef at The French Laundry (yes, the one in Napa, owned by Thomas Keller) and they will be driving through Los Angeles to have brunch with me and my boyfriend on Sunday. They are staying in Brentwood and need to have brunch somewhere on the Westside. My dilemma is where to take them. I live on the Eastside and never get to the Westside for brunch (brunch is meant to be crawled to, on most occasions), so I'd love your opinion.

Oh! As a side note: They are both from Monreal and have spent a significant amount of time in Paris, so if you're inclined to make a suggestion that specializes in French food keep that in mind.

Honestly, I would have loved to have taken them to either Little Dom's in Los Feliz or Square One in Hollywood. Is there anything along those lines that you'd recommend?

Thank you so much!

  1. Ciao Bob Jan 22, 2010 04:10 PM

    so jandazza, what did you do?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ciao Bob
      jandazza Apr 11, 2010 12:52 PM

      Hi Ciao Bob (and all Chowhounds)! Thank you all for your recommendations, which I intend to keep in mind--because they really all sounded fantastic--and which I have since forwarded on to my friends on the west side of town.

      As for my guests? They canceled :(. Turns out that, as much as we all wanted to see each other, the dip down to LA from Montreal didn't make sense. Hopefully they'll get down for a visit soon and I'll be able to show off with some of your suggestions!

    2. g
      GritsandBacon Jan 22, 2010 03:45 PM

      Gjelina! OR Joe's in Venice (he has one star from Michelin)-request a seat on the patio at either location.

      1. m
        Muskrat Jan 16, 2010 03:00 PM

        Instead of second-guessing the visitor, I'd ask him first. You might be surprised.

        Many years ago, I was going to have a business lunch with an American who was back in the country after several years. He (well, his employer) was paying, so I left the destination up to him. I was anticipating something, as they say hereabouts, "yummy."

        His choice, after his long sojurn in London: we went to McDonald's. (I did say this was a long time ago).

        But he did pay.

        A lot of chefs on down time aren't looking to be impressed; they're looking for good food.or an interesting experience. Not necessarily the same thing -- Loteria, Phillippe's, or something might be just the ticket.

        On the other hand, maybe he does want to go all upscale. But at least you'd know in advance.


        1. m
          miwine Jan 16, 2010 08:51 AM

          I would do a short drive and take them to Loteria in the
          farmers Market. Mexican food is always a WOW for people from Canada. The rest of the Farm ers Market and the Grove might be of some interest.

          1. Ciao Bob Jan 15, 2010 04:22 PM

            I would go to Monte Alban for sure. As great as Gjelina is he has seen that before...but Oaxacan lunch and brunch in LA is a treat and MA does a great job.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Ciao Bob
              mollyomormon Jan 15, 2010 04:36 PM

              I love Monte Alban but I do think the chilaquiles at Pepy's are so much better.

              1. re: mollyomormon
                Ciao Bob Jan 15, 2010 04:55 PM

                Never tried them, I will soon, thanks.
                As for taking the chef, tho' it really looks like a one-dish place, other than greasy spoon breakfast items that are a dime-a-dozen. Monte Alban has a wide range of unique and yummy items for breakfast and lunch.

                1. re: mollyomormon
                  maudies5 Jan 15, 2010 05:15 PM

                  The OP stated pretty clearly that they were looking for something a bit French:
                  "Oh! As a side note: They are both from Monreal and have spent a significant amount of time in Paris, so if you're inclined to make a suggestion that specializes in French food keep that in mind."

                  1. re: maudies5
                    Servorg Jan 15, 2010 05:19 PM

                    I read that as "make a French recommendation at your own peril as they have very high standards in that area."

                    1. re: Servorg
                      mollyomormon Jan 15, 2010 05:25 PM

                      That's how I read it as well.

                      1. re: mollyomormon
                        lizziee Jan 15, 2010 06:11 PM

                        They can always go to Bouchon or Bar Bouchon! Trust me once he is in Yountville, he won't have much time off and it might be interesting to see a Keller operation from the other side.

                        See here:

                        1. re: mollyomormon
                          a_and_w Jan 16, 2010 09:00 AM

                          Me, too, but on the outside chance the OP does want some French recs, they could do far worse than Anisette for brunch.

                2. t
                  tissue Jan 15, 2010 03:32 PM

                  I think you should take them to eat mexican breakfast or dim sum. I can't think of any place on the westside. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind something other than french toast or chi chi pancakes.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: tissue
                    mollyomormon Jan 15, 2010 03:51 PM

                    no good dim sum places, but if you decide to go the mexican breakfast route, the chilaquiles at Pepy's Galley in Mar Vista are the best!

                    1. re: mollyomormon
                      a_and_w Jan 15, 2010 04:49 PM

                      Is this the Pepy's on Venice a block or two east of Centinela? If so, I go by it all the time and had no idea -- thanks for the tip! Anything else you like there?

                      1. re: a_and_w
                        mollyomormon Jan 15, 2010 04:56 PM

                        Yes, that's the one. It's adjacent to the Mar Vista bowling alley. I usually go and split an order of the chilaquiles and an order of the machaca with whoever I bring with me, although that's just so I won't eat the entire order of chilaquiles (which would be challenging since it's pretty enormous)! The rest of menu is basically a standard coffee shop menu and there are probably some gems on there, but I've only ever ordered those two things.

                        1. re: a_and_w
                          Servorg Jan 15, 2010 04:58 PM

                          They have a great house made salsa (it's the red/tomato based one) that goes great with their breakfasts. I am partial to their grilled polish sausage with eggs over medium and potatoes. But the salsa would taste good with anything, it's that compelling.

                          Pepy's Galley
                          12125 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      2. re: tissue
                        Harry Nile Jan 16, 2010 11:43 AM

                        tissue, I like your general idea better than any other. When I worked in restaurants, I always wanted to eat somewhere that didn't remind me of the smell under my fingernails and in my shoe leather. For the OP's Kellerite, I'd choose something deeply Angeleno and would also broaden the idea of breakfast or brunch to other light dishes. Too bad Yuca's and La Casita Mexicana are so far away and that the Westside branches of La Serenata are deficient. mollyomormon has a great suggestion, however: Pepy's Galley.

                        1. re: Harry Nile
                          Servorg Jan 16, 2010 11:49 AM

                          Harry, no disrespect to you or Molly, but when the OP lists Little Dom's in Los Feliz or Square One in Hollywood as places they would like to take these guests if they were on the west side, I don't think Pepy's Galley is going to cut it this time around as a venue I would choose.

                          1. re: Servorg
                            Harry Nile Jan 16, 2010 12:27 PM

                            I should have been more explicit, Servorg. My message was: Rethink your plans. Most of the places mentioned in this thread will not impress a French Laundry chef from Montreal who hangs out in Paris. Instead, try something unusual (for him) but typical for Los Angeles and satisfying to the tooth and tongue. Who knows, when he works up the nerve to discuss the experience with his new boss, we might see Keller in there devouring that salsa after bowling a few games! ;-)

                      3. l
                        lizziee Jan 15, 2010 06:20 AM

                        Not exactly Westside, but I would suggest Bazaar. The traffic on Sunday wouldn't be horrible,

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lizziee
                          john gonzales Apr 11, 2010 06:04 PM

                          Bazaar was going to be my recco as well.

                        2. m
                          mc michael Jan 14, 2010 08:05 PM

                          IIRC, when Keller was at Checkers he had this dynamite hot chocolate drink for breakfast. If you could find a place with something like that, he just might be taken back.

                          1. m
                            maudies5 Jan 14, 2010 06:53 PM

                            Given that your guest is a chef and is staying in Brentwood, why don't you ask him if he knows of Suzanne Goin. If so, he may really want to try her brunch at Tavern.

                            1. Servorg Jan 14, 2010 02:12 PM

                              It might be stretching the "westside" definition a bit but you would be certain to wow them with brunch up at Saddle Peak Lodge in the hills of Malibu.

                              Saddle Peak Lodge
                              419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

                              1. c
                                catcaper Jan 14, 2010 01:47 PM

                                I would take them to FIG at the Fairmont - great location and great SM market fresh menu.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: catcaper
                                  maudies5 Jan 14, 2010 02:01 PM

                                  I would definitely take them to Tavern for Brunch. Suzanne Goin is a legendary chef among chefs and her brunch menu is innovative and delicious.
                                  Take a look at the menu

                                2. mollyomormon Jan 14, 2010 11:50 AM

                                  I'd take them to Gjelina in Venice.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: mollyomormon
                                    baloney Jan 14, 2010 01:15 PM

                                    I would second this, I quite like their brunch. The churros are nummy!

                                    1. re: mollyomormon
                                      budlit Jan 14, 2010 01:55 PM

                                      I'd take them to Gjelina too, and I would recommend the grits with cavolo nero, smoked bacon & poached eggs.

                                      1. re: budlit
                                        yogachik Jan 14, 2010 06:28 PM

                                        Head straight to Gjelina. Don't even consider anywhere else.

                                        1. re: yogachik
                                          nosh Jan 14, 2010 08:21 PM

                                          Get a reservation at Gjelina, if you can. Request the patio and hope for a nice day.

                                      2. re: mollyomormon
                                        a_and_w Jan 15, 2010 08:37 AM

                                        I've been hearing REALLY positive things about Gjelina. I think Huckleberry would work, too, for someplace more casual, though it will be mobbed on a Sunday.

                                        PS: Congrats to your friend's boyfriend! French Laundry remains the best high-end meal of my life thus far.

                                      3. v
                                        vinosnob Jan 14, 2010 11:44 AM

                                        Brunch is a tough one.

                                        Maybe 3 Square in Venice?

                                        Or, take it up a notch and go to Tavern in Brentwood.

                                        Start with a bloody or two and be sure to order the ricotta pancakes (if they have them) and the brisket hash.

                                        1. burumun Jan 14, 2010 11:35 AM

                                          I'd go to Huckleberry in SaMo, tho that is mostly focused on the bakery side. It's a great place tho, albeit expensive. Then again, so is Bouchon bakery :p

                                          1. b
                                            Burger Boy Jan 14, 2010 11:34 AM

                                            For me along those lines would be french toasts at 26 Beach, Love the peaches and cream or the lemon ricotta one. make a reservation and request the garden.

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