Want to escape from hardcore trendiness? Then go to Mishi's in San Pedro, where you eat from flower-sprigged china at tables set with lace cloths, where comfortable sofas inspire lounging, where the coffee (fair trade and organic) is so delicious you wish you could spend all your coffee breaks there.
Mishi's specialty is strudel, baked there, with sweet or savory fillings. The best choice is one of each, like cabbage strudel sprinkled with paprika and parsley for a main dish (above) followed by apple strudel with walnuts, raisins and a tantalizing hint of lemon (below).
The list of strudels on the menu is long, but not all are available every day. A sign tells what is on hand.
The flaky, very thin strudel dough used to be made in-house, but American flour has been reconstituted so that it no longer works well for such delicate pastry, they told me. Therefore, Mishi's now uses imported dough.
Symbols on the menu indicate which dishes are traditonal Hungarian specialties and which are "secret family recipes" from owners Aniko and Michael "Mishi" Schueller.
Among these are the poppyseed and cabbage strudels, cabbage pasta, pasta with cottage cheese and bacon or with beef (all made with imported Hungarian pasta) and goulash (at right) with beef, bacon and green peppers.
Like the strudels, crepes (palacsinta) come with either sweet or savory fillings. Those with the traditional Hungarian symbol are filled with fruit jam or chestnut puree.
Mishi's opens at 9 a.m. and so serves breakfast. If you go for lunch, you can explore the shops on the same block. Nautica has seafaring mementoes, and The Grand Emporium's frilly decorative accessories include cakes that look so real you may try to sneak a taste only to find, sadly, that they are imitation.
Mishi's Strudel Bakery and Cafe, 309 W. 7th St., San Pedro, CA 90731. Tel: (310) 832-6474. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.