I went for breakfast, this morning, to a place a couple of neighbors had told me about. It’s a little, and I mean little, diner right off the 126 hwy called the 126 Café. They said it had a lot of history and had been around for something like 40 years and that they had one of the best breakfasts in town.
126 Café – Wells Rd Exit off the 126 – Ventura
First off, this place is tiny. They have the old school diner bar and maybe ten booths. I pretty much had to play twister to get my ass in the door because of the people coming and going. Their front entrance is also home to the cash register and a table they squeezed in, so there is very little room to get by. I’m not sure who would want to eat at that table because you’d pretty much be eating next to butts and crotches.
They had two girls waiting tables and a cook in back that kinda reminded me of that In Living Color sketch in the diner with Tommy Davidson. “Pick it up!” Some of you may get that reference the others can go sit at the crotch table.
They are all super friendly and it’s a down-home, kinda-country friendly, not fake I-have-32-pieces-of-flare, Friday’s friendly. They found me a table in the back and I got my customary breakfast chocolate milk.
The place is packed with old photographs of pickers and fruit trees and dozens of long since closed produce companies based out of Santa Paula and Ventura. Very cool stuff. They even had an old train that went around at the top of the wall. You could definitely see the 40 years of history. It also showed in the customers. I was easily the youngest in there besides the help. I’d say the youngest by about 20 years. I’m pretty sure they’d all been here when the place was built and Moses cut the tape. Those old guys are great to talk to. They have tons of stories and they know a lot about the area.
The waitress had to wait ’til this old guy stopped talking to me about USC to break in to get my order. Apparently this guy had gone to USC when Benjamin Franklin first started teaching there. He and this other old schooler started to go at it because the other was a UCLA guy. The waitress was able to get my order while these guys argued the rivalry from all the way back when football was played with a rock and an actual pig.
I ordered the Spanish omelet, hash browns, sausage links, and sourdough toast. I want to start this by saying that I ordered the Spanish omelet because it sounded great. It had salsa, cheese, sour cream and chili. All good stuff.
It was maybe 12 minutes and there was my breakfast. I gotta say the presentation was pretty good. This omelet was so damn fluffy it was beautiful. I’ve never seen an omelet like this before. I can never get my omelets this fluffy at home. Plus, it tasted great. The eggs were perfect, by far the best base omelet I’ve ever had. Now here comes my problem, this was not a real Spanish omelet. The salsa was actually tomatos diced with onions and cilantro. No chili, no spice, just those 3 ingredients. They didn’t give me the sour cream but that’s good because I didn’t need it. It was basically a tomato, onion and cheese omelet. I was really hoping for a thick, hearty salsa. I don’t send things back. Instead I put all my frustrations here.
The omelet was actually very good, it just wasn’t a Spanish omelet. The hash browns were also pretty damn good. They had a crispy outside, nice and golden brown and tender in the middle. The sausage links were the old school pork links, not the little jimmy deans, so they had a great smoky flavor. The toast was toast, and it’s pretty hard to mess that up.
All around, it was a great breakfast. The eggs were outstanding. I just had my heart set on some old school Spanish spice and was a bit bummed that they don’t do a full-on salsa with chili.
I encourage you guys to check this place out. It’s a good piece of Ventura and Santa Paula history. They have an old school diner menu, make all their own deserts and use fresh ingredients. Just make sure you only go with one other person at the most. I’m not sure if more than two people could fit in that place at a time.