LA’s Best Brunch Spots Along with a Brief History

brunchFor some reason, I don’t like Sundays. Maybe it’s because I know that I’ve used up all my passes for the weekend. You know how on Friday night, even if you just decide to stay in and do takeout on the couch, you still feel incredibly optimistic because the next day is Saturday? But when you wake up on Sunday, that’s it. There are no more second chances in order – at least not until next weekend. When I wake up on Sunday morning, I no longer feel invincible. It’s like the after-effects of all the weekend fun (or lack thereof) have suddenly come crashing down. The hangover sets in. That Tuesday deadline that you pushed out of your mind has now returned with a vengeance. Those emails and phone calls you need to handle first thing on Monday morning when you’re back at the office are nagging mercilessly in the back of your mind.

This is where brunch comes in. I like to refer to it as the “saving grace” of Sunday. It rejuvenates you, it satisfies you, and it’s one last chance to be social and have fun. It allows you to procrastinate Monday’s responsibilities and obligations – even if just for another hour or two. So why on earth would any one pass up such an opportunity?

A mash-up of breakfast and lunch, the term “brunch” was first coined back in 1896 in the August issue of the British magazine, Punch. An article by Guy Beringer titled “Brunch: A Plea” extolled the virtues and benefits associated with engaging in a brunch-type event, and he even envisioned the possibility of the meal being accompanied by alcoholic beverages (which is now the case, particularly with mimosas and Bloody Marys – the two signature brunch drinks).

Brunch gained popularity in the United States during the 1930s, when celebrities, movie stars and other wealthy elite would step off the transcontinental train rides in Chicago and stop for a late morning meal. Author Evan Jones explained the phenomenon to the New York Times: “We like to sleep in Sundays, read the newspapers and loll in bed. After the World War II generation went away from church altogether, Sunday became a day to enjoy doing nothing and brunch just grew like topsy.”

As kids we tended to associate brunch with old ladies and church, but these days it has an entirely different meaning. Brunch is trending, and young people all over America are engaging in weekly brunch sessions with their friends. For all my native Angelenos, here’s a list of some of the best brunch spots in Los Angeles. And I think it’s pretty safe to say that brunch is the new black.

Perch: For an 11 a.m. downtown dining adventure, Perch boasts the best views in the city and offers one of the best champagne brunches that I’ve ever experienced. Assorted charcuterie and cheese plates, French toast drizzled in Vermont maple syrup, and a three-egg omelet further enhance the gastronomic experience. They also feature live musical performers every Sunday, so you can lose yourself in the jazzy music as you proceed to lose your inhibitions in the “build your own bubbly” set-up, trying to figure out whether you want orange juice or peach puree with your champagne. Why not both?

Bottega Louie: Also located downtown, this French-themed eatery is always filled with people because it’s that good. Noisy but fun, their brunch menu includes tasty favorites such as the lemon ricotta pancakes, smoked salmon benedict and lobster hash, in addition to colorful cocktails such as their spicy Bloody Mary and the ever-so-decadent champagne cobbler. If you still have room afterwards, make a stop at the elaborate macaron display in the front, where you can choose from a selection of exotic flavors like rose, lavender and Earl Grey tea.

Larchmont Bungalow: The line to eat at this breakfast hotspot is out the door on Sunday mornings, so if you want to eat here, it’s best to come early. An artisan café, bakery and coffee brewery, Larchmont Bungalow offers all-day breakfast and desserts, as well as specially crafted teas and coffees. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, from their lobster crake cakes to their crepes and huevos rancheros, but they’re especially known for their patriotic  red and blue velvet pancakes (which happen to be vegan but they still taste sinfully delicious. It’s almost unfair.)

Hotel Bel-Air: This is the Cartier of brunches; nestled amongst lavish gated estates and tall trees is Hotel Bel-Air, a luxurious hideaway that offers an elegant dining experience for those who are feeling extra fancy. Featuring a handcrafted Bloody Mary bar and live entertainment, sit back and relax in a leisurely setting as you feast on a variety of five-star dishes, including their egg white frittata served with goat cheese and caramelized shallots along with their blueberry-buttermilk pancakes dusted with salted maple butter.

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