Diner Week: CJ's Cafe...feeling the love after church
5501 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Mon-Sat 6:30 AM-6 PM
Here is a where we take a detour from the big, buff, American style diners of Diner Week. CJ's Cafe is a shining example of how Mexican culture has melted into the diner genre in SoCal, making it something practically American by it's own standards...after all, America by nature is just one big melting pot of cultures that have slowly started to "gray" into each other.
Though the picture here shows a tamer time, don't let that fool you. This small cafe has become the equivalent of a 3rd Street brunch spot on Sundays. This happens to be one of THE after church go to spots in the Pico district. Plenty of seating and a fast staff help things from being too nightmarish thankfully.
They offer some pretty unique breakfast plates, i.e. my "Deli omelette" filled with pastrami and cheese. The pastrami was extra lean, not too salty and made me wonder why I this isn't a standard at other places. The hash potatoes are notches above the rest. I do believe that they grill the onions ahead of time and then mix them with the potatoes giving them a flavor packed punch. Most other places just mix them in right away with out cooking them first.
As stated before, their Mexican breakfast plates, such as this Huevos Rancheros plate, really shine. Eggs were done perfectly over medium, the Ranchero sauce was packed with chili flavor though not spicy and didn't compete in any way with the side of chorizo that came with it. I kid you not I'd give this plate at least an 8 on taste. Speaking of which, the chorizo that they serve up is DYNAMITE. I could eat this kind of chorizo with any plate for breakfast. On a side note, be sure to try there tortas which are a showpiece for the ingredients they use.
Parking is a whiz with street AND rear parking. They have a great staff and a well varied menu that should satiate most anyone's morning needs. Their loyal following shows up right when they open, and why shouldn't they...they've got the right formula going on there.
Free Drink Refills:Yes
Entree Price Ranges: Breakfast is $5 to $8, lunch is $4 to $7, and dinner is $7 to $10