Kid Hit Menu Items: Café de Leche doesn’t have a full menu or much in the way of food. But if you like Porto’s but want to avoid the craziness of Glendale or Burbank, you’re in luck! The Highland Park coffeehouse stocks a few select items from the legendary Cuban bakery/café/community gathering spot (where I’m headed this weekend to get the toddler’s birthday cake).
Adult Perks: Stumptown beans from Portland pulled on a La Marzocco, y’all! And organic teas. If you’re alone and need a great place to work and tinker on a laptop, this place fits the bill.
Pros: Comfortable, stylish café with terrific play area in the back.
Cons: Not many food items, but hey, it’s not a full-blown restaurant.
Changing Station: No.
High Chairs: No. Also N/A
Parking and Access: Metered street parking on York and Avenue 50.
Other Tidbits: Café de Leche occupies a corner storefront in a 1920s brick-clad vernacular commercial building on a portio of York that’s a mix of the neighborhood’s old and new. The York gastropub is a few doors down, as is what has to be one of the stinkiest pet stores in all of L.A. The magical Galco’s soda shop is nearby, too. Café de Leche offers the much-welcome play area amenity that Swork in Eagle Rock introduced (thank god!), but with a little less space and without a window for kids to gaze at passing buses and whatnot. Much better coffee, though. Owners Anya and Matt Schodorf have cleverly integrated plywood shelves to double as storage, seating and space dividers. Other details like exposed brick, wood, and a lovely mural showcase a heavy dose of Dwell sensibility and more northeast L.A. DIY earnestness. There’s a good basic selection of a few toys and books for various ages, along with a chalkboard and a block puzzle mural with the café’s logo. Both the toddler and baby manage to have a great time and hopefully don’t disturb the other patrons and Oxy students hanging out there. (Signs politely request that children and parents keep the noise level down.) Café de Leche was deservedly nominated for the 2010 AIA Los Angeles’s Restaurant Design Awards in the café category.
5000 York Blvd. (at Ave. 50), Highland Park
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.