Monday, September 29, 2008

Mourning Lost Cafes


Seeing a closed restaurant -- especially if it was popular -- similar to a death in its finality. There's an experience that you wished to have but now can't, people you wished to meet that you are now unable. My latest sad moment was driving through Hollywood and passing by LA Doughboys Bakery and Cafe -- and seeing it boarded up.

I had often seen this Hollywood restaurant packed to the windows with artistic and tattoed souls desperate for their morning bagel, and sworn that I would go there when I had time -- and now I can't. Call me a bit sentimental, but I get attached to those familiar landmarks in my daily life; they keep me sane when I'm in traffic.

This artsy scene has now morphed into a no-name cafe, a place without roots that has to build a history -- not become a part of mine.

I like to have places that I know I can go to -- where the cashiers know me. I can be sure that my chai latte doesn't scald my mouth, the pastries are fresh and I don't have to fear a third-world quality bathroom. I like being able to pass by these places on the street and know that I have a group of safe havens. LA Doughboys was supposed to be one of those places. And now it's gone.

In the last two years, a different cafe (one of my faves) has gone through several owners -- and with each change of regime, the name changes. It's almost as annoying as Puff Daddy changing his name to P. Diddy -- and now he's just Diddy. Maybe next year he'll just be "D."

The cafe formerly known as "Cubby's" became "Synergy" and is now just "The Spot." Synergy's sister cafe became Vinoteque, a wannabe miniature disco in a Culver City neighborhood known for children, dogs and an ice skating rink as old as Jesus.

I could be a bit melancholy tonight, but this foodie wishes for a bit of stability in her palate.

Is that too much too ask?

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