Most cafés draw a feather or a leaf in the foam on the top of your latte. Flying Saucers Caffeine and Art puts a little gray alien design on top instead. It also offers art installations that rotate on a regular basis, a cozy darkness and one of the most inviting premises of any café since the Onyx/Sequel. It's not the easiest place to find — if you're not looking for it, you'll drive right past — but when you do find it, it's as though you've traveled back in time to those halcyon late-'80s days when a coffeehouse was brimming with potential, somewhat secret and not overrun by people with unruly expectations of art and commerce. The pastries are huge, the baristas are knowledgeable about their strong hot coffees, and it's up the street from Vidiots. Why UFOs? There are some mysteries in the universe that were never meant to be solved. 306 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 868-8361, —David Cotner

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