Arts Corps Los Angelesis trying to get some people through the gates of their public park and art space, Tierra de la Culebra, by offering free coffee and pastries Monday and Friday mornings from 6-9AM. They’re starting small, but if this is a hit, they may expand their hours to meet demand. My only bone to pick is that they’ve titled the event “Ghetto Grounds”. Why not “Cafe de la Culebra” or something that doesn’t allude to our neighborhood being a run-down slum? ACLA also runs free afternoon art classes for anyone interested.
The group took abandoned land after the Rodney King Riots and refurbished it with some colorful artwork and a large stone serpent in an attempt to “represent [Highland Park's] diverse cultures”. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the park reminds me of a small, urbanized, and amateur version of Barcelona’s Park Guell, which is to say I like it. Stop by, chat up the friendly artists who live next door, and enjoy one of the little spaces that makes Highland Park such a unique neighborhood.
Tierra de la Culebra
240 South Avenue 57
Just a quick review of my first trip to this Chilango eaterie. In short, the space is clean, the salsa bar is decent, the menu is large, and the prices are good. The quality is…well they’re from the San Fernando Valley, so what do you expect? My pambazo was fine but not nearly as soaked in achiote goodness as Antojitos Chilangos on York. (However the kitchen’s speed was about three times faster). The tacos were decent, especially considering the $1.25 price tag, but I still prefer La Estrella, or even Takitaco. Now, if this place would deliver, I’d be singing a different tune, but it’s just not worth going out of your way for. For pictures and an fanatical description of their huevos rancheros, click here.
Also on the note of Highland Park food, Cafe de Leche was written up on eaterLA yesterday. Congratulations fellas.
5305 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90042
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I remember when a cup of coffee more complicated than drip required at least a commute to one of the chains in Glendale or if you wanted to hob nob with disaffected PCC literati (is there really such a thing?), Equator Cafe in Pasadena. True this was only 1999, but the ensuing decade seems to be bringing an absolute deluge of cafes to our extended neighborhood. On our modest map alone there are links to at least five coffeeshops in the immediate area and I’m not sure if we’ve even included Swork, two of the Starbuckses, the Oxy/Goya Cafe, and the enigmous Cafe Princesa on York which shares shares space with the sign store. Well, throw Cycleway Cafe into the mix. They seem to be borrowing heavily from the Starbucks motif of overstuffed chairs, small tables, and a clean well-lit interior. Even the display case of pastries, sandwiches, and drinks evokes flashbacks to their big bad competition from Seattle. On a more positive note, the service was very friendly as the barrista told me I looked a lot like his (I can only assume very good looking) friend’s brother. Also, the owners seem to be at least intellectually invested into the history of the area as they’ve taken their name from the late 19th Century precursor to the 110 freeway. Free wifi is nice as is the outdoor seating. If they ever expand their menu, I might even add this place to my weekend breakfast rotation.
5526 Monterrey Road
Los Angeles, CA 90042
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