Los Angeles is a town known for its health-conscious population—after all, it is the land of Big Salads and endless green-juice cleanses. So when chef Jessica Koslow opened SQIRL, her two year-old daytime cafe located in LA’s hip Silverlake neighborhood, the opening menu might have seemed like a bit of a head-scratcher.
Come mid-November, a Barbara Bestor-designed annex space will carry grab-and-go items such as coffee, pastries, salads, natural wines and specialty beers. Koslow says, “It’s like Sqirl to go: You can get your baguette, bottle of wine or beer—everything you’d want on a picnic.” Translation: brioche toast and blondies, minus the weekend lines.
UK’s rising star, Ella Henderson, sits down to chat with Chef Jessica Koslow at the LA studio where she recorded parts of her debut album, Chapter One. Jessica returns the favor at her Echo Park hotspot, Sqirl, where they enjoy a fresh and locally sourced meal.
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.