Brunch is an exciting prospect. There is something amazing about waking up late after a night of debauchery, kicking out whomever is passed out next to you and finding a place to have breakfast food in the afternoon.
And one balmy summer afternoon, only slightly hung over, I was beckoned to the one of the newer places in Downtown Los Angeles to partake in the prospect of a breakfast so late in the morning, it morphs into lunch – Pattern Bar.
Located on the corner of 9th and Main - which is practically a ghost town on the weekend mornings - a brightly lit, open aired, oasis of Cuban cuisine convinced me that, this time, waking up a tad bit earlier was well worth it.
After being seated in the very comfortable and group friendly booth, I looked around and truly marveled at the space. The clean lines and open floor plan referenced a New York bistro, while the decor, music and open windows made me think Cuba – or at least, what I imagine Cuba to be. With the breeze blowing in my hair, I ordered from the menu which boasted one drink and one plate for $20.
I opted for El Vegetariano, which was an odd choice for me as I love the carne, but I wanted to try something light (maybe I was a little more hung over than I’d like to admit) and picked the Watermelon Mojito.
The mojito was perfect for a warm noon-time treat. Just slightly sweet, the slightest hint of alcohol, it was refreshing and relaxing.
When my sandwich arrived, I was in awe. It. Was. Huge. However, the look of shock on my face was quickly replaced by a look of delight after my first bite. The banana peppers gave it just the right amount of kick to balance the fresh assortment of veggies packed between the firm bread. A wonderful balance of flavor had me gobbling up the first half of the sandwich in no time. I was happy in what I felt was the perfect order, and then I looked to my left and saw another beautiful prospect.
My friend had ordered the Varadero sandwich, which boasted pork. So when he offered to give me a half of his to finish the remaining half of mine, how could I say no? The Varadero was also amazing and rich in flavor, though less refreshing and light, the flavors were on point. I was full, I was happy, and I wasn’t done yet.
As we all sat around, discussing politics, world views and the latest episode of Family Guy, my friend said he had to try one more thing – The Cachapa. We all groaned in dissent, secretly knowing we were relieved that someone else had suggested the thing we all truly wanted. And like the ending to any encounter of the senses, the Cachapa was sinfully over the top. Cheese, a corn based pancake, drizzled in agave. I said I was only going to try two bites…which turned into four, and though I was delighted to have tasted something so decadent, I was relieved that I was not the only one responsible for taking that bad boy down.
On the walk back home, the sun shone a little brighter, the wind blew a little cooler, and I swear, I could hear the faintest sounds of Mambo wafting in the air.