Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crave Cafe


Sherman Oaks, CA. I could stop at the fact that this little eatery is open 24 hours. A decent place that serves semi-economical organic fare at all hours of the day is sometimes enough, in my book, to get a mention. I have met up with a friend of mine here a few times now for a simple coffee and I'm always tempted to (and I usually do) try something new. Seating is inside and out, and rather expansive despite the small-seeming storefront. The service is consistently friendly and helpful for locals, visitors, and newcomers alike. If coffee is all that one desires, the free refill on a large iced is a benefit to linger a bit longer.

Crave Cafe serves lighter fare, from eggs and omelettes to crepes and paninis. Soups and salads are also available for those wanting to hit that waistline even less. Desserts are hosted in a few cases by the counter, with its cakes having been acquired from local bakeries. If a particular pastry chef's work is recognized it's hard not to add a slice to an order!

Breakfast Burrito
Breakfast Burrito - though usually made with turkey bacon, eggs, cheese, hash browns and salsa, the eatery allows for a "make it your way" approach. My resulting egg white, avocado, turkey bacon, and cheese, wrapped up in a wheat tortilla made for a great dose of protein and good fat. Restaurants that allow for this type of open-ended approach to food excite me, speaking to confidence in the ingredients, cooking skills, and support of creativity in the kitchen. The burrito came with a side of mixed greens with a tomato slice and balsamic vinaigrette. The disproportionate tomato made me chuckle, but after setting it aside the salad became a fine accompaniment. 

Chicken Grill Crepe
Chicken Grill Crepe - was a little pocket of flavor to savor: a simple mix of cheese, tomato, and onion cooked up and wrapped in a crepe, paired with the simple salad as before. A pesto and red pepper side also joined this party, but added a bit of indifference to the plate. The crepe was well-cooked, the cheese integrated in its melt, and the chicken was lightly seasoned and didn't weigh me down after consuming the entire meal. I could have gone for sweet or created my own concoction, but no need, as this sufficed for a nice guiltless serving for the afternoon.

Strawberry Cheesecake
Strawberry Cheesecake - joined the displayed cakes in the front case and is supplied, along with others, from a nearby bakery.  The glazed strawberries were subtly sweetened and topped the creamy cheesecake well. The cake's texture was dense but light, almost whipped to make that ideal slice but baked to set to a near-perfect consistency. Two rosettes of cream cheese frosting decorate the outer edge and the cake sits on a graham crust that has been one of the better ones I've tasted in Los Angeles. The cheesecake was 'yummers' as some of my friends say - I'm glad for the splurge.

I have come for coffee and I have left with a full stomach. The food has been consistent, a quality I look for in most venues. The crowd is quite varied, from comic book lovers to writers of all sorts to rocker flashbacks circa the 1990s or business professionals typing furiously at their smartphone. For a good meal, at all hours, to observe an interesting crowd, or to just have a nice chat with an old friend, this is a decent place to order, pull up a chair, and chill out.

Crave Cafe
14504 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

(818) 990-7888

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