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Jun 24, 2011 04:08 PM

Low brow brunch?

I have major fancy restaurant burn out. (I know, boo-hoo, poor me.)

I'm meeting a friend for brunch on Sunday I want something more laid-back, a hidden gem, etc., something like the Ramp in SF. By the water isn't the point, but cool, ramshackle, I could sit here all day and ignore all my responsibilities... that's the vibe I'm after.

Any thoughts, chowhounders?

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  1. The Hungry Cat in Hollywood is a thought.

    The Hungry Cat
    1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

    2 Replies
    1. re: maudies5

      A bit south and east from there, on Fountain, is my favorite brunch joint Square One Dining. Downside is it's everyone else's favorite too, and parking can be a pain. But the food is exquisite. No Bloody Marys (or any booze), darn it, but get some of the fruity iced tea and have your cocktails later.

      Square One Dining
      4854 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

      1. re: maudies5

        Okay, after I thought I'd erased the above message I redid it, and now there are two. What a bargain! Just decide which you prefer …

        Square One Dining is my favorite, in spite of smallish capacity, street parking only and no alcohol. The house-cured salmon Benedict is stunning, and their regular egg dishes and sausage and bacon and oatmeal … all just very well done, and if you sit outside you'll see all the locals and probably their dogs as well. It's about a mile east from Hungry Cat, on Fountain between L Ron Hubbard Way and Edgemont. When I turn west from Vermont I can almost always find parking on the north side of the street, maybe a block or two before the restaurant.

        Square One Dining
        4854 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Oinkster does brunch? Really?!

          2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

        2. Don't know what neighborhood you're looking at....but I really like Madame Chou Chou in Santa Monica. A friend at work told me about it. A very nice French couple. A very charming patio outside. A fun, laid back vibe. And good food. A real little neighborhood gem....

          Madame Chou Chou
          2518 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          1. Maxwell's Cafe in Mar Vista/Marina del Rey/Venice on on 13329 washington blvd.

            (edit: I looked it up and it's none of the above, but actually Culver City? WTH? it's two blocks from the intersection Washington and Lincoln, how is that still Culver?)

            Maxwell's is exactly what you're asking for.

            Expect to see a line outside. unless you're hitting it up at 10:30 or before.

            slightly less low brow would be Cora's Coffee Shoppe in Santa Monica.

            Also in Santa Monica, but Inland Santa Monica is Lazy Daisy Cafe.

            All of these places are fairly low brow brunch fair that we hit up one of at least once a month.

            Completely opposite side of town (where the GF is from originally) in the area of Montrose, La Canada and Flintridge:

            Black Cow is my favorite brunch, lovely menu and spectacular french press coffee
            Star restaurant (same owners as Black Cow) is also quite good
            Hill Street Cafe is pretty low brow, one of the most midwestern brunch/breakfast places I"ve eaten at in LA.
            Dish Restaurant has a much more pleasant upscale interior.

            Cora's Coffee Shop
            1802 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            8 Replies
            1. re: jadekarrde

              Maxwell's Cafe in Mar Vista/Marina del Rey/Venice on on 13329 washington blvd.

              (edit: I looked it up and it's none of the above, but actually Culver City? WTH? it's two blocks from the intersection Washington and Lincoln, how is that still Culver?)

              I say it's Mar Vista (90066) and tell those grabby Culver City-ites to keep their grubby hands off of Mar Vista eateries...they've got enough new ones without usurping ours! ;-D> The only thing about Maxwell's is that, if you don't go off hours, the wait can be daunting...

              1. re: jadekarrde

                Between Dish and Hill street, I'd take Dish all the way. Like the buckwheat pancakes at Hill Street, but for the money, the food is much nicer at Dish.

                1. re: happybaker

                  Apropos of not much, Hill Street is the only place I've ever been served almost-inedible meat loaf. It was so ghastly that on my next trip I ordered it again. Nope, that's their meat loaf all right.

                  An old school buddy with whom I lunch loves that place. I've had to tell him we won't go there anymore.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Inedible covers a lot of territory, can you be more specific about what made the ML an abomination to your taste buds?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      You are asking me to re-create a taste memory that was bad enough when it was involuntary, but I'll try: imagine a mouth feel like moistened crackers, a vaguely meat-like aroma akin to a freshly-opened can of dog food, all damped with a gravy concocted from tomato soup and weak bouillon. The gravy was on it the second go-around, because on the first occasion I had it in a sandwich. Both equally abominable.

                    2. re: Will Owen

                      I love that you ordered it a second time....because you couldn't believe it was that bad.
                      That's a TRUE chowhound!

                      1. re: perk

                        It wasn't simply a matter of giving them another chance. The fact is that the meatloaf is POPULAR, so there was obviously some chance they could've just had an off day. I know I'm fond of lots of foods that send other folks screaming into the street; well, those folks probably like this meatloaf as much as they hate scrapple.

                  2. re: jadekarrde

                    Culver City "owns" narrow strips of land on either side of Washington Blvd, just short of Lincoln blvd., including the land which the Costco shopping center sits on. Back in the day, Culver City started to develop a reputation as a gambling town (probably a sign of the times - early 1900s - as well as the movie studios' growing influence for entertainers needing more entertaining).

                    The land on which the Costco shopping center sits started out as a horse racing track, then a auto racing track, and dog racing track, then roller skating rink, and finally a Hughes helicopter warehouse. In order to capture the gambling revenue, Culver City "extended" its jurisdiction from "Culver City-proper" to where the racetrack was proposed. Because establishing infrastructure, police/fire service, etc. would be the city's responsibility, they only incorporated along the narrow strip of land along Washington Blvd - far more cost-effective at the time. The surrounding areas would be a liability since nothing existed north or south of Washington in that area at the time.

                    So places like Maxwell's, A-Frame and Waterloo & City actually have to deal with Culver City.

                  3. I'm a fan of Alcove Cafe or La Conversation myself.

                    La Conversation
                    638 N Doheny Dr, West Hollywood, CA 90069