Mary's Kitchen, that is.
The first thing, of course, is it's not called Mary's Kitchen. It was, a few years ago, for a little while, but the cafe/bakery/deli that went into the Cross Creek shopping center soon changed its name to Malibu Kitchen. Nice and local. And a wee bit loco, too.
Malibu Kitchen has really good, really strong coffee. They've got the best blueberry muffins on earth. They bake amazing cupcakes, stock a great deli counter, and serve a pulled pork sandwich (served with a layer of homemade coleslaw on top of the warm, savory meat) that's so succulent, entire tables of diners go utterly silent as they eat.
Not so silent are the people who have run afoul of Malibu Kitchen's - ummm, well, eccentric service. If you're a bold-faced name you won't know what I'm talking about. If you're just some ordinary customer, though, chances are you have a story to tell. Like the woman who tried to order the turkey sandwich without the cranberry mustard, and was told no. No mustard? No sandwich.
Or the man who had the bad luck to try to get served on the very day Jerry Seinfeld was quoted in the LA Times talking about the Malibu Kitchen. The owner refused to look up from the newspaper, refused to wait on the guy. Or the time a neighbor tried to buy a tray of cupcakes only to have the owner say no, she couldn't buy that many, and then ripped the tray right out of her hands. In fact, there are so many stories about the - ummm, well, eccentric service at the Malibu Kitchen, it became the hot topic of a fairly large New Year's Eve party last week.
And still we all go back. It's an indie business, after all. The food is great. Celeb sightings are reliable. And for all those displaced New Yorkers living here in Malibu, separated from the big city vibe by so much mellow sunshine, it's like a cranky taste of home.