If you’re travelling to or from the mountains and want a shot of energy, Café de Leche in Highland Park is a deliciously convenient stopping spot. Started in 2010 and thriving in emerging community, this café brings a potent brew and interesting social discussion.
Café de Leche’s flagship drink, horchata con espresso is a unique mixture of a regional beverage and a tried and true favorite bean. The coffee is Stumptown Roasters of Portland, Oregon. If you’re not familiar with Stumptown it is the coffee snob’s consistent favorite. A few espresso shots are mixed with horchata, a sweet rice milk drink with strong cinnamon flavors. Horchata can be traced back through Mexican history to an Aztec origin. The drink is served hot or cold and wonderful either way. If you like traditional drip or tea, both are available and delicious. If you’re in the mood for a buttery croissant or cheesy bagel, they’ve got you covered, but there isn’t a sizeable menu for lunch.
Café con leche is grammatically the correct Spanish, so is the “de” wrong? No. Matt and Anya Schodorf founded Café de Leche. Anya is Nicaraguan and café de leche is a regional idiom. But when the café was first opened, in a largely Hispanic neighborhood, some saw the name as an ignorant abuse of culture. The neighborhood of Highland Park is one of the fastest growing in the county and is used as the example for gentrification. Café de Leche is a relatively hip establishment and it was assumed that this is just a vehicle to bring more hipsters into the neighborhood. The shop is still involved in the gentrification discussion, NPR’s Marketplace recently did a story on it, which is definitely an interesting and necessary dialogue.
The café is located on the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50 in Highland Park. The venue is older with thin white brick and wide windows on the exterior and a modern interior. Seating is available inside and out. Wifi is free, but the place can get busy with local creatives in meetings or work.
What You’ll Remember Really good coffee is what you’ll remember, particularly the Horchata con Espresso if you’re feeling bold. The mood and natural lighting is incredibly pleasant.
Who’s Going To Love It Coffee snobs or tea drinkers can get down at Café de Leche. You’ll love it if youre looking for a jolt before a ride or run, but its also a great spot to caffeinate and recover after a workout. This is a great spot if you’re in the mood to just sit outside and watch people on the street.
Parking, Trailhead, and Hours Located at 5000 York Boulevard (at the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50) in Highland Park. York is a throughway that is easily accessed from the 2 and 110 freeways. Parking is often found in the residential neighborhood behind the shop or York, if you don’t mind paying for a meter. The shop is open from 7a-6p Sunday through Thursday and 7a-7p on Friday and Saturdays. Pricing is quite reasonable.