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Top 5 Cafes in the San Fernando Valley

you live in the valley. you want coffee. woohoo!

you live in the valley. you want coffee. woohoo!

It’s hard for me to get any writing done at home. This misfortune has led to a patronization of coffee establishments in the Encino/Sherman Oaks area. Here are some of my favorites!

1. Aroma Café – Encino

An Israeli style Café in the heart of mini Tel-Aviv, the crowd is mostly Arab and Nazi sympathizers. The food is REALLY good (get the Tunisian on a Jerusalem Bagel), you can smoke on the patio – they also put out misters during the summer! – and the waitresses are all hot Israeli chicks looking to get a Visa. Bring a ring next time you go.

Pros: Besides the food, the best part is that Aroma is a scene, which is exceptional since it’s in the VALLEY. The Hollywood feel, without the pretentiousness. Waitresses like it when I talk in Hebrew. Still, I always leave heartbroken and dateless.

Cons: Expect to wait a long time for a table, especially if you want to sit outside. Flirt with the hostess by commenting on her stupid necklace she bought off her friend in the mall. Usually, you’ll get seated earlier.

2. Starbucks – Ventura and Hayvenhurst

The caffeinated anchor in yet another manufactured suburban entertainment complex. There’s an outdoor patio where the young and old school each other in speed chess matches. Illegal checks usually lead to a flurry of Farsi across tables. The police came down hard on the establishment about eight years ago when one of them pulled out a gun on a cop.

Pros: Adjacent to Barnes and Noble. Frequented by cougars. Hot moms make for pleasant eye candy. Radiohead will pop up on the store playlist about once a month.

Cons: Persians.

3. Coral Tree Caf̩ РTarzana

Serving panini, pasta and wine, the food and the prices draw an upscale, professional crowd that come for meetings, awkward lunch dates, and coo over newborn babies with gargantuan heads. I know this because I’m sitting right next to one.

Pros: Curried Chicken Sandwich. The counter to table service, and endless cups of drip coffee.

Cons: Pricey. But you pay for what you get. The sandwiches are enormous and come with a nice salad.

4. Coffee Bean – Reseda and Ventura

Where suburbia goes, coffee will follow. I have a special place in my heart for this one –I did my barista training here, got wired on 8 shots of espresso in half the hours. Shaky hands brings angry service. Lisa, the manager, liked to close up on time, so she’d put an out of order sign on the bathroom 30 minutes before close to avoid the heavy post clean-up. They reopened it after Israelis started peeing in the parking lot.

Pros: Equidistant to nearly everybody I know, I’ll see someone every time I visit. Good place to meet Jewish girls. They have a fireplace during the winter, and Coldstones and Robeks Juice is next door. But who the fuck ever goes to Robeks Juice?

Cons: CB pays no attention to furniture: it sucks far worse than the Office Depot desk my brother gave me for my apartment in San Francisco. Also, Israelis tend to get rowdy during the midnight hour, smoking cigars and eventually turning into werewolves.

5. Starbucks – Kester and Ventura

Same drinks, different feel. This Starbucks stays open till midnight every night, one of the few places in the area to do so. In typical Valley behavior, a spat broke out last time I was here between three burly, goateed Armenians and an older Persian guy, who I call Mr. Bronze. He was hitting on a few young girls. 10 minutes later he was about to “get his jaw cracked and knocked the fuck out for talking shit.” Another ten minutes passed and nothing happened.

Pros: You can sit in the corner, start working, and not order a thing. If the staff can’t see you, they can’t bother you. The music is not too loud or distracting. And you can’t beat the late hours.

Cons: I would again say Persians, but I don’t want to diminish the entertainment possibilities.

26 Comments

  1. Jack

    3/25/2009 at 5:10 pm

    Aroma is virtually Tarzana, not that it matters. The only place worth sitting there is outside because the interior is far too noisy. But the food and coffee are worth it.

  2. Larry

    3/26/2009 at 11:05 am

    Aaron… if you want to get any writing done, you need to move to New York City and Manhattan. And then you can get your coffee at The Roasting Plant http://www.roastingplant.com
    Tell me when you arrive, and I can buy you your first few days of real coffees.

  3. aaron

    3/26/2009 at 12:31 pm

    Larry, City of Thieves! I saw that book in Green Apple books in SF and need to get it.

    Moving to Manhattan…Get me a job in an ad agency and I’m there. Otherwise I can schlub and write screenplays sitting from Urth Cafe on Melrose like everyone else in LA.

  4. Jack

    3/26/2009 at 1:39 pm

    New York versus LA? I’ll take LA hands down every time. No questions, no worrries, no contest.

  5. HalfSours

    3/26/2009 at 1:59 pm

    “Cons: I would again say Persians, but I don’t want to diminish the entertainment possibilities.”

    Dude, what the hell?

  6. J.Miller

    3/26/2009 at 7:33 pm

    I have to disagree with you Jack.NYC all the way.LA is nothing but fake plastic people.

  7. Larry

    3/27/2009 at 12:35 am

    (1) nyc has better bagels than LA.. and MONTREAL even hehe
    (2) as for a job at an agency… did u need a paying job?

  8. Tori

    3/27/2009 at 1:51 am

    The Valley sucks

  9. HalfSours

    3/27/2009 at 10:28 am

    I’m earnestly hurt that a distaste for Persians is nonchalantly expressed and received by members of the mainstream Jewish community.

  10. ck

    3/27/2009 at 11:08 am

    I think it’s clear Aaron was kidding. I mean how else can you treat a post that starts off by informing you that Israeli owned Cafe Aroma is “An Israeli style Café in the heart of mini Tel-Aviv, the crowd is mostly Arab and Nazi sympathizers.” Arab and Nazi sympathizers? So yeah, don’t take the Persian thing personally. I happen to know that Aaron has the hots for Sephardic girls…

  11. HalfSours

    3/27/2009 at 11:40 am

    I’m sure he was kidding. It still exposes a distaste for Persians. Humor isn’t humor without some reflection of truth. You think he arbitrarily picked Persians – twice – to list as a con? Would it have been as funny if he had said “Con: I would have said secretaries, but I don’t want to diminish the entertainment possibilities,” or “Con: Malaysians” ?

    I’m not one of those people who seeks to be offended by every offhand joke. But this was pretty clear cut; “Con: Persians”.

  12. aaron

    3/27/2009 at 12:43 pm

    @HalfSours – It’s interesting you say Malaysians, because I can’t stand them either. I don’t even know where that country is but I still can’t stand them. All of them.

    @Larry – I do like my bagels. What are your spots? And for the time being, an internship would be swell. It wouldn’t be for a couple of weeks.

    @ck – speaking of sephardi girls, I’m off tonight with the one you THOUGHT was sephardi. Not the actual one. Get it?

  13. themiddle

    3/27/2009 at 1:10 pm

    Halfsours, he also criticized Israelis.

    We at Jewlicious have to face facts: Aaron is one of those Americans the Europeans trash constantly. 😉

    In any case, I didn’t read the post carefully the first time or I might have said something. I do apologize if you were offended, I think that our general proposition on this site is not to make fun of any group other than over-the-top Orthodox Jews, sensible Conservative Jews, practically Christian Reform Jews, Wacky Reconstructionist Jews, insane Humanist Jews and Jews who are ignorantly agnostic and atheist or just unaffiliated. So making fun of Persian and Israeli Jews is beyond the pale and not in line with our values here.

  14. HalfSours

    3/28/2009 at 7:26 pm

    He didn’t make fun of Persians. He listed Persians as a con.

  15. froylein

    3/29/2009 at 5:09 am

    I’m delighted that for a change Europeans, Germans in particular, are not on the receiving end. And no, I haven’t got a German accent.

  16. themiddle

    3/29/2009 at 5:17 am

    HalfSours, I hear ya. I can’t speak for another writer, and I do believe he was joking. However, we all share this site so I’ll speak up and apologize. You are right to be offended.

  17. froylein

    3/29/2009 at 7:00 am

    I was chatting with Aaron when he was surrounded by Persians at a coffee place. It was the Persian new year, so I advised him to wish them a happy new year. I’d wished them a happy new year on here, too, but nobody left a comment and said “thanks”, so I figured we don’t have any readership that identifies itself as Persian.

  18. Ed Greenberg

    3/30/2009 at 10:00 pm

    Five nice locations for this Lake Balboa resident. Thanks.

  19. aaron

    3/30/2009 at 11:05 pm

    lake balboa in the house?

    Happy Norwouz everybody. I hope I spelled that right. Froyo correct me if I’m wrong.

  20. froylein

    3/31/2009 at 10:01 am

    Nowrouz, sonny, IIRC (I’m not Persian, so I’m not 100% sure).

  21. nerf

    3/31/2009 at 5:12 pm

    Aaron is correct. encino has become a third world refugee camp. the middle eastern types come here with a terrible attitude with. get with the program, your in the usa now, act like you appreciate it here, and stop acting like disrepectful refugees. you give jews a bad name with your terrible behaviour.

  22. aaron

    3/31/2009 at 8:36 pm

    I read the first three words and got excited. Then I started thinking whether I had abilities to delete comments.

    nerf, you failed miserably at elaborating my point. Don’t hate on middle easterners. I am middle eastern, you pitiful sack of crap. Go away. You’re not welcome here with that type of attitude.

  23. sephardic jew

    1/16/2010 at 5:31 pm

    i <3 palestine

  24. Jack

    11/17/2010 at 5:51 pm

    I have to disagree with you Jack.NYC all the way.LA is nothing but fake plastic people.

    JMiller- You are entitled to be wrong.

  25. Morrie

    10/31/2011 at 1:16 am

    1. Aroma Café – Encino

    An Israeli style Café in the heart of mini Tel-Aviv, “the crowd is mostly Arab and Nazi sympathizers.”

    Did you read this in this link?
    Are you crazy or somebody has something against your blog/site or Aroma or against Jewlicious

    I suggest you correct it immediately or I am sure you and this location of Aroma restaurant might sue you on wrong representation of their business and malicious advertising of their establishment

  26. view

    5/13/2019 at 1:59 pm

    I just want to say I’m very new to blogs and honestly liked this website. Most likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with impressive articles and reviews. Thanks for sharing with us your website.

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