Cafe Habana Malibu, CA






One of the best signs of the seasons changing in New York was eating dinner outside at Cafe Habana To Go with Aaron, Heron, Tyler, David and whomever else was down for the ride. Dinner on their outdoor patio ran you around 10 dollars for a sandwich (the pork, and avocado and cheese were my favorites) and a split order of corn. On special occasions we would get a Jarritos. It was one of my favorite places to eat if only for the walk to and from Grand street… laughing the whole time. 

The Balthazaar benches were the best place for birdwatching during the day and Cafe Habana To Go’s outdoor patio was the best place at night. That block was such a popular thoroughfare, that some nights I stayed home for fear of too many awkward social interactions. The great thing about New York is you never know who you are going to run into. The not so great thing about New York is that you never know who you are going to run into, but that is only if you are prone to bouts of social anxiety. I was and still am.

When I heard they opened a Cafe Habana Malibu , I still lived in New York. At that time, I was still conditioned to think that everything in Los Angeles was wack. Then I heard it was started by Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber. Did this enterprising night club owner think because he was married to Cindy Crawford he could take our seasonal sandwich spot and move it to Malibu and recreate that magic?

Well, Rande, I guess I am biased. I refused to eat at your Habana for almost two years of living in Los Angeles. In late July I had a bite of someone’s takeout rice, and it was good. Really buttery. Made me want some more. With my palette wetted I was pulled over to Cafe Habana Malibu on Labor Day weekend.

When I arrived at Cafe Habana Malibu, the hostess told us the wait would be twenty minutes. She said she would have to “see what she could do.” We came back twenty minutes later and she said it would be an hour. I asked how it went from twenty minutes to an hour. She didn’t really have an answer. She seemed annoyed with me for asking the question. I stood my ground and waited for her to say something. She didn’t. I said, “Weren’t you going to see what you could do?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “So did you see what you could do?” She said, “No.” Then I started to get annoyed and asked, “Well should we just leave?” She didn’t really respond. I was kind of flabbergasted. Usually a hostess would say, “No don’t leave we will figure something out.” I should have left. I didn’t. 

We ended up making our own table. I think this was also a burden on the hostess, but again WE made our own table. Another great thing about New York is you learn to take matters into your own hands if you want to get something done.

The waitress couldn’t have been nicer. Everybody was happy with there food, but me. I misordered. I went for the queso fundido. I was hoping for a gooey cheese and chorizo sauce to lather on top of my tortillas. What I got was a melted brick of jack with a dollop of chorizo on top. It was like the pizza they ate on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Rande Gerber and I probably wouldn’t arrive at the same conclusions after taking a cultural anthropology class. We also don’t make the same business decisions. Then again I am broke and he isn’t.  That being said, we rarely run into each other out at dinner and he doesn’t know who I am. So it never gets awkward. 

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