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Street eating has moved beyond the food truck craze to the hole-in-the-wall. Specifically, a tiny counter on a gritty Silverlake street where, just up from a lavandería, Sqirl Cafe is drawing crowds with its big flavors. You place your order just inside a humble storefront, then retire to the sidewalk or to a bare-bones patio where seating involves arranging plastic chairs around wooden crate tables.

We know, you’re thinking: I could be at a pretty restaurant, why would I eat on the street? Until your server (likely cheerful owner Jessica Koslow in her trademark scarf-wrapped 'do) brings your food. The rice bowl with pesto, preserved Meyer lemon, hot sauce, watermelon radish and poached egg is a healthful delight, and a vegan sandwich (braised kale on crusty bread) is great, thanks to citrus preserves. Dessert is a delicious thick brioche from Proof Bakery smeared with chocolate and hazelnut butter.

Koslow’s secret is her way with preserves--running the acclaimed Sqirl jam label for the last year has taught her how to use our local harvest as a powerful addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Tastemakers as varied as Vogue writers and the L.A. Times’ food critic are lining up--and puckering up--for Sqirl Cafe, serving breakfast and lunch (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.) every day except Wednesday. 

Sqirl, 720 N. Virgil Ave.; 213-394-6526 or

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