If you love cake–I’m talking really, really good cake–then chances are if you haven’t already fallen over backwards after tasting one from Sweet Lady Jane, you’ve at least heard the stories about the exquisite not-too-sweet sweetness of an SLJ cake. And after more than 20 years hidden in that little shoebox of a shop on Melrose, Jane Lockhart & co. have opened an adorable corner cafe in Santa Monica.
Located on the corner of 17th and Montana, the place is larger than the original (kinda hard not to be) with a handful of tables and chairs out on the sidewalk. (Trust, they come in handy during peak hours at lunch and on weekends.) As expected, everything is just so charming. From the beds of rosemary outside the huge glass window that gives passersby a great view of the pastry chef decorating cakes to the chartreuse-colored velvet banquette that lines one of the walls, this is the kind of place that I’d bring my grandmother to as well as a friend who’s visiting from Paris. (The latter of which I actually did. Grandma’s still waiting for her turn.)
Thankfully, the cafe opens before the work day starts (6:30am daily) and actually stays open well past almost everything else on this sleepy stretch. (The hours on the website say 11:30pm Thursday-Saturday, but last time I was there the server told me they were open til midnight. It’s one of those things where it simply depends on the evening and how busy it actually is). Of course, it wouldn’t be a true cafe if there weren’t some savory items on the menu and SLJ does those up just as well as the sugary stuff. There are salads, soups, sandwiches–the chicken curry sandwich (pictured above) is my favorite, but the gooey grilled cheese on toasted, buttery, fluffy brioche is right up there–and brunch on the weekends.
But really, it’s those incredibly delicious and beautiful cakes–the Triple Berry Shortcake is practically a celebrity itself–along with an eye-boggling array of desserts that really keep calling me back for more. And best of all, everything is made right there on the premises. Made-from-scratch croissants (a very close second to those found at FarmShop just a neighborhood away in the Brentwood Country Mart), pies of almost every fruit imaginable, cupcakes, danishes, cookies of every persuasion, chocolate mousse tacos. How sweet it is.
More info: www.sweetladyjane.com