This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Might I Suggest...

It's happenend many times. I call up a friend:

"Let's do lunch or coffee or something," I say.

When they get back to me, they inevitably say:

"Sounds good. Where do you want to meet?"

Great. I have absolutely no clue...
In Los Angeles, there are so many places and yet my mind blanks out. All I can think of are chain restaurants and coffee shops that are safe and predictable and yet have no personality whatsoever.

"Let's meet at Starbucks.... no, not Starbucks. T.G.I.Fridays.... did I say that aloud? No, not there...

In many parts of the country, all that exists are chain restaurants and cookie-cutter storefronts. You got your Red Lobster and Applebee's and Sizzler and Outback Steakhouse plus all the fast-food places. If you drive far enough-- everything repeats itself eventually.

I should consider myself lucky to be in Los Angeles where we've got that and icky strip malls, but we also have tons and tons of one-of-a-kind shops and independently-owned places that have a pulse, a personality, and a uniqueness to their offerings.

There aren't many left and I'm sure it's struggling times for those that are, but I try to support them whenever possible. So, I started keeping a list of places to meet... places I'd been to or heard positive things about. I keep the list in my car, along with take-out menus, so that whenever the question comes up, I can whip out the "list" and make a suggestion.

One of those places is Pane Dolce. It's a cute little coffee shop/cafe on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA (1 blk. East of Woodman.) It's small and comfortably quiet yet abuzz with neighborhood friendliness.

They have a generous amount of breakfast and lunch offerings along with smoothies, bakery treats, coffee and tea. I don't expect much from the food offerings at most coffee places, but Pane Dolce is different. The food is good, surprisingly so... and fresh. Recently, I went there for a turkey panino and I wondered why I don't go there more often. They have both indoor and outdoor seating which makes it a perfect place to meet someone, dine solo, or grab a drink or snack while you're writing or studying. The staff is super-friendly [as though they actually want to be there-- something that shouldn't be rare, but is.]

My friend and I tried toffee samples and the cashier informed us that the baker was sitting at the table by the window. It's not often these days to be able to give compliments to the baker. Most places have bakery items shipped from commercial bakeries. This woman started out on her own--out of her enjoyment of baking. It's refreshing to meet people who are still passionate for what they do.

In the past, Pane Dolce wasn't open on Sundays. I made an assumption that they were-- I don't know... Sunday paper = Coffee, why wouldn't they be open? Well, they didn't used to be and I once had someone meet me there on a Sunday. We ended up at some sushi bar down the street which was passable, but not preferable. Luckily Pane Dolce caught on-- not only are they OPEN ON SUNDAYS but they're now also OPEN LATE... well, later than they used to be which is 8 P.M. some days-- a definite improvement.

Apparently, the owner isn't sure if the later hours are going to work for them. It's up to the community to decide. So, support this little place with the European flair in the midst of Sherman Oaks. It would be a shame for them to have to cut their hours back to the way they were.

13608 Ventura Blvd (1 blk. East of Woodman Avenue)
Sherman Oaks CA 91423
(818) 783-1384


No comments:

Post a Comment