This Sunday at 7:20 a.m., a large group of fairly healthy people will begin running from Dodger Stadium to the beach. We here at Squid Ink are supportive of exercise, but in as much as we like to observe it while sitting down with a beverage and a plate of food (see: March Madness). Fortunately, this year's marathon route happens to go past quite a few cafés and restaurants with outdoor seating, and we've whittled the list down down to the best of the best. So get up early, stretch properly, then plant yourself in one of these chairs and watch other people sweat.
The Griddle Café: What better way to watch the marathon than over a stack of pancakes our own Mr. Gold described as “…so large that it looks like a movie prop, like three large pizzas piled on top of one another and smothered in powdered sugar…”? Well, things in the universe must eventually balance out. Thus, when so many calories will be evaporating around you into thin air, it is your responsibility to consume as many as possible, ideally, in pancake form.
The Griddle Café: 7916 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 874-0377.
Opens at 8 AM
Intelligentsia: If a 400-pound brick of sugar and flour isn't what you're looking for in the morning, maybe a croissant and a really nice cup of coffee will do the trick. Intelligentsia cooks up some of the best brew in the city, so even if you show up a little late and can't grab an outside table, you can always get your caffeine to-go and stand on the street.
Intelligentsia: 3922 West Sunset Boulevard, Silverlake, (323) 663-6173.
Opens at 6 AM
Casbah Café: The other option, just a stone's throw away from Intelligentsia, is Casbah Café. The coffee may not be as heralded, but there are more food options and, in case it appeals to you, some Moroccan decor. It's also the perfect opportunity to embrace the hipster equivalent of being a gladiatorial spectator in ancient Rome: sipping an Americana in Silverlake and eating a strawberry tart while watching lesser mortals exert themselves.
Casbah Café: 3900 Sunset Blvd., Silverlake, (323) 664-7000.
Opens at 6:30 AM
Aroma Bakery Café: You may never get the chance to watch the Tel-Aviv Marathon, so watching the Los Angeles version from Aroma Bakery Café's outdoor patio may be the closest you'll ever get. You can enjoy your coffee with a plate of challah French toast, some eggs and feta cheese–or really whatever the heck you want–from their fairly extensive breakfast menu.
Aroma Bakery Café: 7373 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, (323) 850-8120.
Opens at 7 AM
Coral Tree Café: The restaurant had a nasty fire back in 2008 and had to shut down for a year. They're back in full swing now, having even hosted a panini competition and fundraiser in January. This is good news for you, as while the runners head further west, you can simply meet them in Brentwood over cappuccinos and organic egg scrambles.
Coral Tree Café: 11645 San Vicente Boulevard, Brentwood, (310) 979-8733.
Opens at 7 AM
Blue Plate Oysterette: You may not catch the Kenyans crossing the finish line when they open at 11:30, but Blue Plate Oysterette is right by the end of the course, and you'll still be able to see most of the other runners passing by while you slurp down oysters, munch lobster rolls and perhaps even knock back a few cold ones. Not a bad way to celebrate.
Blue Plate Oysterette: 1355 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, (310) 576-3474.
Opens at 11:30 AM
Sanam Luang Café: Let's be honest. Not everybody goes to bed early on a Saturday night so that they can drink coffee and watch the L.A. Marathon at 7:30 in the morning. Some of us will be out drinking alcohol, then wake up hung over and feel like our brains have been removed, dried out in the sun like beef jerky, then vacuum sealed and returned to our skulls. If that's the case, don't fret– we've got you covered too. Head to Sanam Luang Café when they open at 10:30, order a steaming bowl of noodles, then sit back and watch the world slowly come back into focus. You also don't have to worry about marathoners moving too quickly and making you nauseous– by that point the only ones left will be those walking. If you're really late, then show up to find that everyone is already gone, you can always head over to Jumbo's Clown Room, just down the street. The people there are sort of exercising too.
Sanam Luang Café: 5176 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, (323) 660-8006.
Opens at 10:30 AM