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Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
Leilani's Cafe on Cass Street in Pacific Beach is so comfy, so homey and friendly, that you feel as though you could walk in with pajamas and bunny slippers on and no one look up except to say hello.
We walked in unprepared, no cash, but Monique, who runs the place with her brothers and sister, says, "No problem, there's an ATM at the corner. Why don't you order and it'll be ready when you get back?"
Sure enough, we take a quick walk up a block and back and there are two foil covered plates just being put out for us.
I've ordered the Leilani's Spicy Hawaiian Fried Rice ($6.75). It's a big plateful, lots of rice, studded with chunks of spicy Portuguese and mild Italian sausage, shredded carrot and green onion, stir-fried and topped with a healthy dose of spicy sauce. The traditional scrambled egg is not mixed in, but cooked into a small crepe and placed on top. At first bite, the rice seemed a little under seasoned, but that's a good thing. You can add more spicy sauce and Kikkoman's without having it become too salty. The sausage is good, the Italian has a nice, pronounced fennel flavor.
John got Ono Kalua (8.50), slow-cooked pork over plain rice, topped with two over easy fried eggs. The juices of the smokey, tender pork run all over the rice, and the eggs run all over everything. It's just delicious. I keep sneaking bites of it.
That, along with a couple of cups of good strong coffee, makes a comforting, lazy way to start a Sunday.
5109 Cass St. (between Tourmaline St. & Sapphire St.)
San Diego, CA 92109
Free street parking.
Tuesday - Sunday - 7:00 am - 3:00 pm