Monday, December 30, 2013

HomeState: Texas in Los Feliz

Texas.  Lone Star State.  Home of cowboy hats, Tim Riggins, and people who say y'all.  I've had the good fortune to work with quite a few Texans, and what I've learned is that when you talk to Texans about their home cuisine, tears might well up in their eyes.  There's some serious passion behind delicacies like queso, breakfast tacos, Texas barbecue (why, oh why have we not talked about Bludso's here?), and -- unknown here, but ubiquitous there -- the bready, fruit-topped Czech pastries called kolaches.

It's clear that this kind of passion is behind the new Texas-themed restaurant, HomeState, that recently took over the old Storefront space in Los Feliz.  You immediately feel the place's hospitable vibe -- there's a giant sign behind the open kitchen that says "Welcome Home"; a dark wood bookshelf is filled with books, knick-knacks, and bags of Austin's own Cuvee Coffee; and pretty white cake plates by the counter hold piles of that very stuff of legend, kolaches.


The flavors here are familiar and super satisfying.  A fat breakfast taco of eggs and shredded brisket is smoky and gooey, on a fresh, thick homemade flour tortilla (which you can also take home by the dozen).  There are in fact several varieties of  breakfast taco, including chorizo, refried charro beans, and a potato, bacon, and cheddar combo.  (There's even an egg white and mushroom taco, which I will likely never try, though I appreciate the concession to the needs of the neighborhood.)  Also included on the breakfast menu is migas -- eggs scrambled with crispy strips of corn tortilla, cheddar, and various add-ins.  All are served with red and green salsa that are appropriately fiery, and very fresh.
classy frito pie
We didn't have any of the lunch mains (sandwiches, tacos, and a couple awesome-sounding salads will have to wait for another trip), but we did try a couple classic sides:  the Frito pie, Fritos with homemade chili con carne and toppings, were served out of a Fritos bag, but the complex flavors of the rich chili belie the kitschy-trashy presentation.
And of course, their queso, served with tortilla chips, is properly addictive.

HomeState achieves the Texas theme with a welcoming coziness and a little bit of hipster savvy.  The espresso drinks, made with Cuvee coffee roasted in Austin, are better than they need to be.

The back wall is lined with green glass bottles of TopoChico, a Mexican mineral water popular in Austin.  And to drive the down-home point home, the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack quietly played in the background the whole time we were there.

hospitality for all

They also have buñuelos in a bag, which I can't believe I didn't try.  Doesn't matter; I'll certainly be back.  Living in Los Angeles, there is very little regional food that still seems exotic to us.  So it's always exciting to be introduced to a new world through its food.  Texas has invaded Los Feliz with deliciousness, hospitality, kolaches, and really great coffee.  I for one welcome the takeover.

HomeState is located at 4624 Hollywood Blvd., between Vermont and Hillhurst.


  1. Could kolaches be the new cronut? Cross your fingers it won't be, or you'll never get to eat one again.

  2. Volare, let's hope not! The kronut kraze got a little too kraaayyyzaay for me.