Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunny Sunday Brunch: Campanile

Sunlight is an essential ingredient for a splendid Sunday brunch. Whether you're nursing a hangover or have already been up for hours, streaming sunlight makes you feel so healthy and lovely that you can ignore the fact that you're lazily wasting the late morning/early afternoon away drinking coffee and eating fancified (aka more expensive) breakfast items.

Campanile has sunshine in spades, shining through skylights in its front atrium--the perfect place to while away our mid-day, waiting for our friends trying to battle the LA Marathon traffic. We started with coffee of course, followed by a peach bellini for J and a Lillet-spiked OJ for me. Lillet, a citrusy French apertif, signals summer weather to me, which we could really use around here. A basket of baked goods began our meal--you can order pastries individually from an ever-changing selection, but a basket saves you a buck or two. We munched a warm apple turnover and huckleberry frangiapane tart--both more dessert-like than breakfast-like, but the best pastries usually are.

After realizing we had picked the worst possible place to meet up on marathon day (our poor friends were stuck outside a circle of blocked off streets), and a friendly warning from the waitress that the kitchen would soon stop taking orders, J and I ordered sans companions. Knowing Campanile's sister spot La Brea Bakery was the bread source, J went for the french toast with lingonberry jam and a side order of sausage. Since the pastries had already filled my sweet urge, I headed towards the spring quiche, with pea tendrils, asparagus and goat cheese. Both were delicious--the french toast a delicate balance of crispy outside and just-a-tad squishy inside, richly vanilla and eggy. The spring flavors of the quiche popped and kept it from unbearable richness.

Overall, a place I would visit again, particularly when I'd like to linger, or show out-of-town guests the glory of a sunny California weekend. I will note that the prices of some items are on the expensive side, even, in my opinion, for a high-end restaurant. The pastries are $5 a pop--they are fantastic and freshly made, but perhaps the $3-4/range would suffice? Also, drinks--$10 for my Lillet concoction and $12 for a Bellini. However, other items are extremely reasonable for the quality -- french toast was only $10 -- about the same as many a trendy yet flavorless spot in our hipster neighborhood.

I must also give big kudos to our waitress who graciously served our friends when they arrived well after the kitchen closed--she brought bread and pastries, and kept offering to refill our coffee cups long after every other table emptied. The epitome of excellent service.

Campanile
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036-3568
(323) 938-1447

Erin's Kitchen Restaurant Index: West-ish

9 comments:

Jill said...

We had fun, too! :) The pastries and drinks were great, and I agree, the service was super. What a great server!

Jessica said...

Funny we both posted yesterday about fancy restaurant brunches! Alas, my husband went to Campanile Sat. sans moi. :( My Camp. morning faves are the poached eggs with chive compote and prosciutto, and eggs in a hole in olive toast. Butter galore. Always with an extra side of fried potatoes for the table. Annoying they charge for bread, pastries, etc. I find not getting drinks or coffee (we always have at home before heading out anyway) helps keep the cost down.

Rorie said...

Oh, I love Campanile. And I know I'd love the Lillet spiked OJ - yum.

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