Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Best Bites #5-Superior Sips

Today I throw a curve ball at you. Which is impressive, considering that I rarely throw anything ever. In my youth, tantrums. In adulthood, dinner parties. And now this.

#5 on my Ten Best Bites list is…A series of sips, actually.

A small collection of my favorite drinks in LA. Not necessarily trendy, but they are mine. And you can have them too.

Remember in The Thomas Crown Affair (the re-make, which I argue is just as enjoyable as the original) the green drink? There is a part in that movie when Rene Russo gets a swoony surprise from her adoring and handsome art thief. He presents her with a gloopy glop glassful of shocking green viscous mystery sludge.

It is her favorite! How did he know?! Her heart is his.

The Sweet Kale Shake at SunCafe is the my version of that. Radioactively green, frozen to a state of thick creamy slush, and unbelievably delicious. Kale, banana, nut milk, and agave a whirred in a Vitamix (the bad-assiest of blenders) until the texture of a milkshake. The mightiest milkshake you’ll ever have. Drinking this is like drinking liquid health through a straw, says me. Many, many days, it has cured what ailed me and let me start a day fresh, even if I myself was not, after a night of one too many of many different things.

Why, SunCafe! It is my favorite. How did you know?! My heart is yours!

I have catalogued for you my addiction to coffee.

While I have been involved with coffee for a long time now, my relationship with beer is much more recent. I have always been a classic wine girl. I know that most reds will make me happy, and I am rarely prompted to investigate further. I choose wine by the cleverness of the name, and by the sense of humor used when crafting the label. A cartoon grape in aviator goggles flying a plane? I’m drinking that. It’s not classy, but it is tasty. And hilaaaaarious.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the beer that would break the barrier for me was a coffee stout?

I love Tony’s Darts Away for a lot of reasons. It has the dive-bar feel, without the actual dive-bar build up of anonymous sticky on the floors or the self-mocking popcorn machine full of stale wet yellow crunch in the corner. It’s a cool joint, and their menu is half vegan, half non, and all delicious. It’s the most legitimately delicious bar food you may ever find.

When I threw down for the Speedway Coffee Stout, it was to wash down a beef hot dog with cheddar cheese and tangy apple slaw. My youzsh. It seemed to me almost more of a dessert than anything else. Inches of sweet creamy white foam, a bitter and bracing smooth brew sitting below. The whole thing a drunken drinkable frosted cake of wonderful. I drained that sucker, and had another. And beer became a thing I seek out, crave, and enjoy regularly. And since Tony’s has 38 on tap, if I ever want to branch out, I can.

When I walked into Café de Leche for the first time and ordered the Horchata con Espresso, it was because a good friend told me to. I rarely mess with my coffee order, and if you would like an anthropological study of my life in relation to it, it can be found here.

I love trying new things, but I tend to resist change when it comes to pre-determined entities. Honey Nut Cheerios are amazing. Don’t add extra fiber. I know I can’t taste it, but it bothers me that it’s even there. Cheetos are a perfect food, don’t make them “Hot.” When all McFlurry’s everywhere started sucking, I was fit to be tied. Don’t mess with a good thing. So I was starting this journey cranky.

What happened next?

As I set my empty Horchata Con Espresso cup down, having drained it first-night-as-a-cat Selena Kyle style (Michelle Pfieffer, folks), it happened. I looked around to the people for whom this is simply their neighborhood coffee shop, reading papers, and checking phones. I pointed with a long arm to the empty cup, my pink lipstick crescent on the side confirming my lusty interaction with this beverage. And in what I refer to as a “modified stage whisper,” I said: “That Is The Best Coffee Drink I Have Ever Had!” 

I said it to a whole room of people who absolutely without a doubt could not care less. Because most of these Highland Parkers can have this beverage whenever they want! They might even be in walking distance!! They probably have it several times a week! It’s the best coffee drink I have ever had! They don’t care! I’d better stop shouting and get out of here before they kick me out! I’d like to see them try! Guess that espresso kicked in!

The object of my explanation point is a cuppa Stumptown Coffee Roasters espresso, swirled with warm rice milk and cinnamon. It was handed to me needing absolutely nothing. Not a packet of raw sugar, not a bit more milk. Nothing. It’s just a perfect creamy sweet concoction, that also delivers the necessary caffeine kick. It’s as though someone accidentally made you your perfect cup of coffee,the one you've never actually had before. And now you know what your perfect cup of coffee is.

There you have it, my 3 favorite thinks to guzzle in Los Angeles. If you’re the unimpressed type, you’re thinking “Wow, a beer, a smoothie, and a cup of coffee.”

Listen, have three or four tall coffee stouts tonight, wake up with the horchata con espresso tomorrow, and save your hungover day with the kale shake. What I have given you is a map.

Because sometimes the Holy Grail is the least be-dazzled one of them all.

3711 Cahuenga Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

Tony's Darts Away
1710 Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506

Cafe de Leche
5000 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042

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