A secret handshake

Someone we had met en route recommended we go to Cafe Cadek when we were in Santa Ana. We followed up on that recommendation but when we arrived at the place where we thought the cafe should be (according to maps.me) all we found was a shabby closed door and no sign. As it was 17.45, we figured we might be in the right place but perhaps it was just shut for the day. Certainly there were no obvious signs of life. So we wandered on.

On a second attempt, we returned to the same spot at about 15.00 again to be greeted by the same firmly closed door. Not wanting to end up sticking our beaks into private properties where they might not be wanted, at first we were reluctant to push on the door and were about to walk on by. But just as well we did give the door a little shove as it was then fully opened by a barista and we were ushered into a very cool coffee shop with great AC but no windows at all. A hidden gem. We are used to a lot of properties having small (and sometimes rather uninspiring) shop fronts but then once inside, they often open up to much larger spaces and often expansive courtyards. But this really took that concept to an extreme.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t exactly busy given its lack of ability to attract passing trade and its lack of self promotion. On the other hand it wasn’t completely empty either and a number of other customers knocked confidently on the door in a specific manner : perhaps there was even a secret knock for those in the know? Maybe in fact we had been recommended the latest hippest place. Who knows?

While there, we enjoyed delicious coffee and some afternoon treats too but I did think that Alan Sugar might have some thoughts on their business model as it’s fair to say there was probably room to improve their sales figures.

But then again, perhaps this is just how the Santanecos do things. Come to think of it, our hostel has no clear sign on the outside either! And that’s also excellent on the inside.

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