Down in the garment district, where Spring and Main streets
converge, theres a two-story café with a mansard roof and a patio that would
be at home in any French town. Angélique is open for traditional French breakfasts
(bread and pastries from Commereucs brothers bakery, Pain du Jour) and for lunch,
featuring a great selection of salads (try the cured salmon), hot entrées (try
the roasted chicken) and vegetarian dishes (try the summery eggplant-and-tomato
casserole). A homesick Frenchman I know swears that Angélique is the only place
that eases his malady. 840 S. Spring St., downtown, (213) 623-8698. Mon.Fri.
8 a.m.3:30 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.4 p.m. No alcohol. Street parking. AE, MC, V. Entrées
Arts has been the best deli in the Valley since late
in the Eisenhower administration, and its dense, tasty chicken soup, puddled around
matzo balls the size of grapefruit, is justifiably renowned. Among the local cognoscenti,
Arts is well-known for the succulence of its knockwurst, the creaminess of its
chopped liver, and the particular garlicky smack of its house-made pickles. Lox
and eggs? Matzo Brie? Kreplach soup? Crisp-skinned cheese blintzes? Well-cured
salmon on fresh Brooklyn Bagel bagels? Got em. And as it says on the menu: Every
Sandwich Is a Work of Art. 12224 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 762-1221.
Sun.Thurs. 7 a.m.9 p.m., Fri.Sat. 7 a.m.10 p.m. Beer and wine. Takeout. Valet
parking. AE, MC, V. Lunch or dinner for two, food only, $18$36. Deli.
At Axe (pronounced ah-shay), simple and gleaming as a Zendo, the
clear ocean air is practically a design element. Some find the austere aesthetic
refreshing; others find the seats uncomfortable, the overall effect harsh. The
wait staff does tend to be more physically attractive than efficient, but this
restaurant marches to its own beat, or rather, to that of the chef-owner Joanna
Moore, whose breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are seductively eclectic. Try her
meal-sized whole-grain pancake, a composed salad, her masterly spaghetti aglio
olio and any dessert. 1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 664-9787. Lunch
Tues.Fri., dinner Tues.Sun., brunch Sat.Sun. Beer and wine. Valet parking.
AE, D, MC, V. Entrées $11$28. California.
With lots of light, lots of room and smart, friendly servers, Dish
is a prime example of the new American coffee shop. Located in the small foothill
village of La Cañada, the look is scrubbed-California-farmhouse, the ingredients
are fresh, and the all-American menu showcases our national love of sugar, salt,
meat and crunch. Have eggs or fluffy cornmeal jonnycakes along with applewood-smoked
bacon, sausages from Shreiners, the local German butchers, or thick slices of
baked ham thats been encrusted with gingersnaps and brown sugar. For lunch or
dinner, you cant go wrong with the Dish burger a fat, juicy, meaty thing in
a grilled-till-crisp sesame bun. 734 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, (818) 790-5355.
Open daily 7 a.m.9:30 p.m. Beer and wine. Lot parking. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Entrées
Pastry savant Sumi Chang, once the breakfast chef at Campanile,
runs this inspired bakery/café. Her croissants are like crispy butter, her chocolate
biscotti a study of cacaos dark, sweet depths. And the egg-salad sandwich soft-center
boiled eggs in homemade mayo on sourdough toast smeared with sun-dried tomato
paste is worth a drive from any corner of the county. Europane recently doubled
its seating capacity, thank goodness, since more and more regulars soccer moms,
Caltech profs, Art Center students, chefs, writers seem to live there part-time.
950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 577-1828. Mon.Sat. 7 a.m.5:30 p.m.,
Sun. to 3 p.m. No alcohol. Parking in structure behind restaurant and on the street.
Cash only. Pastries and sandwiches $2$8.50. European.
Hong Kong Low Deli.
Open in time for early breakfast, Chinatowns Hong
Kong Low Deli serves what dim sum used to be back when everybody called them teacakes,
i.e., dumplings without the parboiled geoduck and jellyfish salad. Baked bao,
browned and hot and brushed with sticky syrup, are filled with barbecued pork
in a sweet, garlicky sauce. Turnoverlike pies are made of flaky pastry, egg-washed
to a deep, burnished gold, stuffed with chicken stew, barbecued pork or a truly
fine pungent mince of curried beef. 408 Bamboo Lane, Chinatown, (213) 680-9827.
Open seven days 9 a.m.5:30 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout only. Cash only. Food for
two, $3$5. Chinese.
At breakfast, Marstons serves exactly the sort of food a missionary
might crave after a stint in rural Peru: thin, buckwheat-based blueberry pancakes,
nut-crammed macadamia pancakes and thick, applewood-smoked bacon. Marstons may
be a little Calvinist in its hours, perhaps guided by the notion that laggards
dont deserve to eat anything as good as its golden, cornflake-breaded French
toast. 151 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, (626) 796-2459. Open Tues.Fri. 711 a.m.,
11:30 a.m.2:30 p.m., Sat.Sun. 8 a.m.2:30 p.m. Dinner Wed.Sat. 5:309:30 p.m.
Beer and wine. Lot parking. MC, V. Entrées $5$11. American.
Middle East Restaurant.
Unlike most Lebanese restaurants, the Middle East
Restaurant makes a specialty of breakfast. Before 10 a.m., there is a $5.99 combination
that includes a plate of the yogurt-tart homemade cream-cheese labneh slicked
with olive oil; a turnover stuffed with the thymelike herb zaatar, a squarish
sort of Danish thing with a sweetly spiced forcemeat; a basket of pita; a plate
of olives and pickles, and another plate with onions, tomatoes and fresh leaves
of mint; two kinds of cheese; a glass of hot tea; and a giant bowl of foul moudamas,
the herby, tart fava-bean salad Egyptians traditionally have in the morning. 910
E. Main St., Alhambra, (626) 281-1006. Open Sun.Thurs. 9 a.m.10 p.m. and Fri.Sat.
9 a.m.1 a.m. Beer and wine. Takeout. Lot parking. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Food for
two, $12$20. Lebanese.
The perfect breakfast is hard to find. Soul food is too fattening,
diner food too bland, Japanese pickles just too weird before noon. If you like
noodles, you might think Pho 79 serves the perfect breakfast, light, tasty and
just exotic enough, inexpensive and filled with vitamins: beef soup. The strong,
dark-roasted coffee, dripped at the table in individual stainless-steel French
filters, is among the best Ive had anywhere. And in an area Chinatown thick
with Vietnamese noodle shops, Pho 79 serves the best noodles. 727 N. Broadway,
Suite 120, Chinatown, (213) 625-7026. Open daily 8:30 a.m.6:30 p.m. Beer. Validated
parking. Cash only. Food for two, $7$10. Vietnamese.
There are perhaps a couple of dozen Honduran restaurants
scattered around Westlake and Huntington Park; but nowhere, except at Rincon Hondureño,
will you find sopa de caracol as good, or curry-tinged arroz con pollo, or coconut-infused
fish soup that revolves around a whole, fresh rock cod as highly peppered as pastrami.
For breakfast, there is hash fish, finely minced whitefish sautéed with onions
and peppers, served with red beans, plantains and the inevitable square of salty,
white cheese that seems to come with everything here. 1654 W. Adams St., Los
Angeles, (323) 734-9530. Open Mon.Fri. 7:30 a.m.9:30 p.m., Sat.Sun. 8 a.m.9:30
p.m. Beer only. Takeout. Street parking. Cash only. Lunch or dinner for two, $12$18.
Yung Ho Tou Chiang.
At Yung Ho Tou Chiang, the breakfast protocol is easy.
You order some soy milk, then some stuff to go along with it: flaky buns stuffed
with sweet, simmered turnips; steamed buns filled with spiced pork or black mushrooms;
crusty fried pies stuffed with pungent messes of sautéed leek tops; steamed pork
dumplings bursting with juice. The traditional accompaniment to soy milk is a
long, twisted, light-as-air cruller, and Yung Ho does them well. For another buck
or so, you can get the cruller smeared with a salty paste of pounded meat and
wrapped inside a cylinder of sticky rice, simulating the texture of a good sushi
roll. 533 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, (626) 570-0860. Open daily 6 a.m.6
p.m. Beer. Lot parking. Cash only. Food for two, $5$10. Chinese.