A place that's charming for its lack of charm, with décor, menus and prices that make you certain somebody stopped updating things when the San Fernando Valley still had orange groves, Bobby's Coffee Shop is a great breakfast for the cash. And the time-machine feel is worth the 20-minute early–Saturday morning drive to the far west San Fernando Valley from the city, when the freeways are still and L.A. is at its most human. Comfy old booths line the grimy walls, or it's fun to sit at the long counter and watch bacon slinger/head chef Juan put a fabulously greasy crust on a load of homemade hash-browned potatoes. You'll see the typical Valley cross-section, from a local tattoo-parlor operator chowing down, to cost-conscious suburbanites carbing up for the Topanga Mall, to spiky-haired rockers who've yet to get to bed. The cooks make pancakes from scratch and serve nice little tubs of jam, not plastic containers. And a full plate of bacon or sausage, two eggs, hash browns and toast will run you just $6.95. 22821 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 225-1324. —Jill Stewart
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