Los Angeles is absurd and fast and beguiling and ugly and untamed and cosmopolitan and beautiful and even today feels like it’s on the cultural frontier. The California mega-metropolis built over bulldozed fruit groves remains the undisputed king of entertainment, with generations of unwavering preeminence in music and film…More on Need Supply
Jessica Koslow realized that the Eastside was bereft of a great every day breakfast and lunch spot, and SQIRL was the answer everyone was waiting for. Tucked away on a sleepy stretch of Virgil, this seasonal kitchen produces surprising cuisine that balances flavor with superb ingredients. Don’t miss desserts either.
In the beginning, there was toast.Specifically, slices of burnt brioche, topped with homemade ricotta and spread to the very edges with small-batch jam in flavors like strawberry–rose geranium. And with that, Jessica Koslow turned a year’s kitchen experience (followed by a three-year stint as a producer for American Idol) into Sqirl. What began in 2011 as an upstart preserves operation quickly spawned a sliver of a café serving breakfast and lunch in Silver Lake, Los Angeles’s neighborhood du jour. Suddenly, people were waiting 20 minutes for that toast—in carbophobic L.A.!—forming a literal breadline to the tiny storefront.
You could go to Sqirl just to read the blackboard. Jessica Koslow’s language has an irresistible cadence, deploying descriptors that make you really want to eat. That’s “bandage wrapped” cheddar in a sandwich, and what would “open-faced brioche toast” be without kale, an egg, and a shock of “lacto-fermented hot sauce”? Originally conceived as another outlet for Koslow’s superb jams, Sqirl has grown into the neighborhood commissary. Bacon serving but vegan friendly, attuned to the rhythms of an L.A. day (breakfast until 4 p.m.), Sqirl is of the moment yet anchored by something deeper. In the “dry-farmed” Blenheim apricot preserve, it’s the season, not the sugar, that glimmers.
Jonathan Gold moved us to #57 of his Top 101 restaurants in Los Angeles. Here’s to another year of great food!
One of the TOP 10 Restaurants in LA ACCORDING TO LA WEEKLY!
In years to come, when people look back on the transformation of Virgil Avenue and wonder how it all began, the answer will be Sqirl. The spot that opened in 2012 as a coffee, toast and jam café has morphed into one of the most beloved restaurants in town – paving the way for a fantastic wine shop, a florist and an antiques store to open on the same block. More important to food lovers, it has ushered in an era of insanely good breakfast and lunch. Sqirl owner Jessica Koslow trained with one of the best chefs in the Southeast, but she decided to pour that knowledge into this small, funky café rather than a more traditional restaurant. The food here is stunning. Koslow serves rice bowls that will blow your mind, perked up with sorrel pesto, creamy feta and copious amounts of preserved Meyer lemon. Daily specials might range from tuna poke – a bowl of raw tuna spiked with yuzu, shiso from Sqirl’s garden and tuna-skin chicharrón – to handmade pastas, as good as any in town and for a fraction of the price. Koslow’s baking is remarkable, and her malva pudding cake is one of L.A.’s most craveable treats. The restaurant is not for the comfort-obsessed: The line is long, the seating is wobbly and sometimes hard to come by. The place can have the feel of a slightly out-of-control garden party. But for those willing to relax and go with it, there’s hardly a place in town that will reward you more lovingly.
“The East Side of Los Angeles is booming: Almost everything noteworthy—from restaurants to boutiques—is popping up over in Los Feliz, Echo Park, Silver Lake, or Downtown. Here’s where LA’s most pace-setting crowd hangs out.”
Grubstreet’s Sierra Tishgart traveled the United States to find 25 shops that take the quality of milk seriously. It’s a wonderful list – one to follow if you’re looking for fantastic coffee in one of the cities listed.
It also spawned an interview with the Sqirl’s head barista, Colleen King, with DINNER PARTY DOWNLOAD.