November 07, 2010

Back to Brunch at Canele

It's no secret that Canele is one of, if not my favorite, restaurants in L.A. Although a visit I made for dinner a few months ago was perhaps less than stellar, a fact mostly attributable to the pasta alio e olio that was a holdover from the previous osteria, I still consider Canele's brunch my favorite in the city. I've taken some foodie friends there over the years but now that I have church in the mornings, I get the chance to brunch here afterwards (since service is over by 11:30).

I came here for a lazy brunch with two of my friends - Grace and Sam. Grace's husband Chris was supposed to join us but since he couldn't, the three of us sat at the communal table. I made sure to order my favorite item on the menu for all of us to share - the french toast. More on that in a bit.

Duck Hash

I ordered the duck hash, which comes as a massive potato pancake and topped with a duo of crispy fried eggs. Pickled red onions comes along to provide that acidic counterpoint (which I call the "kimchi" factor). The hash is very browned, almost blackened, while the tender duck meat almost gets lost in the hefty potato hash. When you break apart the egg yolks and meld it all together, you have a sublime brunch dish.

Beet Burrata Farro Salad

Grace's beet and burrata cheese salad was no slouch, tossed with a light vinaigrette, walnuts, dark greens, and a strong element of parsley to parry the sweet, market-fresh beets. Sam's farro dish, stir-fried with greens and capped with a fried egg, would've seemed like a lame vegetarian replacement. Instead, it was mixed in with Canele's house-made bacon, which was cut into lardon-like chunks and kept undercooked to retain a chewy bite. The dish also comes with a side of spicy sriracha so you can ramp it up a few notches of flavor.

And what can I say about the french toast that hasn't already been said? The thing is a marvel. It's quickly fried and then baked, only to be subsequently basted in the oven like a Thanksgiving day turkey. The thick slices of country bread are imbued with egg to create something resembling a breakfast souffle. The inside is almost luscious and custardy while the crust is caramelized and firm. I prefer to douse it with maple syrup though a seasonal jam like poached prunes and mascarpone is available as an add-on. You'll only have to expect a slight wait because Canele's brunch has already caught on with the locals.

3219 Glendale Blvd.
in Atwater Village
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Brunch is weekends 10:00AM-3:00PM


Gastronomer said...

The Eat My Blog committee brunched at Canele a few weekends ago and I still can't get over how great it was. I ordered the farro and could not have been happier. Wish Canele were just a touch closer to Pas...

mattatouille said...

Cathy, glad you enjoyed the meal. The brunches seem a bit under the radar and almost simple, but what hits the plate is just marvelous. Canele isn't very far from Pasadena, maybe 15 min if you drive like I do :) Fastest way might be 134 to 2 South to 5 North then exit Glendale Blvd. Ok maybe 20 min if you drive conservatively. I can't think of a better brunch option except maybe LGO.

Daniel said...

Matt, I went there with Chris, Sam (again), andy, julie shirley, and grace (again) yesterday. Damn that french toast is truly amazing. and their omelette is very fluffy and airy. we waited over 30 minutes for our food so they comped it. they were pretty busy so their service was spotty but their food is pretty amazing.

Diana said...

Hah, that Gastronomer is a quick one! Was just about to rave about the farro also, but alas, she beat me to that punch. ;) I actually just recreated the dish at home - so good! Even for dinner.

Thanks for introducing us to Canele last summer. I'll never forget that first bite of French toast...

glutster said...

Came here for Dinner not too long ago and ended up making a dinner out of 3 Appetizers. They were out of most entrees! ha ha. But then again we did go like right at 10:00.

But...Duck Hash!!?

thanks for the post man.

mattatouille said...

Daniel, thanks for sharing about your experience. I'm sorry to hear that the service wasn't as good. I did find that they took a while to bring out our food as well. 30 minutes is definitely unacceptable and I'm glad they comped the meal to compensate. Still, I don't think that's sustainable and good in the long run. I hope they work out the service issues. Let's definitely get another brunch there some time on Sunday.

mattatouille said...

Diana - I remember your positive reaction when you first had the french toast. It's still amazing, if not better these days.

mattatouille said...

Javier - you have to try the duck hash. It's awesome. Too bad they were out of dishes by 10PM. I understand their point of view - go early for the best experience! I go around 6PM most of the time to beat the potential wait time.