When we first launched Extra Crispy a year ago, the intrepid Matt Gross wrote an entire feature about standing in line at Sqirl, the Jessica Koslow-helmed cafe that has a perpetual wait and a cult following. On a recent visit to Los Angeles, I went back to Sqirl, half expecting to be disappointed. I had been before, but now, as a semi-professional eater of breakfast bowls and ricotta toast, was it really worth the schlep and the wait for the offerings at Sqirl? I mean, surely the hype was overblown. Reader: Believe the hype. Sqirl is still worth the wait.
Yes, the tables are somewhat rickety, and yes, it feels a little bit pretentious. But the food is so very good, friendly to all manner of dietary restrictions and those who would prefer to have bacon for every meal.. I've rarely been able to convince myself to order anything except for their sorrel rice bowl, a mound of sorrel pesto-spiked rice with preserved lemon, feta, dill, watermelon radish, hot sauce, and, of course, an egg on top. The pro move, I learned after going with an Angeleno pal, is to get some of the ricotta and jam toast to split alongside the bowl—your classic sweet and savory breakfast combination. Sqirl's housemade jams are excellent. On my recent visit I tried the blood orange and vanilla, but I've never been disappointed by my jam selection. And their vanilla bean lemonade, though rarely lauded as much as the other menu offerings, is the perfect tart counterpoint to the ricotta-jam combination.
As a once-a-year visitor to Los Angeles, I'm by no means an expert—no doubt there are many, many hidden breakfast gems tucked all over the city. But I am, by now, pretty good at eating breakfast, and Sqirl is one you're never going to go wrong with.