Hangover Helper: Corned Beef Hash at S & W Country Diner, Los Angeles
Any port in a storm, as the saying goes. You're overmatched against the elements; the fog hangs thick in your head, and you're perilously close to pitching overboard. Then, an unusual sight: a down-home greasy spoon diner in The Heart of Screenland. It may take a minute to navigate to a seat, but shoring up at S & W Country Diner in Culver City is a surefire way to be up and sailing again in no time.
Two things are unequivocally true about S & W: the breakfast menu is expansive, and the word is already out. Waves of weekend patrons crash against the pantry walls. First the Sun Risers, then the Active Mothers of Small Children, followed by Cops and Other People Who For Some Reason Are Up As Early As Cops. Luckily, they've all mostly cleared out by brunch o'clock, which means a short wait is all that separates you from plastic tablecloths and the necessary ingredients to cure what ails ya.
Back to that breakfast menu, a multi-page behemoth that offers syrup-friendly fare alongside dizzying combinations of eggs, meats, and starches. Right smack dab in the middle is your shining breakfast beacon: the corned beef hash ($7.95). Assuming you didn't max out your singles on bar tips and lotto scratchers last night, spring the extra hundred pennies for the homemade stuff; otherwise your breakfast is coming from a can. The fried, salty main dish is accompanied by two eggs, served your way (here's a quick reference guide: beer hangover = sunny side up, hard alcohol = scrambled, wine = over easy, a light headache from too many spritzers last night = eggs thrown at your Fiat as you speed off, terrified). Pile on the griddled potatoes with onions and peppers to help play anchor.
The idea here is to make the dish as unrecognizable as possible, as quickly as possible. Mix and mash until the plate resembles a Pollack painting, full of splatter and mayhem. Golden yolks find their way into the crispy crevices of the deeply seasoned and long-griddled hash. Softened potatoes lay about with ribbons of sliced corned beef, co-mingling with a toss of egg white chunks. This is a dish that rewards last night's drunken sailors with pure, settled satisfaction. Each bite is gooey, crunchy, salty, starchy and meaty, with enough pure protein to raise some concerns about scurvy.
S & W Country Diner
9748 Washington Blvd., Culver City (map)