Referral Friday: Cafe Tropical


Referral Friday is part of an ongoing series inspired by John Jantsch's Make-a-Referral Week. For more about that, and loads more referrals for everything from cobblers to coaches to gee-tar teachers, start here. Pass it on, baby!

I'd always suspected Los Angeles got shortchanged in the espresso department, and it took an extended trip to Seattle to prove it. More good coffee there than you should shake a stick at, although why you'd go around shaking a stick at delicious, delicious coffee is beyond me.

We have a few decent cuppas here on the East Side in the Lake of Silver 'hood: our local outpost of Chicago-based Intelligentsia serves an outstanding Americano, and I'll grudgingly admit to a sort of liqueur-y excellence to schmantastic LAMILL's brew. But there's no non-carb-y grub at the former and only outrageously priced (albeit tasty...grudging, grudging) at the latter, and Intelligentsia is a chain (albeit small and excellent and definitely to be chosen over all other chains) and LAMILL just aggravates me to no end. Too twee.

What is in the Lake of Silver Land and not twee? So not twee that its outdoor seating area could generously be described as "colorful" and/or "sun-baked"? So far from twee that it has photo signs of food you can point to when placing your order, hosts the hipster AA meeting, and has only TWO available coffee options, negro or con leche?

Why, Café Tropical (rhymes with "bop yer pal"), of course!

Not only that, but, I shit you not, Café Tropical serves up what I've come to believe, after vast sampling, one of the finest and most generous Cobb salads in town, and at the low, low price of seven (or eight? WHATEVER) bucks. Feeds two non-greedy people easily, with some left over if they're really non-greedy. (I'm on the small side, and I can usually get three small meals out of it.) Who the hell eats a Cobb salad with a steaming hot cup of Cuban-style Americano, you ask? Hell if I know, bub. I make a separate trip lunchtime or after.

Of course, there is also an insanely great array of Cuban pressed sandwiches and pastries to make those on low-carb diets weep with frustration and drool with envy. My friend, Ritzy, brought a whole guava-with-cheese pie (a specialty, and hot damn, I know why) to a gals' night I hosted and damned if I didn't cave...and didn't care. Freakishly delicious.

I know, I know, this is a local shoutout, and all y'all come from all over. Grant me a few gimmes, huh? So my fave local spots stay live and local?

And if you find yourself in L.A. and East Side, hell, in L.A., period, toddle on over. It's one of those neighborhood gems no one visiting from out of town used to stumble upon, in the time before Yelp. (I suppose it may have made Zagat's, but I can't imagine a middlebrow write-up of Tropical' making it sound that enticing.)

Go. Drink. Eat. Hit a meeting, if that's your thing.

Just make sure you save some room for the guava pie...


Cafe Tropical
2900 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-8391

Photo ©Food GPS, via Flickr. More yummy shots of the food here.