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The Beach Gourmet: Bread and Porridge: More Than Gruel?:

Bread and Porridge has a mission, and that mission includes some darn fine, simple but superbly prepared breakfasts that a friend and I had the pleasure of sampling this past, gloriously sunny, weekend.

First, this place is popular, and by that I mean on a Saturday around noon it is reasonable, judging by my experience, to expect something of a wait before a table becomes available. Ours was 45 minutes, so be advised to arrive before hunger pangs start to kick in.

Second, the delay was not altogether bad, given that of the two large, spacious and airy rooms that make up Bread and Porridge, one is a comfortable coffee lounge of the distinctly Friends variety, replete with leather sofas and oversized easy chairs, a simple coffee and tea blackboard menu and a host of “beautiful people” clientele seeing and being seen.  It was here that we parked ourselves. As we were waiting, however, it did occur to me that had this room contained several more tables…hmmm.

Eventually we were seated, and our orders taken by our “team member” server, Alfonso. The staff protocol here is radically different from the norm, as each team member is a multi-purpose human being; one day they may be a waiter, the next a busboy and the next perhaps a cook. They are, if you will, the Swiss army knives of restaurant staff, and very sharp with it!

We decided to share a quartet of strawberry pancakes and maple syrup ($7.50), and I also chose a breakfast quesadilla  (flour tortilla filled with melted jack cheese, freshly minced jalapeno and slices of Roma tomato, served with scrambled eggs, roasted red potatoes and garnished with avocado, sliced orange and banana, and served with salsa and black beans, $10.35).

My friend went for the chuck wagon omelet  (country ham, jack and cheddar cheese, and served with roasted red potatoes, $10.85), and we both shared a superb carafe of French pressed coffee.

The service was quick, the plates were hot and the presentation exquisite. Large fluffy pancakes, well packed with fresh strawberries, and what tasted like a fine quality maple syrup (rich and smooth, but not overly sweet).

My breakfast quesadilla was delightful. Perfect triangles with melted jack cheese, very tasty semi-crisp red spuds, firm scrambled eggs, accompanied by two small china cups, one containing black beans and the other a delicious cilantro-dominant fresh salsa.

My friend was almost inhaling his plate, but did take time out to show me one of the many large chunks of country ham encased in his omelet. With servings this generous, I was amazed at the speed with which he consumed his choice. Slow down and savor, Danny; it’s not the destination, but the journey that’s important!

The aforementioned coffee lounge is very appealing, but I can’t imagine myself relaxing there for long without succumbing to the temptation of the bustling feast fest next door. That, I suppose, is the idea.

I liked this place and will return, loll for a while with a cappuccino in the coffee lounge, saunter next door for some chow (perhaps dinner next time) and feel, just for a moment, as if I too am one of the “beautiful people.”

Oh, and by the way, they DO serve porridge – well, oatmeal or Cream of Wheat to be precise.

Bread and Porridge, 2315 Wilshire Boulevard, 310.453.4941  

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