Brunch sans kale: Silver Lake's newest culinary gem

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If New York is the city that never sleeps, Los Angeles is the city that goes to bed early. That being said, there are advantages to early bedtimes, and one of those is waking up in time for brunch. Though there have been numerous criticisms of the brunch concept lately, namely that it is a bourgeois fabrication, I do not understand this stigma attached to late breakfasts. Personally, I find few things better than waking up hungry and dehydrated on a Sunday morning and indulging in carbohydrate-filled delicacies.

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Lucky Duck by Square Onecentrally located on Silver Lake’s Hyperion Avenue, just past the arid concrete basin known as the “Los Angeles River”offers a wide array of such delicacies, from fried green tomatoes to pork confit hash.

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mushroom omelette with spinach, goat feta, greens Photo credit: Nettie Stein-Miller
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egg sandwich with heirloom tomato, frisée, aioli, greens

Square One, the dining group responsible for Lucky Duck and Square One at the Boathouse, boasts their commitment to local and organic cuisine in their culinary philosophy: “Natural is always best and basic is not a trend.” However, Lucky Duck is not obnoxiously organic like many dining establishments in the area. The words “locally-grown”, “antibiotic-free” and “kale” are not present on the menu, yet the customer is made aware of the freshness of the cuisine by the restaurant’s atmosphere and its well-informed, cheerful wait-staff.

The open windows, natural light and view of the kitchen allow the diner access to the food—a welcome contrast to the concealed kitchens of many restaurants on par with Lucky Duck, which only serve to alienate the diner from their dish. It is always better to know where your food comes from before you eat it, as I found myself thinking to be especially true last week when a friend found a dead fly in her food at the Marketplace.

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pork confit with fried plantains, sunny eggs, spring onion, sofrito Photo credit: Nettie Stein-Miller
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lucky duck's home fries Photo credit: Nettie Stein-Miller

Though the idea of brunch has become quintessentially urban-American, what makes Lucky Duck unique is that its brunch menu contains dishes from all over the globe. One particularly satisfying dish is the pork confit and plantain hash with sunny eggs, spring onion and sofrito. I have scoured Los Angeles for Caribbean (and specifically Dominican) food and have been wildly unsuccessful, yet two items on the menu—the pork confit with plantain hash and the Cuban benedict—give diners a tinge of the Caribbean cuisine that is so deeply embedded in East Coast culinary culture.

Even the more simplistic dishes on the menu such as the mushroom omelette and egg sandwich are deeply flavorful and juicy, with eggs cooked to a succulent perfection that reaches the sweet region between runny and rancid.

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cuban benedict with pork confit, sofrito, swiss cheese, poached eggs, hollandaise Photo credit: Nettie Stein-Miller

So before judging the tattooed, Pitbull-toting, Doc Marten-wearing hipsters that populate Silver Lake’s best dining establishments, remember that we all come for the same thing: feeding our insatiable brunch appetite. As Robert Heinlein so wisely said, “One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”