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8a.m. Saturday Morning Downtown L.A. (Super Yum + Highchair + New +Not-Meat-Meat-Meaty)

v
veggietraveler Aug 4, 2011 06:49 PM

Hi all! I'm an L.A. native so I've been (a million, zillion times perhaps) to all of the old school places downtown (Pacific Dining Car, Pantry, etc. etc.) including many which no longer exists. What I have not been to, since having my child, is any of the new places that have opened in the last few years, but about which I've heard lots of hype.

My little one is doing really well in restaurants these days, especially for breakfast. We usually eat at Little Dom's, Village Bakery, or Square One (which has gone downhill, folks!). We're going to be downtown this Saturday, and I would love to try someplace new. Help a mom out :). Here are some parameters:

-MUST open at 8 a.m. or earlier (non-negotiable as she won't eat later than that and then it doesn't work).
-Please be new-ish; I'd like to try someplace I haven't been
-We are very adventurous VEGETARIAN eaters and MOST of our favorite restaurants are not overly veggie, but they all have solid (and super yummy) veggie options (so, for example, we're never going to find ourselves over at Animal, but we did find ourselves (pre-baby) over at The Bazaar. So, if what you love there is the meaty-meat-meat, or the potatoes fried in the meaty-meat-meat-grease, not a good rec for us).
-Can be anything from order at the counter to ultra-fancy (was thinking of Bottega Louie if they opened an hour earlier).

Thanks all!

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Little Dom's
2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

The Village Bakery & Cafe
3119 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

  1. v
    veggietraveler Aug 6, 2011 08:13 PM

    Hi folks! So we went to Nickel Diner.
    Baby had scrambled eggs and was very happy.
    We had: Tofu scramble ... very good, not amazing; and...
    Scramble with leeks, roasted tomato and cheese with potatoes and toast and jam...
    All impressively surprisingly yummy. Not worth a drive amazing, but very solid and a good choice if I were near there. The toast and jam was the highlight (again, not drive-from-far-away highlight), but the highlight of the meal. Very solid. Thanks so much for the rec; it was really fun to try someplace new in my hometown!
    Oh! I almost forgot, we stopped by Cafe Dulce first and got a mocha and walked around. Yum!! Really good coffee and very mellow on an early Saturday morning.
    Thanks again, all!

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    Nickel Diner
    524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

    4 Replies
    1. re: veggietraveler
      Servorg Aug 7, 2011 04:41 AM

      Thanks for reporting back. How was the "interior aroma" of the restaurant for you?

      1. re: veggietraveler
        s
        sushigirlie Aug 7, 2011 12:46 PM

        I actually agree with your original prediction -- "I slightly assumed that it was popular either for its hipster cred or its bacon-ness, and not for its generalized (and non-bacon) yumminess" -- more than I agree with your assessment after dining there. I don't think the food at Nickel Diner is bad, but it isn't particularly good either. I'd rank Nickel Diner behind about 40 other restaurants downtown. I think its main draw is that people feel nostalgic about "diners" and like the idea of eating ordinary food with "common people" (remember that Pulp song in the 90s?).

        I disagree that the tofu scramble is "very good." I'd say it's passable. They use soft tofu with too much liquid, so it steams instead of sautes. The whole dish is a soggy mess. To be fair, Urth Caffe makes tofu scramble in a similar way, and it too is not very good.

        I would also disagree that the coffee is really good; I think it's bad.

        I agree with a poster above that the restaurant smells very greasy. How could it not? The kitchen is in the dining room--part of the whole diner experience. I guess you love diners or hate them. I've only been to one good diner and that's Millie's in Richmond, Virginia.

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        Urth Caffe
        2327 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        Nickel Diner
        524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        1. re: sushigirlie
          TonyC Aug 8, 2011 11:00 AM

          YES! I'm NOT cragee (but am still very crotchety).

          Totally with sushigirlie here. I had to toss away half the bacon donuts. Both Urth & Nickel makes my tongue (and wallet) cry.

          DTLA is still sadly missing 2 things: good brunch (don't get me started on KTCHN105), late night dessert/coffee.

          1. re: TonyC
            Servorg Aug 8, 2011 11:03 AM

            Some other things to eat at Nickel (other than the bbq pulled pork hash and the toast with their house made jam) is their pork chop special, the catfish and the salmon. All really good for any restaurant, much less a diner.

      2. v
        veggietraveler Aug 5, 2011 08:02 AM

        Thanks for the Nickel Diner suggestion! I've heard of it, but as you rightly assumed, have not been. I slightly assumed that it was popular either for its hipster cred or its bacon-ness, and not for its generalized (and non-bacon) yumminess. But so happy to try it! (Btw, I've been to the other places). While we're at it, any other new-in-the-past-few-years early-morning breakfast places you love (let's say east of Highland, but no more east than downtown-ish, south of Mulholland, north of Olympic)?

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        Nickel Diner
        524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        4 Replies
        1. re: veggietraveler
          TonyC Aug 5, 2011 09:59 AM

          Can't stand the smell of Nickel Diner. The entire restaurant smells like uncleaned grease pit and makes me wanna hurl. It's like stepping into a busy In-N-Out's kitchen at 8am.

          The "other" veggie hipster joint in DTLA is Blue Star Cafe. The crowd consists of some hipsters, but even more construction workers.

          Personally, at 8am, I'd hit up joints like Chimney Coffee for its fantastic (tho not quite vegetarian) pastries, and Cafe Dulce for some buns and latte. Both open at 8am Saturday.

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          Blue Star
          2200 E 15th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

          Nickel Diner
          524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

          Chimney Coffee House
          1100 N Main St #B, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          1. re: TonyC
            Servorg Aug 5, 2011 10:14 AM

            "Can't stand the smell of Nickel Diner. The entire restaurant smells like uncleaned grease pit and makes me wanna hurl. It's like stepping into a busy In-N-Out's kitchen at 8am."

            No smell of grease in the air inside the Nickel - ever - in my visits. I'll say that, out of 860 Yelp reviews only one person mentioned that too. And those are a picky ass bunch of posters who live to diss (yelp?) about any and all things they come across.

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            Nickel Diner
            524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

            1. re: Servorg
              v
              veggietraveler Aug 5, 2011 04:45 PM

              Y'all are hilarious but I do have to say that "I love the Nickel Diner's bbq pork hash and their house made jams are addictive and I get a box of maple bacon doughnuts" is actually making my case for I love this place because of the various and delicious way they prepare pig. Have you noticed that pig preparation is the new coffee? If a place does it well, it's an instant breakfast sensation. Unfortunately as a non-eater of the pig, I have to judge on other dishes (say, great egg dishes, great coffee, yummy bread for toast, good fruit, interesting, innovative or delicious pancakes/waffles ,etc. and so on). Now not totally sure Nickel's our best bet, but Saturday is soon! :)

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              Nickel Diner
              524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

              1. re: veggietraveler
                h
                happybaker Aug 6, 2011 01:03 PM

                Veggietraveler -

                Don't forget to report on where you went! And how it was! : )

        2. JAB Aug 4, 2011 09:22 PM

          Urth

          1 Reply
          1. re: JAB
            s
            sushigirlie Aug 6, 2011 08:47 PM

            I always forget about this Urth location downtown. I think that's because the food at Urth is so forgettable, at least in Santa Monica. Still, the food is not "bad," per se, and it's definitely a solid choice for a vegetarian breakfast.

          2. h
            happybaker Aug 4, 2011 08:17 PM

            It's old school - but Nick's cafe is surprisingly good. Open early, lots of veggie/egg choices. Great pancakes. I do love their housemaid salsa.

            1. h
              happybaker Aug 4, 2011 08:11 PM

              Tuesday through Friday Homegirl Cafe is open at 7am. (Saturday it's 9am.) They have lots of veggie choices and the homeboy bakery breads served on the side are divine!

              1 Reply
              1. re: happybaker
                Servorg Aug 4, 2011 08:15 PM

                "(Saturday it's 9am.)"

                Unfortunately that means it won't work for the OP as they are going on Saturday and need a place that opens no later than 8 am.

              2. d
                d_doubleyew Aug 4, 2011 07:52 PM

                Second Nickel Diner -- here's the menu:

                http://nickeldiner.com/breakfast-menu...

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                Nickel Diner
                524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                1. Servorg Aug 4, 2011 07:43 PM

                  If you haven't been to the Nickel Diner this is the time to plug that gap in your eating resume at last.

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                  Nickel Diner
                  524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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