I rarely have the occasion to visit Long Beach these days. It’s a shame because I find it to be quite the charming town – lots to do, lots of beach, lots of gay. But when I do visit, like I did this past Wednesday to see a show at Cal State Long Beach, I always make it a point to visit the At Last Cafe, a cozy little place serving up irresistible comfort food.
Now when I say cozy, I mean there are barely more than 20 seats in this place, which is kind of perfect considering it’s decorated to feel like you’re sitting in your mother’s kitchen. And honestly that’s pretty much how it feels, too: friendly staff, intimate setting, always packed at dinner time. It even has free wifi so you can sit with your iPad and be totally important and LA. But we all know that the only thing that can really keep a restaurant alive and full is the food and THAT is the real reason one should come here.
If you’ve been reading my blog for the past several weeks you know I’ve been rather committed to my bootcamp regimen. I’ve been dropping weight like crazy and it feels fantastic…. but for a rare occasion at a restaurant like this I had to splurge just a little. For an appetizer I got their grilled polenta with portabella mushrooms – crispy polenta triangles with a rich, beefy mushroom sauce. Honestly I could have just eaten this for my main meal and I would have been more than happy. I’ve been dying to try their stuffed pork chop ever since I discovered the place through DDD in 2010, but alas I couldn’t go *that* far off my path. Instead I got their salmon special, which was crispy pan seared salmon with a caper and tomato sauce – utterly divine. There are few things that make me happier than expertly cooked crispy fish. The two friends I was with got regular menu items. The brick chicken was astounding – half a chicken grilled under a brick until crispy. The meat was tender and flavorful, crispy skin. I would probably drive down to Long Beach just for this. No joke. My other friend got the meatloaf, which I did not sample, but was apparently delicious. I am dying to try their mac and cheese since I am a proudly self-proclaimed mac and cheese whore… but not his time…
Dessert did beckon, wooing us with their homemade butterscotch pudding and some crazy sounding crispy banana thing – but alas, time was of the essence, so we departed without indulging (which, frankly was probably for the best, if only for my waist line).
Now I have to confess I did a little splurgy splurge on this meal so I racked up a bill that was nearly $30. However, all of their regular menu items are under $15 and their lunch is even cheaper. The brick chicken is only $10.50, pork chop $12.50 – totally a steal. This is without question a starving artist venue – atmosphere, price, and quality. If you find yourself in Long Beach, make sure you check it out. If you’re going for dinner a reservation is a must. You will not be disappointed!
At Last Cafe
204 Orange Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802
Click here to read my review on YELP