road trip raves: cool cafes in los angeles
After being on the road for a week or so, we finally swapped out The Beast of a motorhome for a teeny Airbnb in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. We spent a lovely sun-soaked week in LA while friends back in Vancouver were enjoying the snow (I think!).
Cafe-hopping is one of my favourite things to do in every city I visit. I need a good caffeine fix everyday, which probably contributes to my compulsion to hunt down the best brews around. And hey, scoring opportunities to enjoy good food and photograph pretty interiors don't hurt.
Here's the lowdown on the chillest cafes I checked out in LA and why you should pay them a visit!
300 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
The first time I had Blue Bottle coffee was in Tokyo, and I had always associated it with being part of that city's ace coffee scene. To my chagrin (and ensuing delight), I realised that the brand actually originated from Oakland, California. So I dragged my husband over to this Blue Bottle joint close to Grand Central Market for an iced latte, and it was THE BEST. It was smooth, strong, and not too acidic. I'm so inclined to buy a coffee roaster and order some of their beans because nothing here can compare. Nothing.
(Note: Apart from coffee, this Blue Bottle location doesn't sell any food, so be sure to fuel up at Grand Central Market before you stop by!)
3922 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Intelligentsia's Silverlake location is clearly popular with the locals: There were tons of people working on their laptops when we stopped by. I love that they have lots of outdoor seating (especially useful for getting some vitamin D, something I have been deficient in thanks to #Raincouver). Coffee-wise, I liked that their lattes were well-balanced - not too milky and not too acidic - although it wasn't as smooth as Blue Bottle's.
705 North Alfred Street, Los Angeles, CA 90069
This millenial pink-everything offshoot of the Alfred Coffee chain focuses on teas, aka something I don't drink often (with the exception of chai lattes). So I must admit that my main motivation for visiting it was for aesthetic reasons (it's perfect Instagram fodder, really). It's a really tiny space and it feels a little cramped inside when customers are ordering drinks, so it isn't a place to dawdle in. Still, what it lacks in comfort, it makes up for in its solidly brewed teas. The rose milk tea I ordered was amazing, and I'm not saying this lightly. It wasn't super sweet (like a lot of bubble/boba teas tend to be), and there was a subtle hint of rose throughout. For my Singapore friends back home, it reminds me of a less cloying version of Bandung. 13/10 would go back for more!
456 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Aussie cafes have a reputation for churning out food and drinks that are always on point. Paramount Coffee Project hails from Sydney, and their brews - strong and medium-bodied - left a good impression. I just wish the cup was one of those fat round ones with a big handle, so holding it up would be easier. Also, pardon the pre-caffeine zombie face here :p
833 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
This was our final cafe stop in LA, and we were so blessed to have one last day of sunshine before heading north. Verve's downtown location feels very lush and green, a welcome change from the gritty, dirty streets we explored throughout the week. This place was also crazy packed over the weekend, and we only managed to get a small table outdoors. Our coffee came in a takeaway paper cup because our original intention was to grab and go, but we decided to park our bums here for a short while. I'm glad I did, because there were so many adorable doggies who came out with their owners for a cuppa (my other favourite pastime: dog-stalking). And to be honest, I don't quite remember much about how the latte was like here... if memory serves me well, it was a little too foamy for my liking, and it sadly wasn't that strong. Still, #noragrets coming here: I enjoyed the calming, garden-esque atmosphere and the people-watching.
Leave a comment below if you have any great cafe recomms in LA to share! I'd love to check it out in future :)