Showing posts with label intelligentsia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intelligentsia. Show all posts

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.

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.
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.
The pastries here come from Bouchon Bakery and Cake Monkey. 

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!
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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scoops Westside is in Business (Congrats!)

Fellow blogger Mattatouille's project, Scoops Westside, is finally in business! The second extension of the famed Scoops ice cream opened its doors on December 1st in a little strip mall in Palms, just down the street from Chego!, serving Tai's beloved ice cream along with Intelligentsia coffee and tea.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Intelligentsia Pasadena: Preview Lunch, a First Look

Knowing Pasadena residents have been looking forward to the opening of Intelligentsia Coffee's Pasadena outpost for a while now, but few may have known just how special the 3rd SoCal location would be. The space in Old Town comes with a kitchen and will soon have a liquor license. That's right, it will be a full-on restaurant with about 73 seats serving market-fresh menu and a nightly farmer's market prix-fixe dinners.
The food at Intelli-Pasadena is prepared by Matthew Poley, whose partnership with Intelligentsia started when his catering company Heirloom LA catered Intelligentsia's Christmas party. The result of Poley's experience at Angelini Osteria, La Terza, All' Angelo and Barbrix can be seen in the housemade cheese (e.g. goat's milk ricotta and sheep's milk ricotta drizzled with chestnut honey) and charcuterie platters, his specialty mushroom-ricotta and shortrib raviolis, crispy flatbreads, rib-cap lettuce tacos, and an incredible salad of fresh peeled asparagus and fennel. You can also find his famed (super cute and good) lasagna cupcakes a.k.a "lasagnettes" in various flavors, vegetarian or otherwise.


This is a definite upgrade in the space that used to be Wok 'n Roll and if Poley can maintain this quality food, Intelligentsia can easily be the best restaurant in Old Town, or at least on that part of Colorado Blvd. This style of eatery, while not new in general (pioneered long ago by Chez Panisse), is a first in Pasadena.

Intelligentsia's pastry case will feature scones, muffins, and cookies from Cake Monkey, as well as lychee tarts and other pastries from Bottega Louie, but if you're dining in might as well indulge in special treats from Cake Monkey: an unbelievably moist chocolate bread pudding and seasonal fruit crisp.

Bread pudding, Fruit Crisp (Cake Monkey)

Lychee tart (Bottega Louie)

Wash everything down with the slightly sweet and caramel-y black cat espresso, or the SCAA "best of origin" prize winner La Isabella coffee. If tea is more your speed, try their staple Iron Goddess of Mercy tea or the sweet and earthy Golden Needle cold brew.
La Tortuga cappuccino

More photos (of the charcuterie and cheese platters, ravioli, flatbread, etc) in this slideshow:

Intelligentsia Pasadena opens tomorrow and will be open for short days (10-4) for the first week but soon you will be able to get a grab-n-go lunch bag and coffee starting at 6 am and stay late for a prix fixe dinner (beer and wine involved).

Intelligentsia - Pasadena
55 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
Intelligentsia Cafe on Urbanspoon

Intelligentsia Pasadena Cafe in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Disclaimer: This preview lunch was hosted by Intelligentsia (i.e. gratis)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Smell that Coffee. Intelligentsia Roasting Works Tour

The roaster's and barista's job is to bring the natural flavors of the coffee beans to the customers, without messing up the steps in between. This was (rephrased per my memory) what Nick Griffith from Intelligentsia (also recent Western Regional Barista Champion) told us during our tour of their roasting facility in Glassell Park.

Thanks to blogger friend Mattatouille, I was able to tag along on this tour with other foodbloggers Choisauce, Diglounge, LA&OC Foodie, and Teenage Glutster. If Los Angeles is having any sort of 'coffee movement', Intelligentsia is undoubtedly in the forefront. If it isn't, Intelligentsia is definitely working hard to change that.

The roasting facility is pretty noticeable with the Intelligentsia logo painted on the wall and their trucks parked outside.
Naturally our initial focus is drawn to their roaster - a beautiful vintage (from the mid-century) contraption attached to a giant vacuum (to suck out nails or whatever else that might've accidentally made their way into your beans).
Even though it's a vintage, it's been outfitted with modern technology to fit their needs here at Intelligentsia. It can roast up to 40 kg of coffee.
The roasting machine, along with many other things there, is decorated with the Intelligentsia logo.

Right near the roasters were the green coffee beans that Intelligentsia uses for its Black Cat Espresso blend, which now has become a standard for espressos at many restaurants and establishments.
The Black Cat blend is not a fixed blend of beans - they are modified depending on what high quality ingredients are available (since all produce is seasonal!) at the time to ensure high standards.

We also got a sneak peek at the individual barista's "station" which will be operational at the new Intelligentsia Venice on Abbott Kinney.
The idea behind these stations are individualized attention for each customer, and Nick Griffith likened it to choosing your hair stylist when you go get a hair cut. The stations have adjustable height to accommodate each barista. I'm definitely excited about checking this out when they open - I just hope this doesn't make the wait even longer :P

The tour ended in their training room a.k.a the lab, which is equipped with a La Marzocco espresso machine from the 1970's. La Marzocco has been producing handmade espresso machines since 1927, and while as of late there are quality competition entering the market, this Florence-made machines have pretty much been regarded as the top-of-the-line (at a price, unfortunately. Their home machine, the GS3, runs around $7500 ... ).
Trainees and also the baristas who are preparing for regional/national competition practice here. This Marzocco machine has a programmable water temperature to ensure proper brewing of different types of coffee blend - how fancy! I wish I can afford one (and know how to use it properly).

At the very end we huddled around a white board where they have left a graph of roasting temperature - you have to modulate the temperature properly so as not to bring out the best flavors. The conversation at this point became quite scientific (starch break-down, acid, caramelization, etc). We'll leave it to the experts here at Intelligentsia to do the proper roasting and brewing :)

I'm pretty much a coffee amateur but this tour was very interesting and educational. I can see why Intelligentsia has the reputation that it does. Thank you Nick Griffith for taking the time to show us around!

Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital