Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Street Art and Brews in Miami's Wynwood Art District

Just a few years ago, Miami's Wynwood was a warehouse district that no one ventures out to. Now, it is one of the hottest destinations in Miami filled with street art and some of the city's best breweries and restaurants.
Wynwood
Conceived by community revitalizer, the late Tony Goldman, in 2009, the idea is to bring great street art onto the walls of Wynwood's windowless warehouse buildings, and then develop the surrounding area. Today, Wynwood Walls is a colorful place that pedestrians, both locals and tourists, all enjoy.
Wynwood
I heard about Wynwood from the bartender at The Abbey (the only brewpub in Miami Beach), who told me Wynwood has a good concentration of Miami's craft breweries. If you are a beer lover, skip the beach and head to Wynwood.
I hopped on an Uber there, but stopping off first to get a different kind of brew at Panther Coffee, one of the best-known coffee shops in the city (and probably the best, as well).
Wynwood
Panther roasts their own coffee on site in small batches. Panther has two blends for the espresso, East Coast and West Coast espresso. I opted for the East Coast espresso since the tasting notes were "very creamy, round chocolate .. notes of sweet black cherry". Those all sounded good to me and resulted in a delicious cappuccino.
Wynwood
From there, I walked to J. Wakefield Brewing. I fell in love with it as soon as I got to the parking lot. Darth Vader wall!
Wynwood

Monday, May 2, 2016

Unexpected Dining at Demitasse Roastery and Kitchen (Hollywood)

Demitasse has opened a new location in Hollywood, but this one is no ordinary coffee shop. Demitasse Roastery and Kitchen takes cafes up a level with a great food menu and coffee cocktails on top of their already solid coffee program.

Demitasse has a rotating special coffee drink on the menu at all times. When I came, this was the blood orange nutmeg latte. They've added a housemade blood orange syrup to the latte and grated nutmeg on top. I was initially skeptical how a citrus would work with coffee but this was amazing.Demitasse
The blood orange adds a nice layer of flavor and makes the lattte less heavy. The citrus makes the flavors much more vibrant but you still get the acidity of the espresso.

The space is gorgeous, as well, with a bright and airy interior and a great outdoor dining space.

Demitasse
Demitasse
They sell baked goods from the awesome Sharon Wang of Sugarbloom Bakery.
Demitasse
They also serve beer, wine, and cocktails - including, of course, coffee cocktails! There's the Adult Spice Latte (Cardamaro, cinnamon syrup, nitro cold brew, cream and organic cinnamon, $7)
Demitasse

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Area Four (Cambridge, MA)

I may have complained a bit about the lack of lunch options at MIT, but actually, if I just go out of campus for a bit, there are some great places - take Area Four, for example, known for their pizza.

The menu at Area Four is short and simple - some appetizers and salads, and then pizza. Area Four's pizza has won many accolades and boasts an older-than-12-year starter, over 30 hours of fermentation, and wood-fired oven. They make a great version of the New England staple, clam and bacon pizza with pecorino, chili pepper, and parsley ($17.50 for a small)

Area Four
I had a very satisfying Little gem salad with tomatoes, blue cheese dressing, and crispy pork belly
Area Four
The crispy pork belly made this salad that much better - it's still healthy right?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pinkberry Does Breakfast

I knew Pinkberry serves greek yogurt, and I've also tasted their oatmeal bowl before, but I haven't really thought about going there for breakfast until now. Did you know Pinkberry serves coffee? They brew Barrington coffee in a French press to-order. It's pretty strong and smooth.

Pinkberry

I've tried many versions of their greek yogurt and also their oatmeal before, and they also are doing a quinoa bowl which I have not tried, but I decided to go with the acai bowl, since I'm nearing the end of the season to eat cold stuff! Oh, Boston winter is coming ...

Anyway, I got my acai bowl topped with a bunch of fruits, granola, and a dollop of honey.
Pinkberry

Pinkberry makes their acai bowl using Sambazon acai which they blend with other things, so it takes a bit longer to prepare than the soft serve froyo, and not as firm, but I quite liked the way it tastes. Acai is supposed to be healthy for you and I got a my daily dose of fruits.

Overall it was a nice breakfast with pretty good coffee, making Pinkberry a nice option for breakfast if you have a location convenient to you! Next time, I'm going to check if they still do their PB&J oatmeal, where they mix in the peanut butter in the oatmeal, because that was delicious!

Pinkberry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ogawa Coffee Brings Japanese Perfection in A Cup

I'm not REALLY a coffee connoisseur, but I got spoiled living in LA, when there was a renaissance of great coffee shops. I may not be able to blind test different single origin coffees, but I know bad coffee from good coffee, at least. So when I came to Boston last year, I asked around where to find good coffee. "I just go to Dunkin' Donuts" was invariably the most common response.

Hm. Like I said, I was spoiled. Luckily, Ogawa Coffee came from Boston. Ogawa Coffee has been running a chain of stores and their own coffee bean roasting in Kyoto for more than 60 years. Their foray into Boston is their first international venture, and they chose Boston because it is one of Kyoto's sister cities and they see Boston's abundance of universities and focus on education as a common ground between the two cities.

Ogawa Coffee
When you walk in, you'll notice the stadium seating to the right, which faces a serving counter. They'll eventually hold demos and classes using this area.

Ogawa's signature drink ($10 but you get two drinks, really) is a glass of chilled espresso - smooth and just slightly sweetened - served with a cup of hot cappuccino.
Ogawa Coffee
If you're lucky and you're in the store when Haruna Maruyama is in, then you should ask for some special latte art. She's the champion of the 2010 World Barista Latte Art and was both the first Japanese and the first woman to win the distinction! Don't fret if she's not in because she's been training the other baristas who all have their signature art, but do know you're in for a treat when she is.

The thing about Japanese is their attention to detail. They heat up their glassware with hot water before serving the coffee so as not to change the temperature of the coffee too much!
Ogawa Coffee


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Go Uncommon for Father's Day (and Beyond) Gifts

If you're having trouble finding unique, fun gifts for the upcoming Father's Day, or even any other occasions such as birthdays, you may want to look at UncommonGoods. As a disclosure, they offered me to choose one product to review, but they had so many cool things that I had a hard time choosing. Do I want a Chipotle Amber ale brewing kit? Or maybe a gin making kit with a set of botanicals? A personalized whiskey barrel would be quite the gift, as well, or do I want the Molecular Gastronomy Kit? So many to choose from! OK, the products are not all food/beer related, but I was obviously drawn to those ...

They've categorized the products for you so that it'll be easier to browse. For example, you can look for here to find gifts for men. Uncommon Goods was started in Brooklyn and they wish to provide a platform for artists and designers. Most of their products are made in the USA and a good portion of them are also made using recycled materials. The company will also donate $1 to their selected non-profit organizations for every purchase. 

Anyway, as for my dilemma in choosing, I decided to not go too ambitious this time. Since summer is arriving, I opted for the Coffee Cold Brew gift set. It's going to be too hot for hot coffee soon, since my new place has no air conditioning. Instead of paying a lot of money for a cold brew at a coffee shop, why not make your own? It turns out it's super easy!
Photo from UncommonGoods
The cold brew kit comes with a starter pack of ground coffee, a blend of Brazilian and Guatemalan coffee which I quite enjoyed as a cold brew. The kit looked pretty simple, but there are some neat touches. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Morning in the Mission (San Francisco, CA)

During my last trip to San Francisco, I stayed at an AirBnB in the Mission. We spent the first morning wandering around the Mission district, starting with breakfast at Craftsman and Wolves.

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What we came here for is the famous "Rebel Within". At first glance this looks just like any other cheesy muffin. The Rebel Within is made with Asiago cheese, green onion, and Easton sausage.
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But how special this muffin is is only apparent when you cut into it ... a perfectly poached egg inside with runny yolk!
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Saturday, May 3, 2014

C+M Coffee and Milk, Now Open in Westwood

Despite being home to Bruins, Westwood doesn't really have a lot of good coffee options, but now Patina Group has brought their C+M Coffee and Milk concept. The new cafe is located at Westwood Gateway, at the corner of Sepulveda and Santa Monica.

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C+M brews Intelligentsia coffee. On a hot day, you might want to try their affogato which uses their housemade milk sorbet - slightly lighter than ice cream, drizzled with caramel and chocolate syrup. There are also shakes and "milkwiches", an ice cream sandwich made with their vanilla milk sorbet.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Breakfast Tour of Downtown LA's Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles is one of the most exciting food destinations lately, with tons of new vendors opening up shop. I was recently invited to a breakfast tour of some of these vendors, new and old. Since it's breakfast, we of course started with G&B Coffee.

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Not only do they have amazing coffee and cappuccino (with almond milk!), you can also get Donut Snob's amazing donuts here.
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Our next stop was Sticky Rice.
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What we had for breakfast was actually a snack that they will have in the afternoons, Kanom Krok. They have a special pan to make these delicious little coconut custard cakes.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

643 North: Polenta Pizza and Craft Cocktails in Chinatown

While Italian restaurants and craft beer and cocktail bars are abound in downtown Los Angeles, 643 North occupies an unusual location: Chinatown. You might be confused driving there through a desolate part of Chinatown, but don't worry, it's there. Plus they have a free parking lot to the left, perks of a cheaper real estate.

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Actually, 643 North isn't really an Italian restaurant although the menu leans a bit in that direction. They also have other items like these Crab sliders (blue crab patties, chipotle remoulade, daikon sprouts, brioche, $13)
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You shouldn't miss their pasta, though, especially the Ossobuco ravioli (braised veal, housemade ravioli, baby heirloom tomatoes, broccolini, Parmesan broth, Parmesan cheese, $17)
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I was expecting a heavy dish, as ossobuco typically is, but this is light and lovely. The al dente ravioli sits in a bright parmesan broth, letting diners experience ossobuco in a different way. This was one of the highlights of my meal.
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I was also pleasantly surprised with the cocktails here, created by Adam Acuff from Far Bar, which is more known for their beers rather than cocktails (643 North also has a good beer list). All cocktails are $12 and include drinks like Smokey the Pear (High West Campfire, St Germain, spiced pear syrup, lemon bitters) which was nicely balanced.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

G&B Coffee Elevates Coffee Experience at Grand Central Market(DowntownLA)

The Grand Central Market in downtown LA is experiencing a revival with the opening of some great destinations, including G & B Coffee, which used to be located inside Sqirl. The coffee bar is also visible from the street and pedestrians can just walk up to it without going through the market itself first.

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G & B Coffee wanted coffee to return to being a social experience, more like a bar, where guests can interact with baristas and other guests instead of moving down the line to get your pourover.
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By the way, I came here for a preview tasting so for some, the pictured portions are much smaller than the full size that you'll get when you purchase.
IMG_6735 G & B doesn't roast their own coffee, instead you'll find a rotating selection of their current favorite coffees from other roasters. Right now they seem to be liking Heart from Portland, but they'll have 6-10 different varieties each day so there will always be something for everyone.
The most popular item may be the almond latte. Kyle Glanville, one of the co-founders, thinks that soy tastes weird with coffee, so instead they have almond milk made in house which is only slightly sweet and is quite good. It has a nice subtle flavor that goes well with coffee.

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The coffee shop sells pastries from Pete the Baker, who used to do pastry for Storefront Deli in Los Feliz.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Eastbound Food Caravan, Part 1: Taza (Arcadia, CA) and Falafel Me(Azusa, CA)

I wouldn't typically consider going all the way to Azusa, not to mention Upland, but when Carl, the PR for Falafel Me, offers to pick up and drive me along with other bloggers, my answer was "why not!"

Our food caravan started with coffee and breakfast at Taza: a Social Coffeehouse, in Arcadia.

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Taza is different than most "coffee shops" in Arcadia and SGV. Instead of boba drinks, they serve Handsome Roaster coffee.
On the weekends, the place gets even more special with pastries and croissants from Sharon Wang's Sugarbloom. Sharon, who comes in only on the weekends to showcase her pastries, had worked for Thomas Keller.

My favorite of her creations was the Spam musubi croissant. It isn't cheap at $4, especially for SGV standards, but it wasn't only the novelty of spam musubi, the croissant itself was perfectly buttery and flaky. I think it's definitely worth a try and worth returning for.
Spam Musubi Croissant

Monday, February 18, 2013

Theorem: An Experiment in Coffee Tasting by Portola Coffee Lab

Theorem is a unique experience in craft coffee devised by Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa. Once an hour in the late afternoons, the small room with a counter seating only six people opens up for a set menu of one of a kind coffee drinks. You can call or go on their website for reservation.

They want you to focus on the experience so no camera or phone is allowed during the tasting. I only managed to take a photo of the menu before they told me to put my camera away! Though they did let me take quick photos of the setup in between mine and the next tasting.

The menu lists four items and you can order any three for $20.
I started with an Italiano served with candied lemon. This was a play on how Italianos used to be served. Back in the day tap water tasted very mineral-y, so people tend to use lemon rind to get rid of that taste and the oil.

Next is an amazing cappuccino made using milk with 6% butterfat. This milk has a texture like no milk I've had before and it makes for an incredible cappuccino.

The Coffee Sour is an incredible non-alcoholic coffee cocktail made with a cold brew, lemon, orange flower water, orgeat, and honey. When I tasted it I couldn't even tell there was coffee in it, just a balanced, complex mocktail.

The "Enhanced Espresso" must be ordered for the whole table (for $20). Lucky for me someone there was generous enough to order it. The enhanced espresso is coffee infused with various herbs and fruits using a vac-pot (reminiscent of the Rooibos cocktail I had at The Aviary in Chicago).
This one was an extraction of cloves, cinnamon, dried cherries, almond, mint, etc.

A peek into the back room held promise for future tastings. A barrel for aging ... alcoholic coffee cocktails, perhaps?


Theorem
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(949) 284-0596
http://www.portolacoffeelab.com/theorem
Theorem on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 8, 2012

Graffiti Coffeehouse (Mid-City, Los Angeles)

The amount of time one spends at a coffee shop varies. There's the grab and go for a quick caffeine fix, there's the meeting or coffee date, and then there's the working afternoons or nights. There are three things I look for in a coffee shop to work in: good coffee, free wi-fi (and plugs), free and easy parking, and good pastries. Graffiti on La Brea has all these.

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I was worried about parking when I was heading there at first, but it turns out Graffiti has its own parking lot. It's small, but cars come and go all the time, so you're likely to get a free parking spot and can stay for hours.

The inside of Graffiti is spacious and bright with its white walls, floors, and tables. It's a large, almost art gallery-like space with plenty of seatings for everyone.
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Graffiti doesn't roast their own coffee or bake their own pastries, instead it curates from LA's well known names. OK, I should've tried the drip coffee or espresso, but it was so hot that day I had to go for a cold one. The signature iced mocha is made with Intelligentsia coffee and Bouchon chocolate ganache. It's not cheap (nor are the pastries) at around $5.50, but with the free parking it was well worth the 2-3 hours I spent getting my work done there.
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The pastries here come from Bouchon Bakery and Cake Monkey. 
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With a chocolate croissant from Bouchon, a cup of coffee, free wi-fi and parking, and plenty of plugs, I could (and did) stay here for hours!
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Soon, they will have ice cream from Fonuts (affogatos!) as well along with soup and sandwiches from other LA's favorite joints.

Graffiti Coffeehouse
180 South La Brea Avenue
 Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 936-9726

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Coco Cafe: Coconut Water and Coffee? Yes!

Two hyped-up beverages meet in this carton package: Coffee and Coconut water!
It's true, Coco Cafe is a combination of coconut water - believed to be a source of plenty electrolytes and subsequently good for hydration (and hangovers) - and cafe latte which, for its virtues and despite its vices most of us cannot live without. As their packaging says: "Hydrate. Caffeinate."

I first saw this at a gym in Venice and was intrigued but didn't make the jump. Then, coincidentally, they sent me a case to review. OK, on to the drink. As you can see, it looks pretty much like a Starbucks bottled frappuccino.

Does it taste weird, you ask? Actually, no! I found that it tastes predominantly like cafe latte (that's not too sweet). The taste of coconut water subtly comes out at the end. I liked the coconut water aftertaste, but if you're still worried about the combo, don't. It's just like a cafe latte, but it's better for you and it's made using fair trade coffee.

Coco Cafe is now available at the SoCal Whole Foods markets and Vicente Foods, among others (and apparently certain gyms). You can also buy it online.

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