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The Beach Gourmet: Jinky’s Cafe- Get

Jinky’s Café on 2nd Street in Santa Monica is a bright, fun and somewhat cartoonesque joint specializing in unique American, Southwestern and International fusion breakfast and lunch dishes, and this past weekend I battled the ever-growing throngs of downtown shoppers to pay a visit and sample a much-needed mid-morning breakfast.

After a 15-minute wait (yes, it is a busy place), I managed to commandeer a comfy little spot outside on the covered patio, giving me unobstructed views of the local traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular. The staff here must cover a 1/2 marathon (ever heard of the 1/2 high jump? hmmm) during each shift as they were to- and fro-ing here, there and everywhere, satisfying the demands of a battalion of hungry folk. With a wave of the hand and a wink of the eye, my server was at my side ready with order pad and a welcoming smile that temporarily melted the frenetic activity away into the background.

“And what would you like to drink, today,” opened the line of familiar banter that is so ubiquitous in these “not quite fast but far from slow food” establishments. Well, I was fully prepared and had already chosen my items from the somewhat encyclopedic document that had been presented to me upon arriving at my table (read: a lot of choices).

Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice ($2.25), fresh ground coffee ($1.95) and a tempting Southwestern-inspired concoction named The Santa Fe Scramble (turkey-chicken or vegetarian chorizo, diced green onions, tomatoes, cilantro and corn tortilla strips scrambled with eggs and topped with melted cheddar cheese, served with salsa fresca, pea guacamole and warm tortillas with sour cream, $9.50) was my volition.

Given that it appeared that everyone with a desire for breakfast had chosen Jinky’s that day (had they heard I was coming?), the order-to-table time of 12 minutes was rather impressive, and so I dug into my breakfast entree with eager anticipation.

The portion size was generous, the food was hot and the first taste enlivened my taste buds with a kick and a satisfying palate sensation.

This is a very cool breakfast dish with fresh ingredients, a balanced recipe and just enough spice to give it a Southwestern badge; it sat well with the juice and coffee.

As earlier mentioned, Jinky’s has a large menu with a host of traditional breakfast and lunch items, plus some originals such as an Indian-inspired Bombay Scramble (chopped tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, Serrano chilies and exotic spices with a side of onion marmalade, $7.95) and a list of 20 (yes, 20!) choices of gourmet chili, including a Spicy Mango Chicken and Himalayan Beef that are graded according to the spice factor from one to ten.

Family owned, Jinky’s has all the efficiency of a chain, but the originality and flexibility of an independent. Great food, cool atmosphere and pleasant staff – you might have to wait awhile, but it should be worth it.

Jinky’s Café, 1447 2nd St., 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., 310.441.2483.

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