Cheap Eats

$10 Lunch: Your Big Picture Cafe in Davie

Davie is Broward's equivalent of Big Sky country, with a healthy dollop of melting pot ethnography strewn across its otherwise homogenous vista. At Dunkin' Donuts, you'll see confederate flag tattooed folk and DKNY- garbed ladies with Hermes Kelly Bags chatting amicably with young men sporting visible undies and gold teeth. Perhaps, most shockingly, you'll meet people whom actually say "howdy" in the mornings, without irony.

What Davie hides very well, however, are its local treasures, businesses which exist in such a state of time warp trippyness- be it the diners, the bookstores, the cafes or the bait-n-tackle stores- that makes you wonder if the owners have ever heard of the recession, or cross-demographic marketing. Davie restaurants, because it's Davie, are free to exist in a state of native expression- without the burden of trying to out-hip each other.

Down a strip of suburban sprawl, past an open range of low-rise condos pock-marked with chain restaurants and punctuated by a cow farm or two, is a cafe that seems dropped straight out of Haight-Asbury, minus the discarded needles and surly Jim Morrison-wannabes. Your Big Picture Cafe (4900 South University Drive, Davie; 954-252-5644) is a mere seven months old but has already made an impact on both Davie's green and not-so-green crowds.

The music is mellow, the decor is a panorama of soothing autumn tones,

jazzed up with quotations from Rumi and post-New Agey paintings of

nymphs and astral projections. Despite their eco-chic cred, there's no

greener-than-thou vibe from the staff, and the selection of Fair Trade

coffees, chocolates and vegan pastries are guilt-free and tasty.

The cafe serves salads- which are huge- and wraps which are insanely

good and are offered at less than $9. Best values are the Thai Salad and

the Chicken Pesto Wrap and Salad both at around $8 and the surprisingly

filling Tuna Salad which is only $2.50.

Your Big Picture Cafe's forte, besides hearty, cheap lunches, is tea,

and the small cafe squeezes in a rack of more than 100 loose teas which

are available in bulk. The teas range from the obvious like chamomile

to Memoirs of a Geisha tea ceremony-type brews, which you can purchase

by the cup as well. As teas go, is the real stuff. Like a head shop in

Amsterdam, they offer potent custom blends for every mood or dilemma,

but unlike their Dutch bretheren's offerings, you won't wake up drooling

under a windmill.

They also offer the expected homeopathic remedies and herbal concoctions

--their range is as impressive as my local Whole Foods, and the owner

has an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs, vitamins and supplements.


cafe also has a community room where there are yoga classes, reiki circles, lectures on psychic healing and such, and the space hosts live music on the weekend.

The downside? Well you may run in to a psychic or two reading

freaky-looking tarot cards, but all sentient beings within the Cafe are

mannerly and never solicit the clients. The crowd is a mix of everything

Davie, from retro-glam soccer moms talking Splenda portions for the

school bake sale, to art world heavyweights, debating the existence of

postmodern primitivism.

The takeaway: if you've got $10 and happen to be near Davie, Your Big

Picture Cafe is a great place to spend an afternoon, in San Francisco.

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Carla Rover
Contact: Carla Rover