Saturday was our last day in Los Angeles and it was by far the most beautiful. The sun was shining and it was 25C and we got to do what we haven't been able to do for MONTHS here in southern Ontario - eat brunch on a patio!

M Cafe is a cheerful Macrobiotic restaurant with two homes in Los Angeles: one on Melrose and one in Beverly Hills. Our initial plan was to hit up the one in the 90210 while on the way to Santa Monica, but we had visited Beverly Hills the afternoon before and were a wee bit intimidated by the scenery. So, we opted for the Melrose location instead.

Actually, we picked Melrose because we were very hungry, it was closer to our hotel, and being that it was Saturday brunch and I didn't know what kind of crowds to expect, it had the greater patron capacity and a bigger patio. We did NOT avoid Beverly Hills because of a paralyzing fear of somehow hitting a 1.7 million dollar car and having to sell our house in order to pay for the damages.

Eating on patios is not something we take for granted here at home. The physical embodiment of the old adage about the little things in life meaning the most, we Canadians relish the days that we can eat our sandwiches at wobbly little plastic tables in the sun. There is a short, glorious window of time each year when this is a physical possibility and it certainly does not occur anywhere near March 5.

Jealousy certainly reared its ugly head on that little cement patio, as I thought of all of the little cement patios back home, buried under snow and sleet and salt and ice.

And then again when our delicious and attractive and innovative food was brought out to that little cement patio. I can't believe Los Angelans get to eat like this all the time!

Carolina-Style BBQ Seitan Sandwich
From the menu: Thinly sliced grilled seitan basted with our own zesty barbeque sauce and piled high on a house-baked whole wheat bun with grilled onions, pickles and creamy coleslaw

The Big Macro
From the menu: Whole grain brown rice & vegetable burger, special sauce, lettuce, soy mozzarella, tomato, pickles, onion, and sprouts on a house-baked whole wheat bun

To my knowledge, prior to visiting M Cafe, I had never been to a macrobiotic restaurant and I didn't even really know what macrobiotic was. To be honest, I still don't really know. However, the focus is on plant-based foods and that which is fresh and in season (which, in Calfornia, seems to be everything? All the time?).

However, they do serve some fish, so order carefully.

(As a funny aside, all the mock meats available in L.A. restaurants have messed with our brains - now back at home, we see commercials advertising a "chicken" something or a "steak" something and we keep thinking it's vegan!)

And because calories don't count when you're on vacation, we thought it was okay to have dessert at brunch. Before noon. Because M Cafe carries Babycakes cupcakes! I got the Chocolate. Paul got the Gluten-Free Red Velvet. Both were amazing, but I definitely snuck more than my fair share of bites from the Red Velvet.

My love affair with Babycakes began three years ago, with a vanilla cupcake on a hot summer afternoon in New York City (when my travel mates obliged my insanity by wandering all over SoHo looking for the bakery). My desk at work is armed with a Babycakes mug that I drink out of daily, but before M Cafe I hadn't had an actual Babycakes cupcake since that August afternoon and since M Cafe I have been wondering about the current Toronto-to-NYC flight fares.

I also wonder if M Cafe would consider a southern Ontario location? Even without the year-round patio, I sure could use some more Big Macros in my life.

M Cafe de Chaya
7119 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 525-0588
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 9:00am - 10:00pm, Sunday 9:00 am-9:00 pm


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