Saturday, February 04, 2006
Too Hip To Be Square: 101 Coffee Shop, Hollywood
As I was growing up, there were certain things that I swore would never come back in style. Tapered jeans was one of them, and now, to my surprise, they're back again, being worn with tunic tops, low slung belts and pumps by tall skinny types to being worn with studded belts, beat up Chucks, and rock and roll tees by today's mall rat teenagers. Nor did I ever think that the whole "my parents' house in the 70's" look would come back. You know the type: cheesy wood paneled walls donning faded photos of your dad with mutton-chop sideburns and your mom wearing coke-bottle glasses. The scratchy orange and brown plaid "tweed" sofa that sat in front of an all-in-one wood TV and stereo console. Things that were hip became square but are now hip again.
I wish I could have brought my parents to the 101 Coffee Shop with me just to get a reaction out of them--"Ai-yaaah! This looks like our first house!"--not to mention all the puzzled looks at the Gen X and Y-ers who suddenly think hanging out a place reminiscent of mom and dad's living room is cool. Hipsters both young and old fill the counter, tables, and booths of Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet's retro-chic diner located below the Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel. The color scheme here is brown with hints of topaz yellow and burnt orange, colors popular on many a refrigerator and formica countertop back in the day. In fact, I wouldn't even call it "brown"; it's more like "faux wood laminate" if you know what I mean. The place has a glittery white cottage cheese acoustic ceiling, vintage ski lodge-esque walls and just like my parents house back in the day, faded photographs of people who today's hipsters strive to look like. You might even remember The 101 Coffee Shop from the 90's cult favorite Swingers, a movie which incidentally, gave some new found hipness to things square.
Do you see your Uncle Ted somewhere up there?
Even the menus have fake wood on them
What would Mom & Dad think?
The menu at the 101 Coffee Shop is classic diner fare but with a few modern twists. Your fries on the side, for example, aren't just any fries on the side as they're a yummy mixture of crispy potato and yam fries. The hash browns that come with your breakfast are grilled patties of potato and green onion and are more like latkes than hash browns...not my favorite, but unique nevertheless. Vegans and vegetarians need not be put off by its diner fare--there are quite a few meatless options as well, their No Huevos Rancheros being one of them. In fact, one of my favorite sandwiches here is a vegetarian one. Their grilled portabello mushroom sandwich is pretty darn good, with meaty and juicy portabellos, melted mozzarella, roma tomatoes, peppery arugula and basil mayo on a crusty French roll.
Trust me, it's tasty
The burger here's pretty substantial, its ground beef patty still tender even though I order it medium-well. (Yes, uncooked ground beef scares me if I don't know where the meat comes from, and you'd be surprised how many places char the fuck out if it when you order it medium-well) With the addition of caramelized onions, crisp lettuce and melted cheddar on a toasted bun plus a pickle on the side, their burgers are just fine. The tuna melt here is pretty standard and is a bit pricey at around 8 dollars, though it does have a good tuna, cheese and bread ratio.
This fashion can repeat itself over and over again
Breakfast is served all day, along with everything else on their menu, so if bacon and eggs strikes your fancy at 2am, you can have it. Or if it's fried chicken you want to cure your hangover on a Sunday morning, well, you can have that too. Some things just never go out of style.
Though I really, really hope that pegged pants (you know, the ones we used to fold over and roll up) and shoulder pads never come back.
101 Coffee Shop
6145 Franklin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028