Breakfast is back in and lunch has never been out. Here are some recently reviewed restaurants that cater mainly to these two meals :
CAFE MAMBO (707 Heliotrope Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 663-5800). You'll find Cafe Mambo exciting if you are into Latin/Caribbean-style California nouvelle . It's a cheerful little place awash with pure bright sunlight. For breakfast there's Mambo Passion, a fruit bowl-soup with beautiful fresh, expensive fruit and berries swimming in a passion fruit base. Elegant gourmet sandwiches include turkey pesto, a huge crisp toasted sandwich filled with sliced turkey, roasted sweet peppers and pesto sauce; and a beautiful lobster sandwich containing homemade garlicky mayonnaise. You might try the honey-and-mustard chicken sauteed with mustard seeds and cumin, or pork chops marinated in oregano, basil and cilantro. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Mon. All major credit cards. Parking in back or street. Lunch for two, food only, $10-$20.
LA MESA DE ROBLE (8687 Melrose Ave., Suite 400, West Hollywood, (213) 659-8433). This Southwestern restaurant, with its peaceable gray-and-grape decor, is on the fourth floor of the Pacific Design Center. The lobster tamales are exquisite and the Arizona roll, filled with scallops and black beans, spinach and red peppers hits the meter between delicate and bland. Half a grilled chicken, marinated in lime juice and chiles, is juicy and fragrant and someone knows how to cook those black beans. From host to waiters, the service is nice and professional. Skip dessert--the only sweets are fresh berries and a commercial cheesecake. Lunch Mon.-Fri. All major credit cards. Full bar. Parking structure and street parking. Lunch for two, food only, $24-$40.
PALM COURT (11111 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles, (213) 479-1400). A nice place with a tranquil view out tall windows onto a beige marble courtyard graced with a water wall and reflecting pool. There are decorative touches to the service too--among them fresh chunks of grana grated over pasta dishes to the customer's specification. The herb-and-ricotta-stuffed ravioli in a pesto sauce is a perfect appetizer. Entrees include a decent hamburger with very good coleslaw; and a tasty, elegant Chinese chicken salad. Desserts are mostly homemade and mostly superb--especially a hot sticky brownie, a tart lemon tart and a warm apple crisp. The small all-California wine list is fairly priced. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. All major credit cards. Full bar. Reservations recommended. Validated parking. Lunch for two, food only, $25-$40.
LE PEEP (2139 Tustin Ave., No. 2, Orange, (714) 637-1342). Breakfast is special. Breakfast is America. Le Peep serves nothing but breakfast (well, maybe half a dozen sandwiches as well). This ia a cute, button-bright place with balloons for the kiddies and heavy evidence of franchising. Some of the trademarked dish titles include Pa-ta-ta Frittata, Hawg-Wild Sausage Links and, no kidding, Chicken Ship. What really saves it is that the food is basically very good. The eggs are fresh, the ham good, the pancakes light and fresh orange juice is brought in a pitcher like the coffee. The small list of lunch-like items includes one remarkably good sandwich, the Crazy House: sliced beef with a mass of horseradish sauce and bacon on an onion roll. And in the best breakfast tradition, the portions are huge. Open for breakfast and lunch daily. Visa, MasterCard, American Express. Shopping center parking. Breakfast for two, food only, $6-$15.