Question: I am faced with the unexpected arrival of friends who have asked me, an insular San Fernando Valley resident, to find a place where six of us can meet for brunch on Sunday. They will be staying in midtown.
Answer: It is hard to imagine a better introduction to Los Angeles than brunch on the thatched-roof patio at the original Cha Cha Cha at the eastern end of Melrose: strong coffee, suave music and the cooking of Toribio Prado, the undisputed baron of upscale Caribbean food in Los Angeles. The noise and the sceniness can be a little much at dinner, but on Sunday morning, when locals vastly outnumber screaming Corona bibbers, the buzz is exactly right. And the chilaquiles are the best in town. Cha Cha Cha, 656 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 664-7723.