Malibu Kitchen

It's a place of interesting characters and good food.

Full disclosure. I am biased toward the cuisine, cooking and ambiance of  because I go there—every day. And some days, I spend all day there, tap tap tapping away on my laptop, listening to Nilsson, Earth Wind and Fire, Sinatra and Michael Jackson, watching the world go by—and sometimes eating breakfast and/or lunch.

I am sitting at the picnic table right now, at 11:49 a.m., writing this piece with a 3 p.m. deadline. It's lunchtime, but there are men on both sides of me talking business.

The parking lot in front of me looks like a Concourse d'Elegance, except for that graffiti-covered white van, of course.

A tall, pale guy with stringy hair who looks exactly like Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show just walked by, walking a poodle.

Malibu Kitchen starts early and closes early (6 p.m. closure, so no dinner for you, although there is no rule against taking it home for dinner), and I usually get there between 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.—depending on deadlines. Writers are creatures of habit, and I have trouble working anywhere else.

For breakfast, I get a cup of coffee and a half-priced, day-old muffin. I prefer the corn muffins because cornbread and beans were the staple diet of the pioneers—and I am a patriot. Occasionally, there is a chocolate muffin left over in the day-old bin—like today, yay. From time to time, I will splurge and pay $3.95 for one of those freshly baked cinnamon/raisin buns that are still soft on the inside.

All of the baked goods come from the kitchen in the back of Malibu Kitchen, which is an amazing feat—kind of like clowns piling in a midget car at the circus.

And if I really go nuts, I get the Broadway and 80th Special—named in honor of Zabar's in New York City: smoked salmon on a for-real H&H bagel with capers, onions and tomatoes.

So good, you just want to stare at it, and it brings out the Billy Crystal in Princess Bride: "Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT: A mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky. I love that."

Malibu Kitchen is open for breakfast with muffins and egg dishes and bagels until around 10:30 or so, when they close the kitchen for lunch. The other day, Station 88 firefighter Gene Rink came for breakfast, but was a little late, and had to settle for lunch. His stomach was disappointed. He said, "There must be a word for that."

I said, "There is now. Omelletedown."

So Gene was disappointed by not being able to have breakfast, but he had lunch instead, and there is a large selection.

Full disclosure, the owner Bill Miller feels sorry for my plight as an eternally struggling writer, and will sometimes throw me a big plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy. See the Billy Crystal quote above. So good. Especially in the winter after being in the ocean for a couple hours, and I am cold and hungry. That meatloaf hits the spot.

When I'm actually paying for lunch, I often get a third-pound of the sliced tri-tip, with a bagel dipped in meatloaf gravy. That’s the ME special. Cue Billy Crystal.

But there are many other wonders that come hot and cold from behind the deli. Great sandwiches. The tuna melt? How could a tuna melt be that good? And I am not just speaking for myself. I sit at the picnic table all day and hear citizens and civilians ooh and ahh about the food: sandwiches, pulled pork and salads.

This all falls under the heading of "comfort food," and a lot of people find it comforting. As I sit there, day after day, listening in on conversation, I have heard this too much for it not to be true: "This could be the best food in Malibu."

So, I am biased, but I also have the daily affirmations of people who come from all over Los Angeles and the world to eat at Malibu Kitchen. They love the joint. Bill Miller and his crew of Merry Men and Women take great care to bring the best of breakfast and lunch, and make it available to busy people and people who want to relax.

And speaking of Billy Crystal, one of the regulars, Rocco Urbisci, is a producer who has worked with Billy Crystal, George Carlin and most of the great comedians of the last 30 years. Rocco is sitting next to me and watching as I type this, and chimed in, "I have had a cold for a week, but the chicken soup has cured me. I am healed! Tell people Bill is the Florence #$^%!#^ Nightingale of Malibu."

Regarding the ambiance, I could write a book, or a pretty good sitcom that would fall somewhere between Seinfeld and Sanford and Son. It would be fun to capture all the comings and goings around Malibu Kitchen.

There is a fair bit of Hollywood coming into Malibu Kitchen. Lots of celebrities, paparazzi, characters and drama—all entertaining. This is Malibu, and this is the Kitchen.

Malibu Kitchen is located in Malibu Country Mart at 3900 Cross Creek Road, Suite 3.

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