After work, I headed to The Novel Cafe. It had pretty decent reviews from Yelp. The major complaints were that there was little to no service. I beg to differ.
I was kinda undecided as to where to eat. I walked around the block for awhile, but the only other eating places were fast food or a bar across the street. The menu presented at the front had mostly breakfast or burger items and I didn't want either. I thought I'd go in and ask for the the soup of the day or just settle for some tea and study.
If you haven't looked into it yet, the place is known for serving beer and wine as well as tea and coffee with wi-fi available.
The decor is quite pleasant. Artwork decorate the walls. Off to the side is a shelf full of books and as soon as you walk in, you are greeted by a well maintained and clean bar. It appears that the most comfortable seating is to the other side of the wall, but all those were either taken or had a reserve sign on the table. All the other ones were available and I settled for a table in the center at the back facing the door. It was happy hour! That meant $1 off the appetizers. I got the Sliders and they looked quite cute and filling. I also ordered the Gen-mai tea which came in a rather generously sized cup. I watched their big screen TVs while waiting; there was 3 of them- it was a basketball game that was on. Also while waiting, the female server was preparing flowers and brought out a vase filled with a lovely small bouquet onto my table. It was very friendly and cheerful.
The meat of the sliders was kinda tough...I think the first time and also probably the best I had Sliders was at Rubies. They had the Kobe Sliders with Hawaiian buns. However, the Sliders did come in a generous amount of nice piping hot french fries.
The ambience was really nice. It is definitely one of those places I would recommend going to alone to study or to surf the net or just to relax with a nice cuppa tea. The servers passed by with a smile but never rushed me or hassled me with the annoying question if everything is ok. The food was good, nothing really special, but I felt content and very comfortable.
The bill came out to be just under $11 and I left a $2 tip.
The only suggestion I would make would be that it would be nice if they also brought out a pot of hot water instead of just the big cup. Peet's Coffee does that- they give you a big cup of the hot tea along with a small pot of hot water. Also I don't think orange-red is a good color for a teacup. Because I'm the type of person that likes to look at the natural green color of the tea while I'm having it.
It is conveniently located across from the Pasadena City College. Since it was spring break, street parking was not too hard to find, although it is supposed to have its own little parking lot, which I missed.
It is also supposed to have live music on Fridays.
Overall- great experience...I will be back!!