It's been quite a while since I've written about brunch, mainly because I haven't really had time for it since I moved to LA. I can usually find a better way to spend the two hours that I used to devote to this most cherished Sunday afternoon activity....lately it's involved going to Home Depot or grading papers. But Monday is my birthday, so it was fitting that I revisit the "brunch topic" by celebrating with my favorite meal at what is already my new favorite brunch locale - Tiara Cafe on 9th Street, east of Main, in Downtown Los Angeles.
Quality of food: 4
Quality of coffee: 3.5
Overall value: 4.5
Alcohol: Mimosas are gorgeous, but pricey
So as the scores suggest, I really, really like this place. Let's break it down. First, the food is great. The pancakes melt in your mouth, the salads and breakfast meats are fresh, and the vegetarian options are savory. Plus they put mint in their water, which makes it 10x better than normal water, much to our surprise. The coffee is fine, from what I remember, but the Mimosas are a work of art....champagne with blood orange and ginger! Genius!
The service at Tiara is delightful, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I think it's still under the radar and the growing population of downtown hasn't really found it yet, so it's easy to get in and get a seat. Secondly, the owner seems to be one of the happiest, gentlest souls I've met in this city so far, and he always takes care of us with abundant compliments and frequent check-ins. However, it's hard not to be happy in Tiara...it's beautiful in there! (See photo below) It's bright and happy and spacious and perfect for brunch. Also the light fixtures are gorgeous, but that's a design-nerd thing for me.....
Anyway, overall value is as close as I give to a perfect score. Really Tiara is just great and most of the entrees are below $10, which makes it not only tasty and pretty, but affordable as well. AND it's within walking distance of my apartment building. Score! I might rename it "Happy Brunch Land". Keep your fingers crossed that I don't have to wait until my next birthday to return!
Postscript: Birthday Brunch 2007 was not nearly as eventful as Birthday Brunch 2006, which took place at Vinyl in Cincinnati before it started to suck. I am missing everyone in this picture, and thinking about last year, and giggling....and they all know why.