Good Girl Dinette opened in the spring of 2009 in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The shop’s press resume is impressive, including multiple mentions by the L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, New York Times, and Saveur, and I know many an Angeleno who seeks out Good Girl for their fix of pho, porridge, imperial rolls, banh mi, and rice noodle salads. Chef Diep Tran has perfected the art of featuring the flavors of Vietnam in a menu of comforting American diner favorites, a cooking style perfectly summed up in Tran’s legendary chicken and vegetable pot-pies, filled with savory curry and topped with a buttermilk biscuit.
On March 1st of this year, Chef Tran launched a new brunch menu at Good Girl, featuring menu items like maggi steak and eggs, Red Boat bacon and eggs, and spring vegetables in cream with coddled egg, as well as turmeric dill or roasted pork hash. In order to raise the brunch stakes even higher, Good Girl has teamed up with Cognoscenti Coffee for a unique take on restaurant coffee service: a Modbar coffee cart set up inside Good Girl Dinette to offer coffees during brunch, and eventually, during weekday breakfasts as well.
The cart was designed by Cognoscenti owner Yeekai Lim, then built and fabricated by Ryan Horton. Lim’s partner in their new Highland Park location is Jack Benchakul. “I have been thinking about something like this for a while,” said Benchakul. “About six months ago Yeekai asked me if I wanted to partner up for the next location of Cognoscenti. We had no idea that it was going to be a pop-up, but then Good Girl came along.”
Mr Benchakul says about Good Girl, “I went there tried some of the food, and I really like the space. I love the brick in here. It’s so approachable. I purchased the Modbar a while ago, and it had been sitting around waiting for me to get hold of a space. When this opportunity to set up at Good Girl came along I thought this would make a really cool coffee cart.”
According to Benchakul, this is the first Modbar coffee cart he knows of. “It’s about as simple as putting an espresso machine on the counter,” says Benchakul. “The only issue is having enough power. We over-engineered the entire cart so I have a few extra outlets and there is more power than I actually need.” The cart features all three Modbar implements: espresso tap, steam wand for milk drinks, and a pour-over nozzle, paired with Mazzer Robur-E and Mahlkonig EK43 grinders.
Currently the Cognoscenti Coffee cart at Good Girl features coffees from noted Calgary roaster Phil & Sebastian, as well as a Colombia Desarrollo coffee from Portland, Oregon’s Heart Roasters. “It’s so good as a filtered brew or as an espresso,” Benchakul tells me of the Desarollo. “Super versatile.”
An Everpure water filtration system coupled with a Forzano Italian Imports rechargeable water softener helps the Modbar run at optimal output. Customers can order coffee with brunch, just coffee, and ‘to go’ service as well. Paired with a cortado and latte, Tran’s pho, porridge, and cream eggs make for a pretty outstanding breakfast. I finished up the meal with a coconut maple bread pudding and Vietnamese iced coffee. The only logical next step is to plan a return trip for more.
GoodGirlDinette.com — (323) 257 8980
Photos by Amparo Rios for R.E. Photography, used with permission.