This past Sunday would be different. I was meeting my three snarky gal pals for a celebratory brunch at BLD, Neal Fraser’s contemporary American restaurant that, as the name suggests, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I knew there would be alcohol – a Bloody Mary or two, mimosas and prosecco. And I knew that we would most likely stay far beyond the appropriate amount of time it takes to consume pancakes and eggs. I didn’t know, however, that the food would hold its own against the superior company. And I didn’t know that I would fall so desperately in love with the brunch at the popular Beverly Blvd. eatery.
I’d been to the restaurant before. Twice to be exact. Both occasions were “fine.” The hemp-encrusted tofu salad with shisito peppers was nice for a weekday lunch – as was the vegetable chopped salad for a Saturday brunch – but neither dish stood out to me. Neither made me slap my knee on a weekend morning and say, “By golly, I’ve got to go to BLD today!”
So, as I sat in church Sunday morning, trying (unsuccessfully) to pay attention to the sermon about Saul’s transformation from Christian persecutor to the apostle Paul, I was slapping my knee about getting to see my friends – not about getting to fill my stomach.
Aside, of course, from the act of consuming the aforementioned mimosa. (I’ve become quite partial to the beverage as of late.)
Soon after receiving our lofty spread of eats, however, my low expectations for BLD’s brunch were promptly dismissed. Gone were the “nice” and “fine” adjectives that I’d used to describe my previous meals at the restaurant. And gone was my ability to fully focus all my attention on my charming dining companions. Because, as I sat there, punching my fork through the half-inch blueberry ricotta pancake we’d ordered to share, and needling my knife through the crest of the golden egg yolk on my warm lentil salad ($14), I couldn’t contain my delight.
The much-praised blueberry ricotta pancake that seems to make its way to almost every tabletop in the restaurant was revelatory – the best pancake I’ve eaten in recent memory. My warm lentil salad with crispy pancetta, cherry tomatoes, red onion, arugula, fried eggs, pecorino romano, and sherry vinaigrette floored me with its well-balanced flavors. While I am not one who eagerly pushes my food on other people (see: LudoBites 4.0: Learning to share – the entire menu), I insisted that my companions try my dish – even thrusting the precious bits of caramelized pancetta onto their forks so they could get the full effect of all the components together.
The superior brunch, the divine company and, of course, the alcohol, were exactly what I needed to get my lazy Sunday mojo back. Flushed from the success of our meal, we spent the rest of the afternoon pining over shoes at Nordstrom at the Grove, sifting through the racks at Forever 21 and then retiring for another hour of unfiltered conversation and prosecco at Monsieur Marcel.
It wasn’t sweatpants and "Millionaire Matchmaker," but it was the perfect way to waste a day. Especially since, in my mind, it wasn’t a waste at all.
7450 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036