Lately I’ve really been falling in love with Malibu. This beach town that seems isolated from the rest of LA, easy to dismiss as an enclave of affluence and snobbery, truly offers more than meets the eye. Of course it is an absolutely beautiful place to be, and when I drive up the PCH, each time I turn a corner and see a breathtaking vista of hills and ocean, I am reminded that yes, there is some natural beauty to be found in this sprawling, smoggy city. I know we are very lucky to live in a place with perfect year-round weather and a long stretch of Pacific coastline, but I do think it’s easy to forget how lovely this city can be when you’re driving back and forth to Hollywood or Downtown every day, staring at taillights on the 10 or construction on La Brea. The drive up to Malibu is free, and it’s really a welcome retreat. Another thing I love about Malibu is that it’s actually quite eclectic. Certainly, Malibu is home to Nobu and Geoffrey’s and the swank Malibu Country Mart, the most luxurious mall I’ve ever visited. But Malibu is also home to Cholada Thai and Malibu Seafood, two wonderful casual dining spots with beach shack vibes and relatively cheap, delicious eats. I love that over the span of one lazy afternoon spent lounging, reading, surreptitiously people watching outside of the excellent Cafecito Organico, one will probably spot at least two celebs, most likely sipping a juice or a smoothie from the popular health food spot Sun Life Organics, followed by a bunch of shoeless teenagers eating breakfast burritos from Lily’s, followed by a couple of crazy people screaming about the day's headlines. You will probably witness someone trying to get his or her script to one of the celebs, and a really hot, expensively swathed mom striking up a conversation and planning to meet up later with a young aspiring model guy. I have had a couple of delightfully strange afternoons eating my dragon bowl from Sun Life and watching it all go down.
But this is a blog about cheap eats, and I am not going to suggest that you shell out $10 or more for a Sun Life smoothie (even though I do think they’re worth it). Instead, I have a Malibu offering that will never break the bank and always over-deliver. Country Kitchen is a roadside walk-up counter under a blue awning that serves breakfast burritos all day, and you will be blown away by the deliciousness of these $5 burritos. On my first venture to Country Kitchen I ordered the burrito with egg, cheese and potatoes, and added avocado and salsa. Boy did I get a pleasant surprise when I bit into my burrito to find that the potatoes were in fact some sort of hash brown incorporated into the filling. The result was a salty, slightly spicy, eggy, cheesy, crunchy, savory breakfast of the Gods. The salsa is perhaps not spicy enough for my fiery tastes, but it is flavorful and chunky and the big pieces of tomato add a needed freshness to the burrito. The creamy avocado is the perfect foil to the crunchy potato.
There is something respectable, I think, about the fact that this place is selling coffee that is considerably worse than anything I have had off the free beverage cart on an airplane. I wouldn’t recommend buying the coffee, but I like that Country Kitchen does not have one bit of snobbishness about it. It is a legit beach shack with some old school, homestyle eats. They also offer burgers, grilled cheeses, etc. It may stick to your ribs, and you may want to wait until after you hit the beach to hit Country Kitchen. But some things are just worth a calorie splurge. And for $5, you will be full and happy for quite some time.
Incidentally, it was a student who originally suggested Country Kitchen to me, and when my husband first tasted his breakfast burrito there, he proclaimed that whoever told me about this place should get his Golden Aleph (a prize we award students with much ado when they learn every letter and vowel in the Hebrew alphabet). That’s an endorsement!