As much as I love a good, long brunch complete with bottomless mimosas, bolognese waffles, and plenty of sweet treats, let's be honest: ain't nobody got time for that. I spend so much of my time running around the city, going to meetings, events, and taking photos that knowing where I can stop for a quick coffee or matcha latte has become an increasingly important addition to my LA knowledge. Luckily, this city's restauranteurs are catering more and more to their on-the-go clientele, opening up cafés and bakeries that focus on high-quality, really tasty drinks and bites that you can take to-go.
Coffee: Espresso Cielo, 2nd Street
Though this main street staple has been around for a few years now, they just opened a bigger, badder, and even more beautiful location along 2nd St. in Downtown Santa Monica. With plenty of seating, outlets, and free wifi, it's a surprisingly tranquil adjacent to the bustling Promenade to get some work done on the Westside. We're excited to see them bring their international, single origin coffee to a new, spacious location.
Tea : The American Tea Room, Beverly Hills
Though not technically new, the American Tea Room just re-opened in Beverly Hills after an extensive remodel. But the changes were not solely superficial. Not only can you buy their unique, special teas, but you can sample them at their tea bar, which serves them hot, iced, or in latte form. A standout included their Thai Iced Tea, a highly caffeinated but sweet mix of Black Teas, Spices, Sugar, and Half n’ Half that will surely become a refreshing go-to this Spring and Summer.
Matcha: Matcha Bar, Silverlake
To be honest, I wasn't a huge matcha fan after my first try. But as the city's matcha craze has spread, it's actually grown on me (and not just because it's trendy). ICYMI: matcha is an antioxidant-rich green tea powder that is now all the rage in NYC (apparently) that serves up plenty of caffeine without some of the negative side effects of coffee. Its ability to make me feel way more awake without the coffee jitters is one of the many reasons I've been favoring it of late. So I was super excited to try MatchaBar, the Brooklyn transplant now open in Silverlake that incorporates grain bowls and Gjusta pastries into its matcha-focused menu. Their matcha drinks include our favorite, The Holy Grail, a double shot with housemade almond and cashew milk-- a sweet and refreshing iced drink that's perfect for sipping on their Sunset Blvd. patio.
Pastries : La Tropezienne Bakery on La Brea
Ok, so we now have plenty of great coffee shops, and some wonderful baked goods purveyors like Gjusta and Bouchon. But a classic French boulangerie from the South of France? Why wouldn't we want more of those. And now one of St. Tropez's most famous and celebrated bakeries, La Tropezienne, has opened on La Brea. The French Riviera staple has been serving their pastries for tourists and Brigitte Bardot alike, becoming world-famous for their namesake Tropeziennes-- light and flaky tarts filled with some sort of tangy cream or custard (the recipe is obviously top secret). My afternoon was immediately improved when I stopped in to enjoy a light sandwich and a beautiful Tropezienne while I continued to salivate over the quiche, brioche, and croissants. A perfect place to grab a quick lunch or sit and enjoy a sweet treat, La Tropezienne is sure to attract a cultish local following, and I'll definitely be back soon to try more.