Amidst the historic buildings and inebriated transients of downtown L.A., you’ll find a smattering of world-famous eateries that have been around since The Great Depression. I’m not sure about the history of Nickel Diner, but its retro look makes it at least seem like it’s been there forever. A good chunk of downtown has undergone a successful gentrification, but the block that Nickel Diner calls home is definitely not part of that process. But you would be truly missing out on a gem if you let the surroundings intimidate you. It’s not as bad as it might look to those unaccustomed to big city woes. Rarely does anything worse happen than someone asking you for some spare change. If that’s not encouragement enough to give Nickel Diner a try, take a look at this:
You read that right, Maple Bacon Donut! Weird, I know, but think of the salty-sweet goodness of a HoneyBaked Ham, plus the pillow-plush luxury of yeast-risen dough. Much more substantial and a bit more dense than a Krispy Kreme donut, Nickel’s creative pairing is magic! The contrast in textures and tastes just works. Please, trust me. You must try one before you die. The Nutella Donut is quite awesome, too. The added crunch of the crushed hazelnuts is yet another testament to the fearless innovation of the folks at Nickel Diner. I must return to try the Strawberry Crumble and Red Velvet donuts. I would go tomorrow if it weren’t for that pesky obligation called a job.
And The Fun Couple makes yet another great French Toast find! Brioche is a flaky and rich french bread that is a cross between a pastry and a yeast bread. Nickel takes cinnamon brioche, lightly batters it, griddles to a perfect golden crispiness and serves with butter and house-made jam. The strawberry-pear-rhubarb jam (I had to ask) was absolutely the best preserved fruit spread I’ve ever had! I think they fill their homemade pop tarts with it. Yeah, they make those, too. Wanna go, dontcha?
We also shared the “Fifth and Main”, spicy BBQ pork hash with two poached eggs. The shredded pork was tender, but the BBQ sauce was a bit on the sweet side for our tastes (not bad, though). It did have a nice kick and was paired nicely with the fried potatoes. The eggs helped tone down everything. Nice meal, but probably not one we’d order again. The coffee was good. So was the service.
Our breakfast came out to be just over twenty bucks with the tax and tip. My wallet thanked me. My circulatory system, not so much. With an ungodly rush of sugar and pork coursing through my system, I could hear my heart whisper:
“I know you hurt me because you love me.”