October 1, 2007

First Bite: Urth Caffe (Melrose, LA)

After an entertaining and delightful dinner at Sushi Sushi on North Beverly, Jenn and I went out for brunch at the Urth Caffe. I had been hoping to check out some of Suzanne Goin's cooking at the Hungry Cat, but it just wasn't meant to be (which is too bad, considering everything I'd read; I had planned to stop at the Santa Barbara location for lunch, but they don't serve it, and then on Saturday morning, the LA branch wasn't serving brunch. Next time).

Back to the Urth. Since Jenn lives in walking distance of the Avalon Hotel (pictures) where I was staying (mostly overrated if you ask me, though you haven't), she gave me the choice of going to the close Urth Caffe or the cute one. I looked back, quizzically, and asked if one had better food, and if they both had outdoor seating. She said they were both identical, so I went for the cute one (Melrose). Why not?

I was hungry, but had no idea what I was getting myself into. When I got to the front of the line, about 10 minutes' wait, I ordered the assorted bread basket with Brie, a small dolce cappuccino, a side of eggs, and a side of potatoes (and a brownie. I hadn't had my morning chocolate fix). I'm not sure what I was thinking, since the bread basket came with five breads, but when the waiter came my plates filled the table. Filled it.

The cappuccino was good (not as good as Intelligentsia) but the bread basket was not terribly exciting. The demi-baguette shaped loaf was the best, followed by the bagel. The rest were unexciting. Bland. Crumby (which is to say unsuitable for the Brie).

Jenn's caramelized banana bread pudding was the star of the day. The subtle sweetness, beautiful bananas, and the little pot of sweetened cream made this a near perfect breakfast in my eyes. And it made me long for Birmingham a bit. It's true.

Urth was fine, just don't order the bread basket, eggs, and potatoes unless you want to share it with at least one other person. The caramelized banana bread pudding was to die for.

"I feel like I'm going to die every day" basically sums up my motoring experience in L.A. Jenn said it, but I definitely felt it. More than a bit scary for driving.

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