Five Reasons to Dine in Highland Park

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York Boulevard is home to a growing array of boutiques, art galleries, bars, smoke shops and record stores. However, my favorite pastime in Highland Park—as it is in many other places—is eating. With a variety of sweet and savory dining establishments, York Boulevard is the perfect place to indulge in off-campus eats.

1) It is walking distance from Occidental’s campus.

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Although many people choose to drive to places like Four Cafe or the former Ocxy Mart, there are nine restaurants and cafes on York Boulevard within just half a mile of campus. Save the gas and take a stroll!

2) It is the only place where one can find gourmet donuts, ice cream, French brunch delicacies and Mexi-Cali cuisine, among others, in a one-block radius.

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A prime example of this culinary fusion is The Highland Cafe. The homey cafe serves breakfast and lunch all day, with signature dishes such as the Chilaquiles Rojo Burrito: two scrambled eggs, lightly fried; crispy corn tortillas chips layered in red chili sauce and topped with sour cream; queso fresco, cilantro, red onions and avocado, all wrapped in a warm sun-dried tomato tortilla. Another classic is the Pollo de Padre Sandwich with blackened chicken, grilled bell peppers and sliced avocado topped with homemade chipotle aioli on a toasted housemade parmesan focaccia bun.

3) The people watching is prime.

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Some observations from a recent dining excursion include a pack of young adults swathed in black, toddlers holding bulldogs on leashes, and a crowd wearing cowboy hats and Confederate flag T-shirts. It is still not clear whether a couple that was seated next to me was famous.

4) The prices are well below the Los Angeles standard.

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At Ba restaurant, one can order the “quiche of the day” for just $10, while Town Pizza offers a full pie for $13. Donut Friend’s prices range from $2.50-$4.

5) Diners will never be left with an unsatisfied sweet tooth.

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LOS ANGELES, CA. - NOVEMBER 12, 2013: Elsa's Bakery on York Boulevard in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park has a new owner Edmundo Rodriguez who spruced up the place on November 12, 2013. Previous owners Manuel Vargas, 83, and his wife Elsy Vargas, 82, visited their former bakery. Also shots of the park let which is helping to spruce up York Street.(Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)
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With Elsa’s Bakery, Scoops and Donut Friend within 50 feet of one another, explorers of York Boulevard’s dining scene must always make room for dessert. These three options will fulfill the desires of any type of dessert palate: the pastry lover, the “fruit-as-dessert” types, and the eclectic ice cream enthusiast.

Photos included are from Café de Leche, Highland Cafe, Ba Restaurant, Town Pizza, Elsa’s Bakery, and Donut Friend—all located on York Boulevard in Highland Park.