Where: Moonlight Coffee & amp; Tea, 345 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024 (Moonlight Plaza)
Open: daily 06:30 – 14:00
What: Blend of infusions roasted by La Costa Coffee
Price: $ 2.55 for 12 ounces
What I’m listening to: Izaak Opatz, “Drunk in the plane”
Late in the morning, I drive into the Moonlight Plaza car park just north of the iconic Encinitas sign that stretches over Coast Highway 101. Moonlight Coffee & amp; The tea is the latest addition to around 20 other cafes, coffee roasters, and coffee carts that are already calling this 3.5-mile stretch of asphalt that includes the home of Encinitas and Leucadia.
I didn’t know it yet when I entered the small whitewashed building with a blue roof and trim, but there was a whirlwind inside. Victoria, the owner, is a force of nature.
Honestly, I’m surprised the cafe can accommodate it.
Inside is a cake counter filled with locally sourced carbs that makes me wish I was hungry. Behind me in the corner is a fridge with cold drinks tucked away. On the right is a coffee machine, and on the left wall, a handwritten menu on the blackboard spills over to the second blackboard.
Vintage coffee cans fill a shelf that wraps under the ceiling, and directly above them is a chandelier of colorful coffee mugs. There are no lights in the chandelier.
I order a cup of black coffee, which is without a doubt the cheapest (price-wise) cup of coffee I have had in, I don’t know, three years? Then I asked Victoria: “How did you get here?” and in a short time I learned the following:
As I said, the force of nature. This is a small cafe with a lot of personality. I take my coffee outside and is faced with the difficult decision of figuring out where to sit.
Just outside the entrance are tall tables and chairs underneath a whale painting, and a few others gaze at palm trees waving over the highway. Even more chairs are near the new bike rack, and behind the cafe there are low tables and chairs that offer the right combination of sun and shade at this time of day.
I sip my coffee and look at my hands. It’s a very Californian experience. Even though there is not much traffic across the square, I can feel the energy radiating from the cafe behind me. A few locals with their dogs sit closer to the cafe entrance, overseeing the paint crew for the car park lines, while the team from the neighboring Piña restaurant prepares to open for lunch.
Moonlight Coffee and Tea is in the same center as The Coast News and at one point one of my very mustachioed * mates comes up and says, “Hi. Howzit?