There are certain pockets of LA that don’t quite feel like LA. You know what I mean: You’re walking along a perfectly average stretch of busy Los Angeles street. It’s covered in colorful graffiti and peppered with painfully hip boutiques, there’s a rainbow umbrella topping a silver cart full of fresh fruit, and the sun beats down mercilessly through the clouds of exhaust that are being kicked up from the four lanes of traffic whizzing by you. It gets kind of overwhelming, so you decide to turn a corner. And suddenly, you have no idea where you are. It’s like you’ve been transported to some little town in Europe, or maybe it’s more like a suburb on the East Coast. Westchester is kind of like the latter.
In Westchester, the normal (read: not necessarily filthy rich) people have actual houses, with actual yards, and their kids ride their bikes in the street. They have block parties, they hang out at the community garden, and up until recently, most of their brunch choices have been chain restaurants (IHOP, anyone?). Luckily, there’s a new kid in town: Cafe Solar.
Cafe Solar seems like exactly the thing that Westchester needed - an approachable, casual neighborhood hangout with just the right amount of hipster. What is the right amount of hipster, you may ask? I’d say enough to ensure the presence of good coffee and fresh pressed juices, rustic chic decor, and succulents on the tables - check, check, and check! They even have kombucha on tap, and the eggs they serve up are organic. The gorgeous blue tiled floors are an added bonus. At the same time, Cafe Solar in no way feels stuck up. It’s cozy, welcoming, and clean, and the staff members we chatted with were incredibly friendly.
I came here mid-morning on a weekday with a good friend and her young son - Cafe Solar is great about accommodating kids, by the way - and it was very quiet and open. The window seats with pillows are cozy, or you can choose to dine outside on their narrow patio. I hear there’s free wifi, too, so this would be a perfect place to work and have a nice cup of coffee.
The highlight of our dining experience was the pumpkin pancakes. After chatting with staff, we were informed that this seasonal special was not to be missed. They did not lie - the pancakes were perfectly moist and flavorful, with ooey gooey chocolate chips inside and light whipped cream on top. This was the first time I’d seen bananas put on top of pumpkin pancakes, but let me just say that it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a pretty good thing.
We also tried the avocado toast, which put a unique spin on the other avocado toasts we’ve seen around town lately. The thick slice of grilled rustic sourdough bread was covered with smashed avocado, then topped pickled onions, roasted corn, and scrambled eggs. The flavors were unexpected, but quite nice! We also enjoyed the fresh fruit plate with yogurt, a cup of their delicious coffee, and the “Detox” pressed juice. My friend swears that the potent juice kept her budding cold at bay.
Next time you’re in Westchester and you’re in the market for a comfortable, low-key place to enjoy all day breakfast, Cafe Solar is your answer! I’m looking forward to going back to sample some of their gorgeous pastries and tempting crepes.