Cora's Coffee Shop...a small personification of LA
1802 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Though we've been having some wind lately and even a touch of rain every once in a great while, for the most part, winter is already gone and has been for a little bit. This is part of the joy of living in Southern California. We can go out in shorts for about 90% of the year and it doesn't even have to be anything extreme.
L.A. in particular is something special. Besides the great weather, we have everyone who wants to be someone, tons of tourists, more beautiful people per capita than anywhere in America (thanks to the industries that call this home) and our stores and restaurants reflect this. Restaurants by nature are where deals are made and our restaurants always look like they are the breeding ground for such people to wheel and deal.
One small place that takes an easy approach to the LA lifestyle is Cora's Coffee Shop in Santa Monica. Though it's says coffee shop in it's name, don't let that fool you. The "shop" looks more like a place that girls could invite guys to if they were having tea. Cute...but not that cute.
Here's the cute I was talking about. A garden party while somehow still safe for my masculinity. This is where most of the seating is. They do have an extremely limited amount of space inside but this is California and it's hardly ever that cold that you would be apprehensive about sitting in the "veranda" (besides the staff are always going in and out that you'd probably get more draft from the door opening and closing then just being outside).
The menu is something that I found to be both quirky and amusing. It's not all that big nor that diverse. But what they do make is solidly good and of course part of the catch is that you're eating right by the water in one of the most famous areas in LA county, thereby in America as well. Take for instance the burrata caprese omelet shown above. It's one of the few official breakfast items on their menu. Solidly good. Packed with smooth burrata and fresh basil and tomatoes on top. I found nothing wrong with this plate and would go back for it anytime. The weird thing about the menu is that people come here pretty much for breakfast or brunch. The selection of choices for those 2 meals is pretty narrow. And yet notice the line out the door on the top pic. They're doing something right. Now that I think about it, the menu is like a menu you'd see at a nice hotel. Limited but all very good.
Here we have a specialty of theirs. This is their fluffy orange pancakes which, when in season (like right now), are loaded with sweet fresh blueberries. The orange is subtle, as it should be (considering you could go wrong with this really fast), with more the flavor of the zest than juice. The blueberries were warm, but had retained their firmness. Very refreshing compared to all the frozen results we get assaulted with.
The Italian sausage was like everything else...perfect complimentary for the meal. And very well priced for a side of meat all things considered.
Being as it is a "coffee shop" they do actually serve coffee. They serve up great cups of Illy coffee that is some of the best in the area.
The restaurant has a staff that's "on it" and they aim to please. They have a small parking lot in the back as well as street parking for days (or for the people shopping you can always just walk there from the Santa Monica Place mall at the Promenade).
So how is this place like LA? It's mostly sunny, filled with people who want to be somebody, are somebody, or like to look at those people with their cameras, is slightly pricey, but not when you consider the location (darn you beach front property), has enough parking unless you really need there to be, and is a spot many would gladly call home except for the fact that no one is really from there.
I love LA!
Free Refills: No...but make sure you sample the coffee which does have free refills.
Entree Price Range: Breakfast is $5.25 to $15 and lunch/dinner is $8.75 to $12.75