A Global Celebration of the Egg

Huevos polenta | Photo by Bill Esparza

Since 1996, the International Egg Commission has celebrated World Egg Day on the second Friday of every October, promoting the chicken egg as an affordable, vitamin-rich source of protein. While it seems that the egg has conquered the universe and needs no further introduction, there still exists a smaller group of egg fiends that truly believe that everything tastes better with an egg on top. You know who you are. All cultures have their distinctive egg dishes, pursuing the variety of cooking techniques applied to this pleasurable staple. With perhaps the broadest range of cultures within its borders, Los Angeles is the best city to enjoy egg dishes. Here’s an international taste of some of LA's top egg dishes.   

Cooks County

Short rib hash | Photo by Bill Esparza

There has been a recent surge in tempting brunches around town, but Chef Daniel Mattern and Chef Roxana Jullapat’s ultra-seasonal cooking has a freshness, and campestral ambiance that demands repeat visits—this restaurant is practically synonymous with brunch in Los Angeles. There are several mouth-watering ways to get your egg fix here, but the braised beef short rib hash is a slow cooked concentration of beef, onions and potatoes that frames a brown, savory seasoning into a glistening, tender fried egg. Break the yolk and let it trickle into the beefy braise doing what you must to devour every last drop.   

Egg Slut

Egg Daddy | Photo by Bill Esparza

A special place in our hearts is reserved for a food truck utterly devoted to our object of our oval infatuation: the egg. Coming here is liberating—to stand proudly in line, smiling knowing that this truck and your inner addict share the same name. You’ll even go to that fast-food place for the egg and sausage sandwich, but wait—there’s the truck’s signature Egg Daddy: a juicy hamburger patty, melted Tillamook cheddar, and a fried egg dressed in mustard aioli in a soft, sweet brioche. You no longer have to hide your breakfast sandwich in a paper bag, holding it below the eye level of other drivers. Thanks, guys!

Eilat Grill

Shakshuka | Photo by Bill Esparza

Shakshuka is one of those egg dishes probably best had from a Jewish mother, or at a flea market in Jaffa. To ask where to find the best shakshuka in LA is wander into a quagmire, to be pinned down against a superior verbal assault, that is, until another Israeli comes along. If you can’t have it from a Jewish mother, Chef Jacob Levy can at least give you shakshuka the “old way” (in a cast iron skillet) in the Valley’s own Fairfax District (Burbank and Whitsett) —sautéed onions and peppers with poached eggs which are then drowned in spiced tomatoes, and cooked until well done. Tell your Jewish friends that this one’s the best and you’ll end up being invited to their mom’s house for the real deal.

Farm Shop

Shirred eggs | Photo by Bill Esparza

While Jeffrey Cerciello’s work with Thomas Keller lends a metric ton of credibility, it’s the menu that stands out when you first arrive at this cozy celebrity studded restaurant in the Brentwood Country Mart, which is a little Mayberry-meets—Brentwood. Cerciello’s serious kitchen crew members are egg virtuosos, comfortable at playing all styles. As an egg devotee, you’ll want to order the springy, shirred eggs (baked eggs with a little cream) in a stew of wild greens, and sweet peppers cooked with restraint( they’re not oily or overly tender as is most often the case) crème fraiche, a sprinkling of bread crumbs and chives finish off this marvel of textures and flavors.

Merkato

Doro wat | Photo by Bill Esparza

Little Ethiopia goes off on Sunday nights, when the Ethiopian community sips St. George beers, and blended scotch, filling both sides of Fairfax Bl. with animated, percussive conversation. Ethiopians are fond of stews and have a great tradition of communal dining around a circle of spongy, fermented bread called injeera. The highly popular doro wat (chicken and hardboiled egg stew) at this restaurant, bar and Ethiopian market, comes with a sting if you order it spicy. It’s a slow-cooked blend of berbere (multi-spice blend), and niter kibbeh (fat) whose potency is mellowed with patient cooking, yielding a level of refinement. The permeable hard-boiled egg was engineered to soak up these rich flavors.

Pa Ord Noodles

Crispy pork | Photo by Bill Esparza

This Thai town strip mall noodle classic packs a crown in every day for full-flavored bowls of boat noodles; there’s even a comforting picture on the wall of owner Lawan Bhanduram serving her hit recipe on a river boat in Thailand. Thai cuisine, like many Asian cuisines, subscribes to the notion that everything is better with an egg on top; it’s not a gimmick, but a way of life. Besides their famous boat noodles, order the Chinese broccoli with crispy pork, and ask them to put a fried egg on top and your dish shall be transformed. Once you fork pieces the yolk and it drips onto the savory blend of delicate greens and wet crackling, an outer—egg—shell experience unfolds.

Playa

Huevos polenta | Photo by Bill Esparza

Chef John Sedlar is renowned for creating modern Southwestern back in the 80’s and for his leading approach to modern Latino, but his attention to the importance of flavor over technique is palpable in his simplest plates. Huevos polenta is a stand out on his weekend brunch menu at his Urban Latino restaurant where a 63 degree egg takes center stage atop a luscious polenta flavored by lardons, roasted poblano chile for a mild heat, zucchini, and crumbled queso cotija. The 63 degree egg is the kind of technology egg aficionados can get behind; it yields the lightest texture and visually exciting translucent yellow liquor in the yolk. Now that’s what we call progress.

Rocio’s Moles de Los Dioses

Rabo de meztiza | Photo by Bill Esparza

It surprises that LA has so few Mexican egg dishes available in our local Mexican restaurants, but Chef Rocio Camacho has managed to feature a dish that’s even rare south of the border. Rabo de meztiza, or the tattered dress of a Meztiza (Mexican woman of native-American and European ancestry). This dish of an egg poached in a tomato and chile gaujillo stew is a dish you’re only likely to find at fancy breakfast spots in Mexico City, but we could some more of this here in Los Angeles. The final touches to this middle spiced dish are roasted strips of chile poblano and melted cheese—this and several other egg dishes make the Maywood and Sun Valley branches of this pre-hispanic themed restaurant a top breakfast stop in LA.

Spanish Fly

Brik | Photo by Bill Esparza

Is there anything better than a pastry filled with a steamed egg with a runny yolk? Most of our experiences in LA with brik have been with egg yolk and a belly dancer in your lap. Fortunately, LA has an Algerian chef that recently opened up a restaurant in Koreatown featuring French, Spanish, and Algerian cuisine. The brik here is more sophisticated than what you’re used to without losing its street cred. Try Chef Farid Zadi brik filled with delicious crab meat—remember to bite in and slurp the yolk, or you can always bring a yellow shirt.

Square One Dining

Baked eggs | Photo by Bill Esparza

The patio at this Hollywood breakfast hotspot is always full of eager dinners ready to dive in to an royal treasure of tempting egg dishes. Phil Fox, Robert Lee, and Hayden Ramsey are among many restaurants around LA committed to local, fresh products prepared with gusto—this might be what Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson meant when they penned Breakfast in America. We don’t see enough of baked egg dishes in LA, but the baked eggs with lightly braised greens and mushrooms covered in just pierced, rich yolk over Anson Mills grits is comforting enough to tide us over.

Torafuku

Tamagoyaki | Photo by Bill Esparza

There are so many choices in LA for omelettes. We’ve everything from greasy spoons, to oyster omelettes in the SGV, to our modern-American kitchens that treat omelettes with the care  they deserve, but the delicate texture and flavor of the tamagoyaki at this Westside hallmark of traditional Japanese cooking is sublime. The omelette is cooked in a special pan that produces the fluffiest omelettes imaginable of they chef has the touch. This Japanese omelette is airy, only slightly sweet, which is perfect for the pairing of pickled daikon radish, and the umami laced seaweed. Take your time with with this omelette to appreciate all its charms.

INFO

Cooks County
8009 Beverly Boulevard  Los Angeles, CA 90048
323.653.8009

Egg Slut
@Coffee Commissary
801 N. Fairfax Ave #106
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Monday - Friday, 7:00AM - 10:00AM

Eilat Grill
12519 Burbank Boulevard  North Hollywood, CA 91607
818.762.1900

Farm Shop
225 26th St  Santa Monica, CA 90049
310.566.2400

Merkato
1036 South Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, 90019
323.935.1775

Pa Ord Noodles
5301 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90027
323.461.3945

Rocio's Moles de Los Dioses
8255 Sunland Blvd
Sun Valley, CA 91352

Spanish Fly Gastropub
3800 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 110
Los Angeles, 90010

Square One Dining
4854 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, 90029
323.661.1109

Torafuku
10914 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064
310.470.0014