Friday, August 29, 2008

Fix Coffee - Echo Park

I love living in Echo Park. We moved here from Silver Lake back in October, a few days before we found out I was pregnant. One of my favorite things about Echo Park is the true collective appreciation you sense when new cafes and restaurants open up in our still up-and-coming neighborhood.

There have been a slew of openings in the past few months with The Park (love it!), Lot 1 (before Josef Centeno left), and the soon-to-be-opened Two Boots. We thought 15, which has received much attention and is just down the street from us, was boring, overrated, and seriously mediocre. Too bad, as it seemed to have much potential.

Fix Coffee just opened this past week and, sure enough, it's already a community hub. Max went for morning coffee yesterday and then the three of us went for afternoon coffee. We weren't sure of their hours as their website is still under construction (c'mon guys, add at least the phone # and hours!) but we decided to head down the hill around 5pm to see if they were still open.

There were local moms and toddlers hanging out on the patio, people working on their laptops, curious locals eager to try the gelato and coffees, and even one of our favorite yoga teachers. It was bustling.

What a great space Marc, the owner, has created in the most odd location up the street on Echo Park Avenue. Modern, with dark woods and bright orange, the space is spare yet warm, probably due to Marc and his manager's enthusiasm. Marc introduced himself to us, said hi to Nate and quickly made our cappuccinos.

What am I most excited about? First of all, they are not messing around with the coffee. Even my decaf, non-fat cappuccino was superb and Max, ever the picky coffee snob, was equally impressed. The pastries, from Susina, are hard to resist but resist we did! The kind folks at Fix will even order Susina stuff for you if you don't want to make the schlep to La Brea.

The paninis offered included brie with pear, tomato and white cheddar, and gypsy salami and provolone. They also have a few salads, which were sold out by the time we were there. The gelato, which Marc insisted we try, was dangerous. Usually the short drive to Pazzo successfully prevents us from indulging but this may be irresistible. He gets it from a friend in Michigan (Palazzolo's?) and is eager to share tastes with his customers.

Most importantly, Fix is very baby-friendly with a big outdoor patio (more landscaping to come) and low-key Echo Park vibe. I'm certain the three of us will be spending many more mornings, afternoons, and evenings at Fix.

Fix Coffee
2100 Echo Park Avenue

Reservation for Three - Me, You, and Baby

Our lives changed in countless ways when Tater was born back at the end of May. In addition to sleepless nights, non-stop diaper changes, and every other facet of new parenthood, the way we ate changed dramatically. Our home became "The Land of Cold Dinners" since Tater had an uncanny ability to wake up and cry the moment we sat down to eat.

And eating out? An ever-evolving adventure as Tater continues to change. Back in June, we could eat anywhere, enjoy leisurely meals as he peacefully slept hour after hour. Now that he's almost three months old, our meals have become slightly less peaceful. It's a gamble now. Sometimes he's asleep, dead to the world and we get "what a good baby!" compliments from other diners. Other times though, he is fussy throughout our whole meal, which means we take turns holding him while we quickly finish our meals.

Reservation for Three is going to be a place for me to jot down and share our experiences at LA's restaurants with baby in tow. In addition to general reviews of new and existing places in LA, I'll cover all of those newly desirable restaurant elements:

- Is it loud? Or, if Tater starts screaming will other diners hear him?
- Are babies welcomed? Accommodated? Accepted? Merely tolerated?
- How does the stroller or car seat fit in the available seating arrangement?
- How is breastfeeding handled?
- Did the staff adequately fawn over Tater? Ok, this isn't essential, but always appreciated!
- As he starts eating real food we'll be interested to know how restaurants handle baby/toddler requests.

My hope is that Reservation for Three will be a resource for other parents who are unwilling to stop dining out just because there's a baby in the picture. Join us as we experience LA's dining landscape as a party of three!