Located in what was once Ridgewood Optical at the corner of Forest and Catalpa (pronounced CATTLE-pah by the neighborhood old-timers), is a charming little coffee place that until now the area has been sorely lacking. Norma's opened about two weeks ago.
Before Norma's there was only Esparks in Glendale (feels like an alternate Canadian corporate twin of Starbucks), Spolem on Fresh Pond (not bad but looks more like a nightclub than a cafe) and all the dim old-school euro social clubby places with more paneling than the Brady Bunch.
Found Norma's on the way back from checking out what the latest film shoot was in the neighborhood (Blood Ties—Clive Owen, Mila Kunis, James Caan, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard—more trucks and therefore less parking than I've ever seen here before—good thing we were on foot).
Anyway, the coffee was good and the atmosphere even better. Owner is super nice and friendly. Setting is light and airy with tables available inside and out. Prices are very reasonable.
Most interesting though are the home-made baked goods. Lots of savory along with sweet. We did a small sampling: cheddar mushroom biscuit—our favorite, chocolate oatmeal cookie with chips and cinnamon—like chewy Mexican hot chocolate, ham and cheese turnover—flaky and moist, and some sort of rice-flour based bar with coconut (?)—I think the proprietress called it a mochi bar. I liked the mochi bar but I think I'll try it next time with tea insead of coffee. I think it would go better with that. All were delicious nonetheless.
They also have muffins both savory and sweet, beautiful-looking cupcakes, more savory biscuits (sausage, spinach), and probably some other things I can't remember.
One thing's for certain though, I'm going back. Welcome Norma! Glad you're finally here!
Glendale is hungry...