Tomas Cafe & Gallery, noted on NBC LA for their take on the classic Mexican breakfast dish chilaquiles, staffs a legion of chefs and baristas who craft inventive breakfast and lunch dishes from local ingredients paired with coffeehouse drinks. In addition to brewing their own blend of coffee, the baristas furnish empty hands with mugs full of latte or cappuccino. Guest dine within the restaurant’s vibrant dining room, which is decked out in neon pink and bright yellow walls speckled with local artwork. Natural light floods the interior, breathing life into overhanging palm trees, which are rumored to steal succulent cinnamon rolls while diners aren't looking.
At Java Joe's, guests sip freshly made coffee drinks and graze baked goods, rummage through a collection of eclectic clothing and merchandise, and tap toes to live tunes. Baristas blend aromatic shots of espresso with frothy milk riddled with chocolaty notes to create a 16- or 20-ounce café mocha ($3.85–$4.25). Utilitarian cups of joe ($1.95 for 16 oz.; $2.25 for 20 oz.) fill mugs for on-the-go sippers and bulk beans ($13.95/lb.) allow customers to bring robust flavors and caffeine-jolts home. Pluck a pastry from a bakery filled with treats, such as scones ($2.45), chocolate-filled croissants ($2.95), and cheesecakes ($3.75) that quench food cravings and hush grumbling tummies like a swallowed Paul Simon 8-track.
More than 70 varieties of baked goods erupt with aromas from the Siblings Bakery ovens every day. Passersby catch whiffs of snickerdoodles, apple bars, and crumbly scones, then stop in and find artfully decorated cupcakes and soft cranberry-orange muffins. The bakery is home to an expert cake designer who has been in the business for more than 35 years. With the bakery's help, visitors solicit a custom 3-D wedding cake. They can also bring in a photo of a cherished friend, relative, or cake to be reproduced atop a brand-new cake.
U Yogurt’s charming, spacious interior welcomes sweet cravers with a banquet of deliciously frosted frozen-yogurt flavors and more than 30 fresh toppings ($0.39/ounce). Guests can decipher secret messages on the mosaic-adorned serving-station walls while a nonfat-chocolate or nondairy-mango-sorbet treat swirls delicately into a waiting bowl or open mouth. Seasonal flavors such as eggnog and pistachio rotate through the fun-to-use dispensers, complementing old favorites such as tart and vanilla. Customers adorn their frosty treats with an array of edible accouterments, from crushed peanuts to Reese’s peanut-butter bits to blackberries. After settling onto cozy green benches, dairy delighters can gander at the California scenes on the walls or carve complete models of the PCH into their yogurt mountains.
Diverting time, energy, and money from doctor-hood to open a little café may seem like madness to some, but that's exactly how Crazy Dr. Café earned its name. After growing to depend on fresh, organic coffees and smoothies for on-the-go energy, a physician at Ventura County Medical Center bought out the neighborhood’s old Juice and Java and expanded the menu with healthful options.
Piping-hot mugs of organic, locally grown coffee and espresso still fuel the army of doctors and nurses who inhabit the café’s surrounding medical facilities. When not crafting flavorful coffee drinks, baristas send fresh fruits and vegetables through juicers or blenders to create smoothies or liquid meals that busy hospital staffers can consume through discarded IVs. Empanadas and bagels also lurk within the eatery’s pastry case, and breads, cheeses, meats, and fruits assemble together to create fresh, gourmet sandwiches.
The Cottage on Main greets early risers and midday meanderers alike with a menu that includes many locally acquired ingredients and coffee roasted weekly in Ventura. Start the day off right by sipping on an americano ($2–$3), a Red Eye ($2–$3), or a chai-tea latte ($3–$3.50) instead of car-pooling by filling a neighbor’s convertible with water. Patrons can pair a lid-opening libation with the Sunshine bagel, painted with cream cheese, egg, a choice of turkey or ham, and cheese ($3.75), or the Sparrows Nest sandwich—a toasted bagel splattered with pesto spread, artichoke hearts, tomato, and cheese ($5.25). The beverage depot also proffers fresh-fruit smoothies ($3.75–$4.25), such as the strawberry-banana, the mixed berry, or the Hurricane, which features a blend of strawberry, banana, Red Bull, and delicious lightning bolts.