The only thing better than brunch is brunch from dozens of L.A. restaurants at the same time — all while getting boozy and betting on horse races with a view of the towering San Gabriel Mountains.
Brunch at the Races, L.A. Weekly's ode to the most anticipated meal of the week, takes place Sunday, Oct. 18, at Santa Anita Park. Graze on some of the city's most delectable brunch dishes and sip on some of its finest brunch cocktails from more than 30 restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and more. You'll find a hearty lineup of the city's best brunch spots, but here are six bites you definitely don't to want to miss.
Mini Fried Chicken Biscuit, Poppy + Rose
Poppy + Rose's mini fried chicken biscuit sandwich is a perfect brunch-time nosh. At this cozy Southern-style diner in the Flower District, they brine their chicken in buttermilk and usually serve it atop a fluffy vanilla waffle. For Brunch at the Races, Poppy + Rose will be making mini sandwiches out of their popular fried chicken dish, putting tender pieces of crisp white meat on a flaky house-made biscuit with garlic aioli and a pickle.
There's a reason that Du-Par's has claimed the best pancakes in L.A. for more than 75 years. Despite a corporate buyout in 2004, the original location of this hometown diner, at the Original Farmers Market, has never changed its pancake recipe, meaning you can still get those famously moist, no-frills hotcakes anytime of the day. At Brunch at the Races, the thick and fluffy pancakes will be served alongside clarified butter and maple syrup — a shining example of the excellence of simplicity.
Apple-Vanilla-Grape Strudel, BierBeisl Imbiss
BierBeisl Imbiss, Bernhard Mairinger's new Austrian restaurant downtown, gets credit for its expert sausages, schnitzel and steins of European beer. But equally impressive are all the traditional Austrian breads and pastries that come out of the massive adjoining bakery — the one being operated by the young Rene Felbermayr, who moved here from Austria for the gig. Brunch at the Races will spotlight Felbermayr's talents, including a sauerkraut and mustard croissant with speck and a small version of BierBeisl's apple-vanilla-grape strudel squares.
Red Velvet Pancakes, Myke's Cafe
On the other side of the pancake spectrum from Du-par's classic approach are the red velvet pancakes from Myke's Cafe, a breakfast and lunch spot in Pacoima (on the site of owner Ralph Andrade's family's Mexican restaurant). In 2012, Andrade started serving an assortment of crazy, decadent diner dishes, like Snickers burgers and s'mores French toast. For Brunch at the Races, Andrade is bringing another Myke's Cafe favorite: red velvet pancakes, which are topped with cocoa powder, powdered sugar and cream cheese frosting.
Douhua, Chef Johnny Lee
Maybe he's not a household name, but chef Johnny Lee's handiwork is behind some of the best “pan-Angeleno” Asian food concepts to hit L.A. in the last few years. From Spirit House in Monterey Park to Eggslut and Sticky Rice at Grand Central Market to Ramen Champ and Kaya Street Kitchen, Lee has consulted, cooked and created for some of our favorite breakfasts and brunches. Tt Brunch at the Races, he'll be working with Meiji Tofu, a local producer of organic tofu, to serve a simple Cantonese dessert called douhua, a bowl of silken tofu with a ginger syrup. He's also planning to serve a small portion of Hainan chicken rice, a dish he first developed for Sticky Rice. This version will be a new iteration, though, that will be a staple at Gohan, Lee's forthcoming pop-up restaurant concept specializing in rice-based cuisine.
Waffle With Ricotta and Berries, Go Get Em Tiger
Go Get Em Tiger might be the home base of the country's top barista (according to this year's U.S. Coffee Championships), but Charles Babinski's Larchmont Village coffee shop also has one of the strongest brunch games around. For Brunch at the Races, they will be serving their yeast-raised waffle with ricotta, market berries and honey, which also made an appearance this summer at the now-shuttered Go Get Em Tiger Silver Lake pop-up. With a light and airy center and crisp exterior, these waffles have a nice tang from the house yeast. Plus, the whole dish is made from locally sourced ingredients, with Gioia ricotta from the San Gabriel Valley, eggs from La Bahn Ranch in Temecula and berries from farmers markets around L.A.