It’s a Sunday morning and I’m sitting across from my husband, staring at a piece of crispy golden fried chicken sandwiched between two waffles on his plate.
We’re at the new in Valley Village, and there’s something about his heart-clogging breakfast served with a healthy side of kale that just seems right for brunch. Bands like Green Day and Flogging Molly are playing overhead - the music isn't blaring, but it's loud enough for a little morning kick.
Moments before, ordering breakfast or lunch on an empty stomach was proving to be a challenge (clearly a first-world problem), especially after eyeing the hot plates being carried fresh out of the kitchen. French toast with apricot preserves, or Belgian waffles with a cider-braised pears? A salad with spinach and kale, or the more filling buffalo chicken cobb?
I decide on their garden scramble (kale, mushrooms, onions, red peppers, avocado and goat cheese) and a mocha, and my husband supplements his soul food breakfast with an espresso. Except for an occasional “mmm” of approval, we both eat in silence as our utensils clank against our plates – a sign that our food is too delicious to take a breather (kudos to head chef Guy Weiner).
And SteamPunk is no Folgers-serving establishment – their coffee from Seattle roasters Caffe Vita is among some of the best beans we’ve had, both domestic and international. Having recently visited the highly-caffeinated rainy city, our morning drinks are a welcome reminder of the Pacific Northwest. Coffee lovers must try the Cubano, a sugar-infused espresso guaranteed to shock its drinker into a sweet awakening.
The breakfast-and-coffee spot at the corner of Burbank Boulevard and Whitsett Avenue is courtesy of Sean and Arelene Heitkemper, who also own a few doors down. Still in its soft opening, the restaurant has yet to complete its interior décor – on the day of our visit, the only sign of the place’s namesake is a rusted propeller hanging on a wall by the register. But judging by the amount of diners walking through the door at a steady pace, you’d think this place has been a long-time neighborhood favorite.
In reality, SteamPunk has only been open since early August, but Sean tells me they plan on holding their grand opening by the second week of September if they feel training and operations are good to go. Eventually, they plan on serving dinner; for now, they're open Wednesdays through Sundays for brunch.
SteamPunk Coffee Bar and Kitchen is located at 12526 Burbank Boulevard in Valley Village. Soft opening business hours are Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
I'll be your adventure guide through the bustling arts district, Toluca Lake and the rest of North Hollywood, surveying theater, film, books, music, politics, places and people for your daily culture intake.