January 15, 2010

Ryan always imagined himself with a coffee shop girl.

But when he married a former McDonald’s employee (that’s right – I worked drive-thru!), he thought he’d have to give up that dream.  However, once I got my green card, I needed a quick job before I began the Act One Executive Program.  So like a good little Hollywood-hyphenate, I got a job at a coffee shop.  One of the best coffee shops!  And I learned all I could from them.  Once I was done learning, I was also done working for them.  And I quit (gasp!).  Shortly after that I got a job at a small production company as an exective assistant to the producers and business manager.  I’m all about quintessential hollywood jobs, eh?

Anyway, coffee shop girls.  There’s something about them. What is it?  

Duncan Christopher has an idea.

I even have a cute little green t-shirt that we bought on our honeymoon.  It says “Love Street Coffee Shop” on it.  I know for a fact that Ryan gets romantical thoughts in his head when I wear it.  He can’t help it!

L.A. BENTO: Redefining Lunch in a Box

September 24, 2009

I live in Northeast L.A.  When my husband and I moved here from Hollywood (a whole 7 miles), someone suggested we join the NELA Yahoo Group.  I’m so glad we did!  We’ve found out about great events and restaurants and stores in our area that we’d have no idea existed otherwise.

A few days ago, I came across this post from the NELA list.  It’s about L.A. Bento, a neat little lunch-in-a-box place that just opened up in Glassell Park!  Bento is a Japanese word for single-portion takeout and L.A. is the word for…  Well, you decide.   Together, they mean “really yummy gourmet lunch!”

I went there this morning to meet some friends and got a coffee, and because I’d heard from Ara on the NELA list that the croissants were “out of this world,” I had to try one.  Ara was right.  The croissant was perfect.  Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Rebecca, you would have been drooling!  And the coffee was fresh from Jones in Pasadena.  ‘Nuff said.

While waiting for my coffee, I asked the very friendly Matt about how the lunch-ordering thing works.  He pointed me to the menu.

That’s it!  Choose a sandwich and side.  Everything is $10.  Also, they will deconstruct the sandwhiches and serve them as entree salads, if requested.  They have:

  • Turkey
  • Roast Beef
  • Tuna
  • Muffletta
  • Chicken Salad
  • And a vegetarian option

But it’s not that simple.  The turkey has oven dried tomato, homemade pickles, havarti, and remoulade.  Yum!  I ordered the muffletta.  It was salami, capicola, ham, provolone, muffletta relish, pepperoncini and it seemed like there was a garlic spread as well.  Here’s my lunch (at my desk later this afternoon):

For my side I ordered the Quinoa salad.  They also have Orzo and Cous Cous.

When lunchtime came I found myself going “mmm” and “m-mmm” with each new bite.  The  sandwich was perfect and the Quinoa salad was amazing!  The potato chips were fabulous and I’m a potato chips snob.  And the cookie was the right kind of soft.  A perfect-tasting, perfectly-sized little chocolate chip cookie.  Ooo, it was a good lunch.  Gotta treat yourself once in a while right?

So the idea with these guys is that they are there so that if you live in the Glendale/Glassell Park/Highland Park/Eagle Rock area, you can drive by there in the morning from 7 AM to 10 AM and pick up your gourmet lunch for the day.  But it gets better!  All their proteins are hormone-free and sustainably farmed.  All their breads are baked daily at Breadbar (artisan bread-makers).  And they use 100% recyclable paper products for their packaging!

Furthermore, L.A. Bento delivers!  Both figuratively (in all that I’ve mentioned above) and literally!  If you get your order in by 11:30 AM!  For orders of 10 or more, the delivery fee is waived.  This would be a great way to cater an office lunch or a small (or large!) film shoot.   Healthy and yummy!

Or just come hang out on their sidewalk, listening to the Glassell Park roosters, from 7 am to 10 am and enjoy some great coffee and an amazing croissant.

You might wonder why I have no picture of the box, since it *is* a “lunch-in-a-box” place!   Well, these guys are so fresh-on-the-market that their snazzy boxes haven’t arrived yet.  They arrive Tuesday September 30th.  But no worries about this food establishment, it’s run by the creative and passionate minds behind Room Forty.  Check ’em out!

Here’s the deets one more time:

  • 7 am – 10 am – buy coffee, pastries and an awesome to-go lunch at the window
  • until 11:30 am – order lunches for delivery (for orders of 10 or more, delivery is free)

L.A. Bento

3329 Division St, LA CA 90065


    COFFEE HOUSE – Nicholasville, KY

    May 17, 2009

    I haven’t been here, but I found it online and I thought I’d highlight it as a place I’d like to visit.

    Main and Maple Coffee House in Nicholasville, Kentucky

    I’m admittedly a coffee-snob thanks to my training at Peets and as such I find it hard to recommend a place that doesn’t understand and serve good espresso and real fresh coffee.  However, I’ve read through this website and I think that aside from serving coffee (the basics) they just seem to be doing everything else right as a “coffee shop”.

    Their mission is “to be a safe place for people from all walks of life to come and enjoy not only great food and drink, but also friendship and fellowship.”  What a great mission for a coffee place!  A safe place.  I like that.  If you scroll down even further on the main page you’ll see that they offer free wifi all the time!  I love them already.  And if I visit their establishment before 8 AM on Monday through Friday, I GET A FREE SCONE!  Are you kidding me?  They’re giving away pastries!  That’s insane!

    I also love that customers can get a free fill of coffee on a specialty drink purchase.  I always thought that was something that coffee shops should be doing and I love that these people are doing it.

    Just like a local LA coffee shop owner, Chuck Jones, who says “life’s too short for bad coffee”, the owner of this Nicholasville, KY coffee shop, a guy named Jim, says “life is too short to be difficult.”  I like that too.

    A look at their drink selection suggests to the educated barista that they might not truly understand good espresso, but they seem to have a wide selection of syrups to satisfy the mid-westerners palate.  That’s nice.  And while they don’t serve loose-leaf, I do appreciate their tea selection.

    And no great coffee shop would be complete without a great selection of breakfast items, tasty sandwiches and healthy wraps.  These guys even have flatbread pizzas!

    Finally, they have live musicians every Friday and Saturday night.  They’re getting almost all As!

    Now if only I could be sure that they don’t serve a dead shot.


    June 6, 2008

    Translate this:

    Uso para: metodo tradicional. Cafeteira eletrica e cafeteira italiana.

    We were given some Brazilian coffee for Ryan’s birthday…

    (Just for reference, if you give either of us coffee, it’s for both of us. It just is.).

    So Ryan was given some pre-ground Brazilian coffee for his birthday. We put it in the freezer before we went to the East Coast two weeks ago, and I took it out yesterday to thaw.

    (Again, for reference, you should only put coffee in the freezer like you put fish or other fleshy foods. Don’t keep taking it out and putting it back in. You’ll bleach the flavour from the coffee and it’ll no better than hot black water once you brew it.)

    So this morning, Ryan was asking me where the coffee filters are… We typically use the French press or make espresso-drinks, so for him to be asking where the filters are was kinda odd. Then I remembered the Brazilian coffee. I hopped up to check the grind. Ryan was right, it was definitely too fine for French press, but it almost seemed too fine for a perc. So I suggested that he try making a shot with it. Espresso. He was nervous, but he tried. Besides, we were out of filters anyway.

    The whole package was in Brazilian… ahem, Portuguese. So trotted over to my brand-spankin’ new hand-me-down 15″ PowerBook G4 and typed in and lo and behold, Yahoo has acquired Babelfish! It looks the same and works the same, it’s just couched in Yahoo-ness.

    And I translated the Portuguese text. It was all in Portuguese so it took some time to find the right text to translate. It read thusly:

    Use stops: traditional method. Electric coffee pot and Italian coffee pot.

    What? Use for either? Electric or Italian? A quick Google reveals that in Brazil, they are “traditionally” the same thing.

    So Ryan made his espresso with our American-Italian coffee maker. A Breville. It was actually pretty good! I’d wimped out and used our decaf whole beans.


    May 2, 2008

    If it sounds like a news headline, it’s because it was news!  Today!

    We heard the helicopters start circling about 9 AM.  Around 10 AM we left to go get some keys recut and the old Russian dudes that repair shoes near our place had the news on.  They told us that the four (4) helicopters that we saw were monitoring a mountain lion sighting not 0.10 miles from our apartment!

    Mountain lion!?

    We crossed the street, keeping a close eye to the West below where the “ghetto-birds” were circling, and entered S’work Coffee for some sweet nectar.  They were unaware of the situation and we did our neighbourly duty by informing the barista of the danger.  He didn’t take us too seriously.

    We sat near the door for a while watching the copters circle.  Finally, we decided to chance the walk home.  Hours later, they called off the search, noting that it might have been a bobcat, not a mountain lion.

    Life is exciting in the foothills!


    March 21, 2008

    …from Kauai.

    If you live in an area bereft of Trader Joe’s and you like coffee, I have a little bit of pity for you today.  Currently, Trader Joe’s has a Limited Edition Peaberry from Kauai.  According to the can, the coffee is bright, smooth, and sweet.  Boy, are they right!

    From Wiki: peaberry, also known as caracoli, is a type of coffee bean. Normally the fruit of the coffee plant develops as two halves of a bean within a single cherry, but sometimes only one of the two seeds gets fertilized so there is nothing to flatten it. This oval (or pea-shaped) bean is known as peaberry. Typically around 5% of all coffee beans harvested are of this form.

    We brewed the first batch in our 12-cup french press.  And the result was lovely.  I found the roast to be a little hard, the bean is slightly burnt; but the flavour comes through!  Medium acidity, medium body.  Bright and sweet.  Very sweet!

    So if you live near a Trader Joe’s and love good coffee, go buy this whole bean peaberry coffee!  Or come over to our place and I’ll brew you some.  Cheers!


    November 8, 2007

    I liked this one.