Alex in the morning? Yes, Please!
So proclaimed my Mother the other day when I took her out for ‘fast at one of my favorite places: Cafe Leila (1724 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley).
This is a funky, loft-type, industrial space (’twas a plumbing business for some 80 years) with a lovely and large outdoor dining area in the back complete with fountain and really nice landscaping. Since you can get to the back without going through the establishment, feel free to bring your friendly dog and hang out with him as you have your meal—or just “coffee and.” It’s a great place to sit, think, and take in the surroundings as you sip a hot beverage. You don’t have to be doing something every second of your life.
The full and varied menu has a Mediterranean twist, and you’ll find everything from eggs to wraps. They feature live jazz in the evening, and run a very friendly shop.
Mutti (that’s Mommy in German) selected Alex in the Morning ($9.95), which includes two eggs, home fries, bacon, fruit, a small freshly-squeezed orange juice and organic coffee. The bacon had some substance to it, and the fruit, in the form of a composed fruit salad with banana, orange and apple slices over melon chunks, was fresh as can be. Nice. The home fries had onion and were very savory. I wish other places would use onion in their home fries.
The only problem I have is that they use Noah’s Bagels which, in my opinion, are little more than low-quality, round, flat, monolithic, cellulose-like rolls with a hole. A bagel needs to be boiled before being baked in order to have that chewy texture, which is one of the hallmarks of a good bagel. Why can’t they buy bagels from Berkeley Bagels, or even Manhattan Bagel?
The reason I’m kvetching about the bagels is that one of my favorite breakfasts is a bagel with cream cheese, sliced red onion and sliced tomato. They suggested I take the asiago, which I did—toasted, which is the only way to deal with a subprime bagel, in my opinion.
It turned out fine. If you’ve never had a bagel this way, I highly recommend it.
There’s a little parking lot on the side for those with four wheels.
If you have an oddball work schedule like I do, take advantage of Cafe Leila early in the day during the week to optimize your back garden experience.