Saturday, February 07, 2009
Highland Park is Popping: Cafe de Leche
Do you ever think about what it takes for you to consider living in a certain neighborhood? For me, it's always been two things: a friendly coffeehouse and a good bookstore. Local independent bokstores are hard to come by in Southern Cali, but Cafe de Leche is doing its part to make Highland Park eminently livable.
A friend of mine, affectionately known as The Miss to her high school students in Boyle Heights, is considering moving to the area, so she gave us a little tour. We walked through the sloping streets around York Boulevard, the city's main drag. Some blocks consisted of big, stately houses, others housed some smaller homes. York combines shops where you can buy water and piñatas with a hip bar and now, Cafe De Leche.
The aesthetic is at once slick and welcoming. Clean space, one brick wall, beautiful mural across the opposite one, and an orange bicycle mounted on one wall.* A kids' play area towards the back, because, guess what? The hipsters are having babies. There are little Latin nods throughout the space, with Spanish labels on the coffee accoutrements and sweets from wonderful Porto's bakery. (And speaking of coffee accoutrements, they have a tall bottle of sugar syrup along with everything else, for easy dissolving in your iced beverages. So very civilized.)
Cafe de Leche's friendly vibe starts with the ladies behind the counter. When my drink order fell through the cracks, they made it up to me with a flaky guava pastry on the house. It was delicious, as was my cappuccino (which, according to Eating LA, is made with Intelligentsia beans).
Highland Park is new territory to me -- I don't know much about the area. But, with Cafe de Leche holding fort on the corner of York and Ave 50, I believe the Miss can call it home.
Cafe De Leche is at 5000 York Boulevard, at Avenue 50.
* Is this a coffeehouse trend? I'm sitting in Massimo's Mudspot right now, and they've got a bike on the wall, too. Hmm.