Lately, the city of El Cajon has taken on a few positive exterior qualities—the downtown's a little less dog-eared here and there, and some cultural attractions fare pretty well at the East County Performing Arts Center. Even so, it's still El Cajon, an unexceptional little gateway to something better on either side of it. Nondescriptness is almost an industry here; if Bill Clinton really and truly didn't inhale, he knows what it's like to visit.
That's before you walk in to Somewhere Else Coffeehouse & Bookstore, about as eclectic a place as you'll find in this little burg and, indeed, in the more so-called sophisticated spots nearby. You don't have to travel to that boutique mall for one of the best breakfast scrambles you'll ever taste, loony with eggs, cheese, ham and tomato—and at $4.25, the bargain doesn't stop with the toppings (nothing on the menu, in fact, is priced over $6.45). Or settle in with a mango-pineapple smoothie ($3.85) and wrap yourself around a good book—there's new, used and rare fare for every taste, with a special reading for the kids every third Saturday at 11 a.m. There are even plans for revolving art exhibits—right now, there's some pretty cool black and white photography on the walls.
Somewhere Else may want you to think it's somewhere else—but, amazingly, it's right there in dingy little El Cajon, at 330 North Magnolia Ave. It's open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Maybe El Cajon's trying to make a name for itself—amid an insidious little spot like this, it's off to a good start.