Lincoln Road is either one of the most interesting or the most annoying streets in the nation. Have you ever just sat on a bench and people-watched? If the answer is no, do yourself a favor and go get a nocciola gelato at 4D; then have a seat. And if you're boycotting gelato because you're on that healthy, all-natural SoBe fad, head to Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar, which recently opened on Washington Avenue and 16th Street, just a few steps from the action-packed pedestrian mall.
Crema is a small gourmet eatery offering dine-in, take-out, and delivery to hungry folks in South Beach looking for healthier and heartier alternatives. From breakfast dishes and sandwiches to salads, wraps, and sweet and savory crêpes, Crema has something for everyone. There's also an option to make your own salad, sandwich, or crêpe -- you know, in case any of Crema's preconceived ideas don't do it for you. And the food is inexpensive. Prices start at $3.25 for a chocolate croissant with Nutella and rise to no more than $9.90 for a chicken crêpe with egg, Swiss cheese, roasted corn, and alioli. All right, a croissant with Nutella isn't exactly healthful, but for breakfast with a cup of freshly squeezed juice, Nutella won't kill you. It's made of skim milk, cocoa, and hazelnuts. Don't want the sugar from the croissant to bring you down? Take the cake. No, not that kind of cake; it's a power drink. "Take the Cake" includes banana, walnuts, cinnamon, milk, mountain honey, and chocolate protein.
And because the guys who run the joint are Greek, there's fresh Greek yogurt all the time. Enjoy it plain or with your choice of any toppings for 70 cents an ounce. Fro-yo has some competition. The Greeks also highly recommend the chicken souvlaki -- pita bread with roasted chicken, tomato, lettuce, and alioli dressing. There are also homemade Greek pies for breakfast.
Crema is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In October, plans are to stay open later, around 10 p.m., with the possibility of an even later closing time for the clubs in the area. But the owner is aware that at 3 and 4 a.m. and after drinking, people want pizza, not freshly squeezed juice and salad. Other ideas are in the works.
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Oh, and don't forgot about the coffee. What would an espresso bar be without coffee? Serving Illy espresso from Italy, Crema has everything from hot to cold and even a coffee happy hour. Purchase any coffee drink before 2 p.m. and receive half off your second coffee drink of the day until closing (with proof of purchase, of course). Segafredo is the only other place that offers such a deal, but it's on the other end of Lincoln Road. If you're people-watching, you might want to walk from one end to the other while indulging in coffee happy hour all day. Eat something while you're at it.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha