Hello, I Must Be Brunching

SmokehouseOne weekend a year, Los Angeles loses a big piece one of its most valuable resources: our precious indie kids. For the past nine years, Los Angeles’ thriving belt buckle and brunch economy is abandoned for a few days while everyone heads out to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

It’s up to those left behind to keep the city from collapsing.

I am one of those who stayed behind to keep the city running because the idea of a three-day outdoor music fest long ago changed from an awesome idea to proof that Sartre was right when he said hell is other people. This is not a knock on anyone who does attend the festival, I envy your fortitude and willingness to brave the heat and crowds in order to see live music. I am just old, bitter, and my feet hurt.

Today, in order to keep the local economy from collapsing, my wife and I decided to do something we rarely do. We had brunch. Wait, let me rephrase that, we went OUT for brunch; we actually have brunch at home all of the time because we know how to sleep late, how to cook and how to keep a plenty of champagne on hand. What you call brunch, we call Saturday and Sunday morning. The difference is we don’t have to wear pants.

More on brunch after the jump….

So today we decided to take one for Team Los Angeles, get dressed and go out to brunch. But where to go? Since many of the “hip brunch spots” in town were likely already filled by the other residents who stayed behind to save the city, I decided to use this as a chance to fill in one of the blank spots in my Los Angeles experience by going somewhere I’d never been before. And so we headed to the Smokehouse in Burbank.

The fact that I’ve never been to the Smokehouse shocked my wife because I love old bars and old Hollywood and not in a ha-ha ironic way. I have a deep appreciation of LA history and I believe in the magic of dark paneling, upholstered booths and the classic cocktail (which is loosely defined as any drink with three or fewer ingredients, including ice.) The Smokehouse, which opened in 1946 is one of a dwindling number of Old Hollywood joints and it practically screams my name, but I had never been there until today.*

Now here’s something you should know about me, when it comes to food I’ll usually take quantity over quality. While my wife is a big fan of small delicious portions, I’ll take a large quantity of mediocre food any day. An all you can eat buffet is a challenge I will not back down from. Anyone who’s ever been to Vegas with me knows I might lose all the cash I have to my name the night before I get married** but I’ll earn that back in prime rib, champagne and cookies when the all-you-can-eat gauntlet is thrown.

By the time we got to the Smokehouse I was very excited and I gotta tell you, it did not let me down. The inside is pure old Hollywood beautiful, spacious and dark and comfortably out of this time. It was only 11am and there were old men in sport coats sipping cocktails. We took our seats in the big upholstered booth and prepared to get our eat on; it felt good and it was. The food, while not amazing, was decent and plentiful, my dining companion was, as usual, spectacular. My yearly brunch trip was outstanding, so good that I might not wait for next year’s Coachella to go back again. Maybe next year I’ll buy a belt buckle instead.

*To be fair I have a good excuse, I spent ten years as a vegetarian. I didn’t eat meat for ten years and then one day I started again. It’s not like I gave up on my principles though; I never had many to begin with. I became a vegetarian when I was 21 mostly out of spite. It’s a long story but basically it was just a joke that got out of hand and went on way too long.

**I’m not saying if I did or didn’t do this, but I did.

7 thoughts on “Hello, I Must Be Brunching”

  1. Their cheese bread is amazing. If you didn’t have any, just grab some to go one night to go with a pasta dish. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. “basically it was just a joke that got out of hand and went on way too long.”

    Finally, a former vegetarian comes clean. I’ll bet this happens more often than one might expect.

    I’ve wanted to go to the Smokehouse for years, and have no excuse for why I just haven’t gotten around to it. It sounds like my kind of place, too. After this review, you can bet I’ll be there this week. Thanks!

  3. @Burns! I know I’m not the only one.

    After 10 years I was served a salad that secretly had bacon in it. While I was first shocked by it I soon realized that it tasted really good. I finished the salad and though it over some; then I ordered the chicken.

  4. this certainly sounds like my kind of eatery. as well, it sounds like the bar my parents got married in that weekend they snuck away to get married, when i already thought they were married but they weren’t.

  5. Oh man, I am so jealous…we live within walking distance from the Smokehouse and for some reason have never even stepped inside the building. After reading your review though, and coming down firmly on your side of the quantity vs. quality debate…I am so there!

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