“Brunch, Blessings and Beyond” for LA Downtown News

Downtown Gets Some Eggscellent Adventures on Easter

March 2010

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Whether or not Easter holds religious significance for you, it seems to be a refreshing time for all. Children search for vibrantly hued eggs hidden by a whimsical bunny, and family and friends gather for a day of eating, relaxing and socializing.

As Downtown Los Angeles grows, there are more and more ways to celebrate the holiday. Here are a few. And remember, if you plan on going out for brunch on Sunday, April 4, many others have the same thought, so it’s a good idea to make Easter brunch reservations ahead of time.

Beastly Blessing: Saturday, April 3 (the day before Easter), will mark the 80th annual Blessing of the Animals on Olvera Street. From noon-5 p.m., El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument will play host to the ceremony that dates back to the fourth century. Most people bring dogs or cats to be blessed and sprinkled with Holy Water by Cardinal Roger Mahony, but that’s only the beginning: A cow covered with flowers will lead the procession that begins at 2 p.m., and you’re sure to see birds, fish, ferrets and iguanas. Keep an eye open for the huge albino python. The family friendly event also includes musical acts, pony rides, dancers and a petting zoo. It’s unknown whether those animals also get blessed.

At 125 Paseo de la Plaza, (213) 625-7074, (213) 485-8372 orelpueblo.lacity.org.

Steak Your Claim: From its name, Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar may not be an obvious Easter brunch choice, but from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 4, the L.A. Live establishment will be serving a three-course brunch for $29.95 a person. Pay tribute to the Easter Bunny with a choice of wedge lettuce or fresh fruit salad to start, and then channel something with a heartier appetite from the six entree choices such as filet Benedict on buttermilk biscuits with hash browns and green beans, berry stuffed French toast with turkey sage sausage, and a lump crab, asparagus and Swiss cheese frittata with hash browns and green beans. Crème brûlée, cheesecake and walnut turtle pie (important note: the pie does not actually contain turtles) vie for your dessert choice. Fleming’s regular menu will also be available throughout the day and evening. And don’t forget the impressive menu of 100 wines by the glass.

At L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 745-9911 or flemingssteakhouse.com.

J Okay: Take care of two Easter traditions in one place: South Park’s J Restaurant and Lounge will hold brunch on an outdoor patio, as well as an Easter egg hunt for children. From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 4, the regular brunch menu will be offered, as will specials like petit Maine lobster gratin served with micro greens and sweet potato fries (the meal is by reservation only, so call ahead — seriously) and a grilled German wurst plate with rosemary mustard sauce, mashed potatoes and house made sauerkraut. Children’s selections include Niman ranch beef sliders with Kennebec fries and an aioli trio, or mini chocolate chip pancakes with hot cocoa or dark chocolate milk. Regular brunch masterpieces include sweet and savory crepes, a Monte Cristo sandwich, quiche Lorraine and other egg and pancake dishes. Prices range from $9-$26, so there’s a wide assortment for your palate and wallet.

At 1119 S. Olive St., (213) 746-7746 or jloungela.com.

Garden State: Let the garden patio at Café Pinot transport you and highlight the blossoming spring season. A three-course, $35.50 brunch offers starters such as cold potato leek soup with crunchy potato, yellowfin tuna sashimi, mushroom risotto or French onion soup. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy ricotta pancakes or brioche French toast; there is also a pan-seared hanger steak or the restaurant’s signature mustard-glazed rotisserie chicken. Three distinctly different desserts beckon in the form of warm chocolate lava cake, Fuji apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream, and vanilla panna cotta with blueberry sorbet. You may never go indoors again.

At 700 W. Fifth St., (213) 239-6500 or patinagroup.com.

Sweets and a Suite: An old Easter stalwart is at it again, as the Millennium Biltmore Hotel offers a big ol’ brunch. Chef-attended stations and tables include homemade waffles, eggs Benedict, fresh fruit, carved meats, seafood, organic salads and veggies and decadent desserts (there’s even a chocolate fountain). Champagne, coffee and fresh fruit juices are offered too — pretend you’re drinking them from a chalice. Younger patrons can partake of a children’s buffet that offers favorites like macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, pizza and spaghetti. Dine in the elegant Rendezvous Court or cozy Smeraldi’s Restaurant on Sunday, April 4, from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Adult are $55 and children are $25.

If you want to get a head start on Easter, the Biltmore has an overnight package. It includes a room, champagne brunch for two in the Rendezvous Court, valet parking and a Biltmore coffee table book so you can bring some of the hotel’s upscale charm home with you. It starts at $259 and is valid for the night of April 3 only.

At 506 S. Grand Ave., (213) 612-1562 or thebiltmore.com.

Taix One for the Team: Add some French flair to your Easter at Taix French Restaurant, just outside of Downtown in Echo Park. From noon-8 p.m. on April 4, the historic restaurant will serve an Easter meal that includes $12.95 appetizer choices such as escargot, an assortment of farmhouse cheeses, Parisian style jumbo shrimp cocktail, mussels, or a “butcher’s block” of charcuterie. Entrees, which are $19.95-$26.95, include filet of sole with champagne and lobster cream sauce, baked ham with brandy and raisins, linguini with three varieties of mushroom, spinach, cream and parmesan cheese, vol au vent (hollow puff pastry) of veal sweetbreads with Chablis wine, truffle and cream, and rack of lamb with a mustard and parsley crust.

At 1911 Sunset Blvd., (213) 484-1265 or taixfrench.com.

A Solemn Ceremony: All the festivities and all the food make it easy to forget that Easter is, first and foremost, a religious holiday. Perhaps the most appropriate place to worship is at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Services will be offered on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and an Easter vigil will take place at 8 p.m. on April 3. Easter Mass is on April 4 at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon. A bilingual mass is at 2:30 p.m.

At 555 W. Temple St., (213) 680-5200 or olacathedral.org.

After the Service and on the Plaza: If you’re attending mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, make your brunch commute easier by partaking of the Center at Cathedral Plaza meal. At $30 for adults and $20 for children (12 and under), the hardest part will be making room to try each selection. On the menu are honey baked ham, made-to-order omelets, waffles, lemon chicken, orange cheese blintzes with berry sauce and salads. Mini Easter pastries and fresh baked cookies will also be served. Wash it down with free flowing sparkling wine, paradise ice tea and gourmet coffee.

At 555 W. Temple St., (213) 680-5271 or levyrestaurants.com.

Bringing Back BrunchChaya Downtown rarely offers brunch, but it more than makes up for it with a $35, three-course meal for adults that includes bottomless mimosas. Start with refreshing organic beets, creamy goat cheese and blood oranges. There are also other salad selections, crunchy Monterey calamari and corn puree soup. Main courses include huevos rancheros, paparadelle with Kobe beef porcini Bolognese, cinnamon roll French toast and a grilled provencale vegetable and polenta napoleon. End the meal with classics like a flourless chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream or panna cotta with farmer’s market berries compote and Greek yogurt gelato. For $15, little ones get muffins, an entree choice of mini cheeseburger and fries or a pancake with chocolate sauce, and dessert. Sounds like Chaya needs to have brunch more often.

At 525 S. Flower St., (213) 236-9577 or thechaya.com.

Hats On, Hats Off: Easter is a perfect excuse to don a hat, and in case you need any encouragement, the California African American Museum will hold its annual “Hatitude” competition for men, women and children, as part of its Brims, Bonnets and Chapeaux event. The museum opens at 11 a.m., and from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. the free event will feature singers, dancers, spoken word and some lavish sweets and teas. The Cat in the Hat never got this much love. Admission is free but parking is $8 a vehicle at 39th and Figueroa streets, so carpool with some of your fellow mad hatters.

At 600 State Dr., (213) 744-7432 or caamuseum.org.

Link to article on Los Angeles Downtown News site.

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