Thyme Cafe & Market, Santa Monica, California

How lucky is Santa Monica? This new bakery-cafe-take-out shop took over a storefront between the yoga studio and the Elks Lodge on humble Ocean Park Boulevard, and the neighborhood’s not been the same since. It was opened by a former caterer who had worked at Berkeley’s landmark Chez Panisse, and she concentrated on presentation quality ingredients without a lot of tricks to muck them up. Case in point: the ingredients are all the advertisement the Thyme House Salad needs: mixed greens, Point Reyes blue cheese, walnuts, cranberries, sweet apple & balsamic vinaigrette.

Plus, during the daytime, there’s virtually nothing over $10.

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