It's always a good time to talk about breakfast foods. And as much as love the obvious choices of eggs and bacon, waffles and omelets, how about something different? We Angelenos are lucky enough to live in a place surrounded by so many diverse breakfast options (everything from Lebanese to Malaysian) and we're here to make sure you spoil yourself accordingly. Here are five great versions around town. (And yes, we know there are about a thousand more.)
Olson’s Scandinavian Delicatessen
Established in 1948, Olson’s Scandinavian Delicatessen has acted as more than a place to pick up some Nordic cheeses or cans of herring. Here you can dine like Scandinavian, IKEA furniture and all. And while they emphasize the lunch sandwiches, Olson’s also offers a few breakfast dishes.
The egg and kalles sandwich is a simple brioche bun filled with sliced hard boiled eggs and kalles — a Swedish paste made from smoked and salted cod roe — and served with picked cucumbers. Pair this with elderflower water. If fish eggs aren't your thing, try the Swedish pancakes, crepe-like pancakes which come with Queensberry jam and whipped cream. 5660 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 938-0742.
Serving up Australian baked goods for the last 16 months, the Bronzed Aussie specializes in meat pies, blends of savory ground beef stuffed inside a flakey crust and served with ketchup. Also filling owner Samantha Bryan’s cases are Australian sausage rolls, spinach and feta rolls, and quiches with names like the veggie brekkie and sausage and bacon brekki. For an Australian dessert, Bryan has you covered with Lamingtons, sponge cakes coated in chocolate and coconut flakes. To complete the Aussie breakfast, there are, of course, flat whites. 714 S Los Angeles St., DTLA; (213) 243-0770.
Drawing influences from both French and Lebanese traditions, Armenian-Lebanese owners Vrej and Amy Tomboulian offer a glimpse into a typical Lebanese bakery in their 20-year-old shop. At Vrej Pastry, special occasion cakes, French pastries and cookies fill the display cases and trays of baklava sit on top, ready for the taking.
Vrej Pastry also offers a classic Lebanese breakfast food: knafeh. This is a thick slice of sweetened haloumi cheese between two layers of a rose and orangeblossom water-soaked semolina crust. The plain knafeh is then stuffed into a sesame seed bun. Vrej also offers an array of croissants. And along with the usual chocolate and ham and cheese, there's a fantastic za'atar and olive oil variation. 1074 N Allen Ave., Pasadena; (626) 797-2331.
Siam Sunset provides not only traditional Thai cuisine, but Thai breakfast. Pork blood soup, intestine with pickled mustard greens, rice porridge and Chinese doughnuts are some of the dishes that can be found in Bangkok and, because of Siam Sunset, in Hollywood as well.
The most common breakfast is the rice porridge, reminiscent of a savory oatmeal. Your choice of pork, chicken, fish, duck or shrimp comes buried under a heap of salty porridge. Green onions and lemongrass top the simple dish. An order of rice porridge typically comes with a plate of unsweetened Chinese doughnuts and a side of condensed milk for dipping. 5265 W Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 467-8935.
Open since March, PappaRich offers traditional Malaysian cuisine wrapped in sleek, modern design. Nasi lemak, coconut rice, centers a common Malaysian plate of fried anchovies, fried peanuts, cucumber, half a hard boiled egg and a dollop of sambal. The dish also pairs well with an order of fried chicken, sate skewers or fried eggplant slathered in curry.
As customers dine, they can watch a man making fresh roti, which comes with a small bowl of potato curry for dipping and may also be eaten for breakfast — or whenever that curry craving sets in. Also notable is the Malaysian toast and jam. The toast at PappaRich comes either toasted or steamed, with a side of butter and kaya — a sweet coconut paste similar to bean paste. Wash everything down with a Malaysian iced coffee, sweetened with condensed milk. 721 S Western Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 434-6535.