Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Breakfast on Broadway
Morning surprise! Walking up Broadway, sun still sloping in from the east, median palm trees backlit, shining. And here, just west of the Greyhound, and right at Front Street, is Broadway's one sidewalk cafe.
(And what's with that? When you think about it, it's our perfect Champs Élysées. It should be strewn with sidewalk cafes.)
This is the Coffee Bean.
I stop in. Me and 500 others. Think they're all fueling up for a day in court, right across Front.
Inside, they have basically coffees and teas, but also breakfast pastries.
I get a 16 ounce cawfee ($1.95) and a chocolate striped croissant ($2.50). Nice thing is they have good china if you're "eating in."
But "eating in" means eating out for me. On the sidewalk. Beautiful. World goes by. People talking about their jury duty, talking about last night's TV, pedicab guys calling out "Ride?"
Couple at next table are drinking cappuccino and nibbling on a couple of pastries. Ursula and Dolfi Muller. From Switzerland.
"We were in Palm Springs. They had a Coffee Bean there. They seem to be everywhere," says Ursula.
"Just as well," says Dolfi. "We like to eat outside. I think Americans like to eat inside."
Turns out Dolfi's the mayor of a Swiss town. Zug, population 28,000. Shows me a photo. Beautiful. By a lake. He needed a break from mayoring. Chilling out in California. He has to deal with fourteen political parties, think he says, to run his town.
Turns out the Coffee Bean isn't just here in 'Diego. They have a dozen or so places just in LA. Heck, they're in 19 countries.
I'm just glad they're on this street.
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