Do you recall the day when you fell in love? It probably started out just like any other day prior.
Maybe you were walking the same route to class or you were probably going through the motions you always do on your way to work. Then suddenly, it happened. An encounter so pleasant and welcome that you knew in that very moment you would never be the same. I don’t fall in love too often or easily, but when I do it’s usually over food. Not too long ago, I was doing what I do on any ordinary day. I hopped on the freeway and drove to a restaurant. I walked in and was greeted by the owner. I was given a tour and shown to a seat. I ordered a few items and then the food came to my table. And it was in the few slow-mo frames where the scent of the food cascaded to my face, where my fork grabbed the food, and the food disappeared after passing my lips that it happened. I fell in love.
Before you think we’ve reached the end, let’s fill in the blanks of this love story.
I’ve never driven out to Pacoima for food, but I try to give any restaurant a chance especially when I’m invited. On this seemingly regular day, I was at the bright pink Myke’s Café (pronounced My-keys) meeting with the owner David.
David is incredibly sweet, humble, and passionate about the small restaurant he gets to step inside every day. This was apparent as he talked about the cooks who brought to life unforgettable dishes for customers plate-by-plate. I could feel his gratitude to the team of employees who make the food as remarkable as they do.
David’s passion for Myke’s was apparent as he talked about each piece of art that hung in the restaurant. This was clear as he described the artists that would come into the restaurant and position photographs on walls and affix murals alongside the building almost as if they were friends. Maybe after working together, they were. Even more, I could sense his love for the restaurant as we discussed the outwardly rough community surrounding the café. The city may not look glamorous, but it’s where Myke’s is. The people, cars, and businesses around Myke’s cultivated a neighborhood that has supported the restaurant in ways that a luxury zip code probably couldn’t do. It’s the community that may have its tough parts that make the totality of Myke’s the neighborhood spot that draws lines of people waiting to dine. I didn’t know it yet, but I was slowly beginning to fall in love.
With a beautiful understanding of the restaurant, I was ready to get familiar with the dishes. After looking over the menu, I knew I wanted the red velvet pancakes and the French toast while David made choice. It didn’t take long for the food to arrive, and the minute the plates were placed in front of us it was like every romantic film in a field of roses set to a Whitney Houston song came to life.
The first of the two pancakes that I put my fork into was the Notre Dame Killer ($9.25). This was a southern red velvet pancake that was sprinkled with cinnamon and then topped with cocoa powder and a cream cheese frosting. It looked as if it was full of the richest cocoa powder and then blended with a vibrant red food coloring. The color made my eyes widen, but it was the flavor that made me smile. The pancake was slightly thinner than comparable stacks at places like Dupars or Big Kitchen Cafe in San Diego, but the density didn’t detract from its taste. This was such a fluffy and sweet pancake that I couldn’t stop eating it. Then dollop of the frosting swept onto the pancake which only took the taste to the next level. The frosting was thick in texture yet light in taste which was an ideal balance to the pancake. If you’re asking how much syrup was in this breakfast equation, the answer was zero. David had mentioned their pancakes don’t need syrup, and after diving into this, he was right. Absolutely right.
After the Notre Dame Killer, I made my way to trying out the Berrylemonicious ($9.25). It was really David’s order so I tried not to eat too much of his. The name is a mouthful, as is the dish. This buttermilk pancake was packed with raspberries and showered with a lemon curd. Like the previous pancake, this one was just as fluffy. But what I loved about this one was that since the fruit was infused into the pancake instead of topped with it, there was a semi-sweetness that flowed inside and out of each bite. Plus, the mouthwatering tart lemon taste of the curd made this pancake another dish that didn’t need syrup.
Then the third dish made its way to the table. The Hood Smores ($13.50) was made of two pieces of French toast, stuffed with Nutella and homemade smores, and then topped with slices of strawberries and bananas. From the description alone, I was apprehensive about whether or not the toast would be overly infused and weighed down by the Nutella. To my pleasant surprise, the French toast was perfect. There was just enough of each ingredient that it didn’t take away from the dish whatsoever, it enhanced it. The golden-fried pieces of bread enclosed an even spread of a rich and creamy Nutella. While the Nutella and the toast were a nice pair of a crisp bread and smooth cream, it was the homemade smores that made it exceptional. The smores were incredibly sweet and silky making it the dish one that I’ve never had before and probably couldn’t find anywhere else. And how could I forget about the fruit? The bright red in the strawberry and the mellow tones in the banana were great to see, but since they were both juicy and fresh, they better addition to taste.
And that was my breakfast, my love for the day that I found in an unexpected location. Maybe that’s not how many of the love stories in your life have happened, but that’s how they go in mine. In your life, you may run into a friend who asks you how the date went. You may let a smile creep across your face and you coyly allude to the magic that just surpassed. Then weeks of dates will quickly ensue. Moments of happiness will be captured in photographs and interactions will be imprinted in your heart only to be replayed in order to relive each glorious time. In my scenario, I’ll run into a friend who asks how the breakfast went. I’ll let a smile creep across my face as I coyly allude to the magic I just ate. Then mornings of brunches will quickly ensue. And moments of deliciousness will be captured in photographs and encounters will be imprinted on tens of receipts of all the days I fell in love Myke’s Cafe as if it were the first time, every time.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Cool decor
- Street parking only