Diner Dash: Omelettes & Waffles at 101 Coffee Shop in L.A.

When it comes to places I’ve never been, I have a hard time distinguishing between my cinematic imagination and reality. For instance, I’d always imagined Hollywood as a place beyond time, caught somewhere between the words of Raymond Chandler and the images David Lynch. When I finally arrived in LA last week, I realized my expectations were slightly out of date, though still reflected in the darkness of the Hollywood hills at night.

But before a day filled with tourist-musts—Grauman’s, Mulholland, Sunset Ranch—I knew I’d need a quality breakfast. Since I’m incapable of making a decision, I turned to fellow Blackbook writer Ned Hepburn for his essential grub advice. Knowing I love a good diner, he suggested 101 Coffee Shop. Designed as a pastiche of ‘60s diner culture, the restaurant is the exact throwback I was looking for. That morning, the place was filled with everyone from wannabe screenwriters desperately banging away at their keyboards, to fabulous old damsels clad in leopard print, to douchebags recovering from too many Red Bull and vodkas. In other words, it was L.A.

What We Ate: Eggwhite Vegetable Omelet: Fluffy and not too greasy, the vegetables were plentiful and the omelet shell was nice and thick. It’s true I never met an omelet I didn’t devour, but this was especially succulent.

Coffee: My breakfast companion tried to order a cappuccino, a big no-no for real diner aficionados. If I’m drinking coffee with my meal, I like it “black as midnight on a moonless night,” but if it’s before my meal, I like it sweet. In the words of Laura’s Waldo Lydecker, “Although I spread butter lavishly on my brioches, I cling religiously to the belief that the substitute of saccharine for sugar in coffee will make me slender and fascinating.”

Buttermilk Waffle with Strawberries: Now this was a waffle Leslie Knope could be proud of. It has a bit of crunch on the outside, but melts the second it falls into your mouth. Mixed with the plump and sugary strawberries, it was the perfect, sweet addition to breakfast.

Poached Eggs: I didn’t try these myself, but I do recall my friend saying, “These are really the best poached eggs I’ve ever had.” So there’s that.

Overall, I’d give it a 9.5 on the Dale Cooper Scale. Cheap. Delicious. Hint of haunted Americana. Couldn’t ask for more.

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