Thursday, January 21, 2010

#23 The Griddle

#30 Hollywood Walk of Fame
#29 Yamashiro
#28 Hollywood Billiards
#27 Genghis Cohen
#26 Piano Bar
#25 Shmutzville
# 24 Loteria

# 23 The Griddle

What's always been off to me is the way that American high culture seems to revere food and drink in a way that's very stratified and separated. What I mean is that styles of foods are appreciated by intellectuals only as the style or ethnicity and rarely as a meal itself. For instance, rarely does a liberal intellectual faux-foodie discuss the actual dish they have eaten or plan to eat such as eating duck confit or seafood paella, but instead the discussion is about a particular restaurant's French or Spanish cuisine. Even subcategories stand in for actual meals such as "tapas" or "dim sum." Food is not any particular dish, but instead a collection of dishes making up a particular style of cuisine. These styles are grouped together, usually by cultural origins, but size, or temperature, or season of consumption also can play a part in a grouping. Angelinos LOVE to talk food, and despite most of their inabilities to tell the difference between a cabernet and a zinfandel, they are almost all experts. But throughout all of this stratifying and circle-jerk food discussions, very rarely will a liberal intellectual stoop so low as to discuss the merits of my favorite of the food categories: breakfast.

For a liberal intellectual to discuss breakfast, this discussion better consist of croque monsieurs or eggs Florentine, because the moment you begin discussions of pancakes and waffles, you are immediately low. Unfortunately, breakfast is the King of all Meals, and is not given the respect that other meals, like…say, lunch or dinner are handed. It really is a damn shame to live in a food city as diverse and beautiful as LA and have breakfast shoved to the same corner as chicken fingers and fish sticks. Even traditional foodie no-nos like hot dogs, burgers, and cupcakes are treated like fois gras out here, but breakfast is tossed to the side. Except for one place, on the corner of Sunset and Fairfax, at the Griddle.

The Griddle may or may not have my favorite breakfast in LA, but right now I'm leaning towards "not have." It's certainly not perfect, but every Saturday and Sunday, the line grows outside early and often. Even the celebrities get up early and show up for eggs, coffee, and the biggest pancakes you'll ever see on the planet. On one corner in the city, for two mornings a week, breakfast's place as an unimportant food group, eaten only out of necessity to get to lunch, is forgotten and we all gorge ourselves with espresso-packed pancakes and cholesterol–busting breakfasts.

At the risk of turning this entire project into a series of glorified Yelp! reviews, I'll do my best to limit the sausage sucking. I really just love the food here, I love the atmosphere, I am intrigued as to why the wait staff at a breakfast place consists of the best looking men in the USA, and I won't lie, it's a little intimidating; I love the line outside, I love getting up on a Saturday with friends on the couch and making the pilgrimage, I love missing NFL games in lieu of eggs and pancakes, I am also confused as to why my girlfriend always orders the veggie burger despite being surrounded by eggs, waffles, and pancakes; and I love walking out talking about the food despite the lack of port reductions and charcuterie plates. That's really it for me. It's a great spot, in the middle of the city, that brings out the best in people's appetites, during the best meal of the day. To me, the griddle stands for more than stunningly good-looking men and stunningly large pancake concoctions, it stands for breakfast in LA . . . and that's what I'll miss.

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