The Pittsburgh Food Diaries: Coca Café.

A little over a year ago, I fell in love with Coca Café, a hip little café on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. It’s small and always bustling, but never overwhelming, and the menu offers myriad unique and exciting dishes for both breakfast and lunch. The vintage décor is obvious, but not overbearing. If you were to turn my personalities into a café, it would be this one.

coca_cafe_450The day before we left for vacation, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that, after a series of unexpected events, we had a full day off. (Together. At the same time. This never happens.) We both woke up early that morning; he had an early call time and I needed to start the process of laundry and packing for our 15-day vacation. But he soon called me to say that his shoot had been cancelled, and he’d like to do breakfast at Coca Café. Within two minutes, I was presentable enough to be seen in public, and had already begun drooling over the breakfast I would soon enjoy.

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I ordered my usual, Fried Eggplant Benedict and a coffee, while he ordered the Challah French Toast with fresh-squeezed orange juice. When it arrived, my taste buds were dancing with happiness. The poached egg and fried eggplant sat lightly on top of a toasted English muffin, and basil pesto hollandaise danced across the plate. His breakfast was the sweeter option, with Brie and fig jam smeared generously on top and mixed berries as tangy decoration. We’re always silent at Coca Café because our mouths are preoccupied with eating.

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There’s nothing that I don’t love about this place, aside from the inevitably long wait on the weekends. Still, the wait is worth it. Few places successfully combine surprising, yet refined food choices and vintage décor into a place that looks like your very own kitchen. Without the unwanted piles of dirty dishes waiting for you, that is.

Disclaimer: Coca Café is not on the Best Restaurants 2014 list… but I totally think it should be.

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