No question that Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl in Silver Lake is LA’s quintessential neighborhood café, and more. LA Weekly’s Besha Rodell called the food “stunning.” She’s right—Koslow’s refined versions of rice bowls, quiches, pastries, brioche toast, and house-made jam are pristine. Everyone’s been showing up to eat: Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, the LA Times, of course. Jonathan Gold even got a bit philosophical about Koslow’s toast.
A bigger project may be in the works. Eater LA passed along an unconfirmed rumor that Koslow has her eye on a spot in Los Feliz, where she’ll focus on dinner (fingers crossed).
We asked Koslow to share the cheap places she likes to go when she’s not at Sqirl, or (allegedly) planning her next move. She came up with four favorites.
Sapp Coffee Shop
“This is the most no-frills, anti-ambiance place imaginable—it’s about the food. People talk about the boat noodles, but I love the jade noodles: a bowl of cold green noodles, roast duck, slices of sweet Chinese-style roast pork, shredded crab, scallions, cilantro.”
5183 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles; 323-665-1035
“Udon noodles from scratch meet a delicate dashi broth for an incredibly comforting kitsune udon (topped with aburaage, deep-fried tofu) that tastes like nowhere else in Los Angeles. You can watch the udon being made in the glass-enclosed kitchen. Marry those thick, perfect noodles with a fried Jidori egg and you’re all done.”
329 E. First Street, Los Angeles; 213-346-9762
MASALA DOSA & POORI
Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
“Located in a dodgy section of Sunset, the magical world of Paru’s is entered with the push of a buzzer. Behind the white security gate you get a breath of fresh dosas, in a place that feels more like someone’s home than a commercial space. I always get the paper-thin masala dosa (no sharing!), pillowy poori for the table, and halwa with masala chai for dessert.”
5140 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles; 323-661-7600
CHICKEN & GINSENG JUK
“Bonjour? No, Bonjuk! The atmosphere is the opposite of Paru’s (the low, wide chairs make you feel like you’re in an airport lounge). Bonjuk’s specialty is Korean rice porridge (juk) with banchan, a wonderful, everyday cure-all. I get the chicken and ginseng juk, though the description for the tuna and vegetable one—‘good for the women who are interested in their beauty’—always makes me want it.”
3551 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles; 213-380-2248
More low-cost picks from top-shelf chefs: Fifty Seven’s David Nayfeld on LA’s Best Low-Cost Eats
Photo credits: Jessica Koslow photo courtesy of Jessica Koslow; Sapp dipping sauces by Flickr member Ron Dollete; noodle maker from Marugame Monzo / Facebook; Paru’s by Flickr member Jason Lam; juk by Will JetSet for Food / Foodspotting. Flickr photos used under Creative Commons.