UPDATED 08.22.08: I need to clarify a few things - The Nickel's pastry chef is Sharlena, and she worked for Thomas Keller at Per Se and Bouchon as a Pastry Chef de Partie, of which there are many. She was not the Pastry Chef, she answered to the Pastry Chef. She also worked at 11 Madison as a Pastry Chef de Partie.
This past Wednesday, Jim and I had the pleasure of a sneak preview of The Nickel and their breakfast offerings during their invitation-only dry run (FULL DISCLOSURE: Jim and I have a financial stake in the success of The Nickel, we're investors. That's my bias, well, that and I'm a lazy foodie who doesn't like to leave downtown unless someone else drives). If you haven't yet, check out Rich's pics/post on Angelenic.
I already have my favorite table picked out, but unfortunately, Julie of Metropolis Books and Stella (my favorite Icelandic witch/designer) were already sitting there enjoying their breakfast. No matter, we were seated in a nearby booth where I could ooh and ahh over all the decorative details. The co-owners - Kristen Trattner, Ricki Kline and Monica May have done a wonderful job. The place looks great - it's warm, inviting, and OMG the food!
Let's start with the beverages. Juices are fresh-squeezed and they had this zippy carrot-ginger-I forgot the third ingredient juice, which I recommend trying. Jim ordered two eggs scrambled with bacon, I ordered the Cameron's Puppy Pile (chicken apple sausages tucked into buttermilk pancakes with a fried egg on top), extra egg and with a side of potatoes. I was hungry.
While waiting for our order, Kristin brought out some fresh mini-donuts for us to try. Nice touch. Did I mention that their pastry chef used to be Thomas Keller's pastry chef? Kristen brought her over to our table and introduced us, but I forget her name, probably because I had eaten two donuts and was already on a sugar high. In any case, she bakes genius. I can already feel my waistline expanding in anticipation of her "Cher Cake" and what I'm told is an amazing Tres Leches Cake. That reminds me, I need to renew my gym membership.
I'm not going to write a blow-by-blow (or a fork-by-fork) account of the meal, but damn those pancakes were beautiful. Big, light, fluffy cakes of tasty goodness. The service was attentive, the music was very good and at a volume conducive to conversation, the booths were comfy, and I love the decor. This is just what the neighborhood needs, but mostly it's what I need. Guess where I'm having lunch next week?
The Nickel Diner
524 S Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Opens Wednesday, August 27, 2008