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Jim, former owner of a number of hair salons, opened The Metaphor 15 years ago, in 1988, in a desolate, bereft location in Escondido, California as a retirement present to himself. It's the only cafe in the San Diego area that you might one day be able to call home. For the first few years it was open, people did coke right off the tables.

The Metaphor is the sort of All-Nite diner you might find on a truck-route to Nimh, an attick for the coolest curios of leather jacket wanderers, and a wide open dance floor for the good old days of dixiland. It's the Common House for an invisible, scattered community that just might include your grandmother as well as your graffitied lover.

Yes, it's a cafe, and yes, Jim owns espresso machines, but he stopped using them when "The Wrong Type" began to patronize his shop -- artsy-types, aloof and snobbish, with both a lack of the crass bravado common to the salty young punks Jim hires as employees, and the lack of humility that comes when one finally makes it to a public gallery show -- any gallery show. The Escondido Art Center was just a little too close for Jim's Comfort.

I stopped in there for the first time in two years. Mid-afternoon, the place was deserted, save for two 20-somethings that could have been down-and-out cafe-rats if they weren't his oldest employees. Jim was there too, and when I asked if he was still serving breakfast he said "When it's busy like this, I'll cook you anything you want." So I had french toast, and it was like I've only had when my father would cook on sunday mornings. The machiatto I ordered was strong: boiled coffee grounds, equal to 4 espressos, drenched in a hearty dose of cream.

Here's the address:
258 E 2nd Ave
Escondido, CA

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