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Breakfast 

Thursday, Aug 18 2005
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Angélique Café. Down in the garment district, where Spring and Main streets converge, there’s 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 Commereuc’s brother’s 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 $6.45–$8.95. French. MH ¢

Art’s Delicatessen. Art’s 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, Art’s 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. JG $$

Axe. 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. MH $$

Dish. 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 Shreiner’s, the local German butchers, or thick slices of baked ham that’s been encrusted with gingersnaps and brown sugar. For lunch or dinner, you can’t 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 $7.95–$15.95. American. MH $

Europane. 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 cacao’s 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. MH ¢

Hong Kong Low Deli. Open in time for early breakfast, Chinatown’s 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. JG ¢

Marston’s. At breakfast, Marston’s 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. Marston’s may be a little Calvinist in its hours, perhaps guided by the notion that laggards don’t deserve to eat anything as good as its golden, cornflake-breaded French toast. 151 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, (626) 796-2459. Open Tues.–Fri. 7–11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner Wed.–Sat. 5:30–9:30 p.m. Beer and wine. Lot parking. MC, V. Entrées $5–$11. American. JG $

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. JG $

Pho 79. 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 I’ve 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. JG ¢

Rincon Hondureño. 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. Honduran. JG ¢

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. JG ¢

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