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Low brow brunch?

marot Jun 24, 2011 04:08 PM

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?

  1. wienermobile Aug 4, 2011 11:46 AM

    Martha's 22nd Street Grill in Hermosa Beach sounds like what you are looking for. Just inches from the sand.

    Martha's 22nd Street Grill
    25 22nd St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

    1. The Oracle Aug 4, 2011 11:39 AM

      I'm not familar with Ramp in SF - but the first thing that popped into my head was Nick's Cafe in downtown

      Nick's Cafe
      1300 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      1. m
        mc michael Jul 2, 2011 06:48 PM

        I'm thinking Hal's in Venice if you want alcohol in the equation.

        Hal's Bar & Grill
        1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        1. p
          pambrain Jul 1, 2011 05:29 PM

          You don't mention geography - but if San Pedro is within your acceptable radius - I am a huge fan of the 22dn street landing on (surprise) 22nd street with a marina view out to the pacific. Well done seafood and good bloody mary's can kill and entire afternoon - especially if sitting outside on the balcony.


          22nd Street Landing
          141 W 22nd St, San Pedro, CA 90731

          1. m
            maudies5 Jul 1, 2011 03:11 PM

            I love Panns. It surely fits the "laid-back" requirement. Settle into a big comfy booth and chow down on fried chicken and waffles or a delicious barbequed brisket sandwich. They have a full liquor license so you can drink bloody Mary's.

            Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
            6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

            5 Replies
            1. re: maudies5
              wienermobile Jul 1, 2011 03:25 PM

              Another yes for Pann's. Classic 50’s Coffee Shop Diner food at it's best.

              Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
              6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

              1. re: wienermobile
                linus Jul 1, 2011 03:31 PM

                pann's is great, but it's not a place to linger or have a leisurely brunch. there's usually a line and they like to keep the tables flipping.

                1. re: linus
                  maudies5 Jul 1, 2011 09:09 PM

                  I have never felt rushed at Pann's. Nor, have I had the impression that they are trying to keep the tables flipping. I had a great, long, leisurely brunch not long ago at Pann's. It really is diner food at its best. No pressed and formed "turkey" at Pann's. You want turkey, you get the real deal. Want a piece of cake or pie for dessert, suggest ordering 1 slice. The dessert portions are enormous. The servers are friendly, parking lot is right behind the entrance and the food is terrific. The prices are reasonable. I think I just talked myself into having breakfast there tomorrow. I like that combo of waffle (choice of fried chicken wings, sausage, ham or bacon)...and 2 eggs. SO good!!

                  Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
                  6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                  1. re: maudies5
                    linus Jul 1, 2011 10:08 PM

                    fair enough. the servers and everyone else there are really friendly, and were so when we were approached by a hostess with an anxious look on her face. i asked her if she needed the table, and she confirmed it.
                    no big whup. glad to hear this was an anomaly.

                    1. re: linus
                      Will Owen Jul 2, 2011 05:21 PM

                      Sunday is their big day, lots of women with the big hats coming in from church. I've been there only one Sunday, apparently arriving well after the big rush, because there was a big parade coming out the door before I could manage to get in. But I used to go there mostly if I was shooting RE appraisal photos in the area, so it was almost always on a weekday. But that business dried up, and I haven't come up with another good excuse in a while … but I'm working on it!

            2. PaulF Jul 1, 2011 01:16 PM

              I'm hesitating in suggesting this one, but ...

              I used to eat "brunch" at the Cat & Fiddle all the time when I lived near Hollywood. It's definitely ramshackle.

              They have omelettes and some variations on what I gather are English breakfasts -- like eggs with bean, bangers and mash, scotch eggs.

              We really liked reading the Sunday papers on the patio. It's a very comfortable patio (something about the late morning light and the trees they have -- just a nice vibe) , the service is attentive and we liked the food.

              Just a ramshackle suggestion.

              1. Deidre7 Jun 30, 2011 10:52 PM

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

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

                1. j
                  jadekarrde Jun 30, 2011 12:26 AM

                  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
                    Servorg Jun 30, 2011 07:50 AM

                    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
                      happybaker Jun 30, 2011 09:15 AM

                      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
                        Will Owen Jun 30, 2011 02:55 PM

                        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
                          Servorg Jun 30, 2011 02:58 PM

                          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
                            Will Owen Jul 1, 2011 02:00 PM

                            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
                            perk Jul 1, 2011 02:39 PM

                            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
                              Will Owen Jul 2, 2011 05:14 PM

                              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
                          bulavinaka Jul 2, 2011 08:27 AM

                          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. perk Jun 24, 2011 08:50 PM

                          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. ipsedixit Jun 24, 2011 08:12 PM

                            Ammo http://ammocafe.com/

                            Oinkster http://www.theoinkster.com/index.html

                            Little Dom's http://www.littledoms.com/

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              happybaker Jun 24, 2011 08:42 PM

                              Oinkster does brunch? Really?!

                              2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                              1. re: happybaker
                                ipsedixit Jun 24, 2011 08:53 PM

                                They open by 11 am on Sunday.

                            2. m
                              maudies5 Jun 24, 2011 04:15 PM

                              The Hungry Cat in Hollywood is a thought.

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

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: maudies5
                                Will Owen Jun 24, 2011 04:47 PM

                                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
                                  Will Owen Jun 24, 2011 04:56 PM

                                  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

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