Lunch at Homegirl Cafe in Downtown Los Angeles
I recently spent a full day in downtown Los Angeles. I mapped out several places I wanted to visit from FIDM to The Last Bookstore to the American Apparel factory store. First on the list was lunch at Homegirl Café, which is part of Homeboy Industries. I have seen their chips and salsa in Ralph’s grocery stores and I’ve also met several of their clients at various Farmer’s Markets around town. But this was my first visit to their bakery and café.
I was greeted by my server Glenda, which was funny since I had just seen OZ the day before, so we shared a laugh that her name was like Glinda the Good Witch. This young lady was beautiful and so sweet, she did not look like the type to be involved in gangs. Homegirl’s slogan is girls serving tables not serving time. Love it. I started with their roasted white sweet corn off the cob followed by a wonderful shredded chicken sandwich on a Homeboy Bakery ciabatta with a fresh salad. I almost ordered the mango agua fresca but then their special house-blend coffee caught my eye: made with cinnamon and dried orange peels. Mmmmm…
I was very touched and humbled by my visit to Homegirl Café. Lunch was top-notch and the portions were so plentiful I had a full dinner that night with the leftovers. Looking at the young ladies working the busy dining room, I thought of how easy it is for teenagers to get involved in the wrong crowd. I was no angel, but I did have loving parents and a mother strict enough to tell me if I got caught out after curfew, I could just plan on staying the night in jail. I knew she meant it and I was never home late. For those kids without such guidance, Father Gregory Boyle founded this worthy organization which “assists at-risk and formerly gang-involved young women and men to become contributing members of our community.”