If you don’t mind the cramped café tables and the serve-yourself water jugs, a morning meal at Triniti can feel like you’re getting away with something. Tangy sourdough bread is slicked with house-cultured butter and fresh blackberry jam, and a dense porridge made from farro and mustard seeds comes tricked out with charred broccoli and mushrooms roasted in brown butter. You may have stopped in for coffee, but that was before you realized the place was kitted as if it were a chef’s test kitchen.
At their stripped-down daytime café (a former used-clothing shop), co-owners Joseph Geiskopf and David Wynn blur the line between coffeehouse and restaurant to tantalizing effect. Buttered yam lattes—less cloying than the name suggests—are made with dairy-free oat milk, while a futuristic Mavam espresso machine dispenses shots from Coffee Manufactory beans. Behind the counter, a frozen-drink machine filled with carrot-ginger slushie spins silently.
But what sets Triniti apart from the rash of high-minded cafés lining Sunset Boulevard as it cuts through Echo Park is Geiskopf’s food menu, a rotating handful of mostly vegetarian dishes cobbled together from whatever arrives from the market, all cooked in a comically small kitchen. Marble-size potatoes are boiled and fried into submission, intensified with shallot jam and an airy Greek garlic sauce called skordalia, then buried with a tangle of farm greens (Geiskopf likes to throw in stems of ice plant, a waxy succulent that pops with saltiness, when he can get them from a farmer in San Diego). Even before the coup de grâce—an oozy soft-poached egg—is nestled on top, it’s a magnificent construction.
Geiskopf spent a year or so as a line cook at Scandinavian juggernaut Noma and later was chef de cuisine at Jordan Kahn’s Destroyer, the neo-modernist café in Culver City with which Triniti shares much stylistic DNA. Both aspire to make so-called tweezer food more accessible, but only Triniti exudes the jittery energy of a weird local spot finding its voice.
Come for caffeine, stay for a Little Gem salad tossed with pecorino, toasted quinoa, and smoked bonito dressing—that’s L.A. for you.
Triniti, 1814 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
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