What does an Aztec warrior, slow turtle, caramel macchiato and white chocolate dream have in common with Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman and John Steinbeck? That would be caffeination and education at the Sagebrush Café. 

The owners are former Quartz Hill High School English teachers and one is an English professor at Antelope Valley College. My dear friend and companion usually judges establishments on their dessert and vibe and on this particular gastronomic adventure, we were served both. The vibe at Sagebrush Café is laid back and chill, but their homemade toasted almond coffee cake, raspberry crumble bar and blondie bar brownie make the Sagebrush Café great. I am a huge brownie girl, but it is the coffee cake that I want to eat again and again.

Having indoor and outdoor patio seating creates the perfect setting for enjoying alone time or hanging out with friends — a winner either way. And what a winning lunch it was! Since it was windy that day (what day isn’t windy, in the AV?), we dined inside. We started out with the fancy avocado toast (tomatoes, avocado and red pepper flakes on thick whole grain bread). It was smooth, yet crunchy, with vibrant red and green color and awesome tomato goodness. It was a beautiful presentation and almost too pretty to eat. Note that I said almost (we couldn’t eat it fast enough).

We ordered two different panini sandwiches at $6 each. The Whitman (roasted chicken, bruschetta, sun-dried tomatoes and provolone cheese on a torta grilled bun) was smooth comfort food with true style. The sun-dried tomatoes were a pop of color and a savory sunburst of flavor — delightful. 

The E. Hemingway (herb roasted turkey, sweet mango chutney, crushed red peppers and Havarti cheese on a grilled torta bun) was another solid sandwich. After my first bite and much to my surprise, the sweet, tangy mango chutney was inside. It was absolutely incredible. Perfectly quirky combos of the tastiest flavors around made for paninis perfecto.  There’s no grading on a curve, they definitely deserved an A+, as both sandwiches were delicious and a rollercoaster for the taste buds, featuring unexpected twists  (sweet mango chutney) in the E. Hemingway and turns (sun-dried tomatoes) in the Whitman.

There were three other paninis on the menu, served from 11 a.m. to close, for only $6 each: Flannery O’Connor (herb roasted turkey, roasted bell peppers and Havarti cheese on a grilled torta bun), The Steinbeck (medium cheddar cheese melted to a creamy perfection on a grilled torta bun) and the Fab Frida (roasted chicken, Havarti cheese, pepperoncinis, red bell peppers on a toasted bun with chipotle mayo).

Of course, there is other food on the menu like the good morning breakfast sandwich (black forest ham with cheddar or pepper Jack cheese on a toasted English muffin), oatmeal (original, pecan date or creamy coconut mango),  berry and yogurt parfaits and bagels with cream cheese or Nutella.

We ordered a few of the desserts, as well: A blondie bar brownie, which was ever so soft and full of chocolate chips, walnuts and so easy to eat … quickly. One bite and you are hooked. Then there was the coffee cake — a flavor packed sensation. I think every single yummy pastry flavor possible was in there — nutty, sweet, crumbly, chock full of cinnamon with a wonderful, subtle, salty undertone. It was a sumptuous, gustatory delight. I think I heard angels singing as I was in coffee cake heaven. Then, there was the most original and fun treat I have seen in a long time, a homemade pop tart with a crust, peach ginger jam inside and a luscious vanilla sugar drizzle on top. 

Chopped nuts and raspberry streusel ribboned in the middle of another delicious coffee cake was the next hit. Sweetness topped with sweetness, does it get any better than that?

Since that day was all about food, I barely scratched the surface of the ridiculously crazy drink menu.

The coffee is roasted locally in Los Angeles and the tea is all Numi (organic, embracing holistic well-being). Classic coffee, specialties (vanilla latte, cafe mocha, slow turtle, caramel macchiato, white chocolate dream, Aztec warrior, sage freddo cappuccino and chai tea latte), frozen-blended, real fruit smoothies, pour-over coffee, cold brew, plus hot rose milk and healing tea, iced tea, hot chocolate and Italian soda are available.

The food and drink choices at the Sagebrush Café are not only interesting and delicious, but someone did their homework before opening this little beauty.  They are a community oriented, independent coffee house, local art gallery and they offer unique gifts. In fact, Sagebrush Café has won the hearts of the AV, as it was voted AV’s Best local coffee house for two consecutive years.

Quartz isn’t the only gem in Quartz Hill, the Sagebrush Café is the perfect place to drop in, order a latte with a side of coffee cake (and brownie for the road), feed your brain and maybe read some classics like “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Sun Also Rises” or the AV Press. You will find them nestled in the heart of Quartz Hill on the Northeast corner of 50th St. West and Avenue L-14. They are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Bon appétit!

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