BLTA at Nickel Diner ($8.75)
Clearly, most things are made better with the addition of a fried egg. And while the classic BLT has little need for improvement, there's no shame in throwing a a perfectly cooked fried egg on top and calling it breakfast. The Nickel Diner BLTA does just that. The B is crisp bacon, cooked to your liking (I like mine not too well-done, with some still moist, fatty bits.) The L is earthy, crunchy green arugula. The T a ripe, ruby red tomato. And because this is Southern California, the A is half an avocado. While the fried egg doesn't get its own letter, it is just as essential to this sandwich as the crunchy sourdough toast on which it is served. Acting as the condiment here, the yolk adds a creamy, velvety richness, bringing the whole thing together into one perfect summer breakfast.
Clementine Breakfast Sandwich at Clementine, Los Angeles
Clementine's good old-fashioned buttermilk biscuit would be a pretty swell breakfast on its own, hitting that perfect balance of a flaky, buttery interior and crisp, savory top. But when stuffed with a masterfully poached egg (runny, gooey, light), melty cheddar cheese, and creamy, proscuitto-like Tennessee country ham, the already sublime biscuit achieves pure AM heaven.
Cecina and Egg Cemita at Don Adrian ($5.50)
Just as soon as you get over the sheer girth of this hulking colossus (and figure out how to get your mouth around it), you'll experience a second wave of astonishment, brought on by the wild assortment of flavors barely contained by the crunchy sesame cemita bun. This sucker's got it all-- toothsome smoky cured beef, fresh avocado, wedges of queso fresco; a garden of cilantro; your choice of salsa (go for the spicy chipotle); and a fried egg for good measure. A breakfast sandwich substantial and complex enough for lunch or dinner too, and one big enough that it might easily serve as all three.
14902 Victory Boulevard, Van Nuys, CA 91411 (map) ; 818-788-2832
Breakfast Panini at Cafe Surfas ($8.95)
It's amazing how a few small touches can take the already satisfying egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich to a whole other level. At Cafe Surfas the classic starts simple with a perfectly cooked, slightly runny fried egg and a nicely chewy panini roll. But from there it elevates the basic, by adding a slightly charred roasted tomato, garlicky aioli, and gooey, melted sharp white cheddar. The final touch that makes this sandwich transcendent is the simple, but brilliant innovation of chopping the Nueske bacon into bits, ensuring that sweet, smoky morsels make a star appearance in each bite. It's a move that I'll most definitely be incorporating into my own future breakfast sandwich playbook.
Alice's Egg Sandwich at Fred62 ($8.41)
Sometimes the vegetarian version of a meaty sandwich can feel like a tepid, half-hearted attempt. But Alice's Egg Sandwich, the meat-free version of Fred62's bacon, hash browns, and scrambled egg sandwich, nearly surpasses the original. Keeping the base of a huge buttery bun and the folds of well-done scrambled eggs and crisp hash browns, this breakfast behemoth subs in tangy, velvety goat cheese for the meat, adding mounds of avocado and a few cool tomato slices to cut the richness. All of the hearty oomph of the original, but with none of the meat.
Eggs and White Beans at Sweet Butter Kitchen ($9.95)
It arrives open-face for the knife and fork set, but we feel no compunction in folding the slice of crunchy, toasted millstone bread in half, and turning this into the breakfast sandwich it was meant to be. It's messy to be sure, as the two sunny side up eggs burst, seeping into the porous bread and penetrating the the earthy Rancho Gordo white bean spread and well charred oven roasted tomatoes. So as you eat, hold the dripping sandwich over the side of dressed arugula that comes as a side, and you'll be rewarded with an delicious, eggy salad as a second course.
Breakfast Torta at Auntie Em's ($9.25)
One of the better hangover busters out there. The telera roll is pillowy soft (sort of like the cozy bed you're contemplating crawling back into.) The refried black beans and mole sauce are hearty, savory, carby. The scrambled eggs are loose enough to be rich and buttery, but not overly so for the slightly sensitive stomach. And the avocado and tomato add a burst of needed brightness to knock you back on track. For an extra buck and a half you can add a slice of nutty Gruyere (yes) and if you ask nicely, they'll bring you side after side of thick, pungent housemade salsa. By the time you leave, you might even feel halfway human.
Fried Egg Sandwich at Huckleberry ($9.75)
The fried egg is still a little runny so be ready for a delicious mess upon first bite. It's layered with Niman Ranch bacon, Gruyere, a ton of arugula (nearly a salad's worth) and aioli on country bread. While you're there, pick up a maple bacon biscuit, also made with that same sweet, salty, meaty Niman Ranch bacon on the sandwich.