Native Angeleno Ray Garcia imbues what could be just another hotel restaurant with a sense of place. It's easy to imagine that a Monterey Park lonchera was the model for his braised tongue with tomatillos and breakfast radishes. Pig is big here—at brunch bacon can even be found in the waffle batter. The light-filled dining room overlooking the Fairmont Miramar's shoreside pool is all the more reason the place is jammed with more locals than tourists.
You could go to Sqirl just to read the blackboard. Jessica Koslow's language has an irresistible cadence, deploying descriptors that make you really want to eat. That's “bandage wrapped” cheddar in a sandwich, and what would “open-faced brioche toast” be without kale, an egg, and a shock of “lacto-fermented hot sauce”? Originally conceived as another outlet for Koslow's superb jams, Sqirl has grown into the neighborhood commissary. Bacon serving but vegan friendly, attuned to the rhythms of an L.A. day (breakfast until 4 p.m.), Sqirl is of the moment yet anchored by something deeper