Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Caffe FRICKIN' Vita. Are you serious? I Love you.

Yesterday I failed miserably at my attempt to have a coffee and do work at Groundworks cafe. And thank God for that. Because I stumbled into a coffee cloud land. Or out of one and into an alternate-fantasy Universe that I will now call Caffe Vita. 

I decided to venture out of the coffee capitol of LA (East LA) because I oddly craved Groundworks' brick walls. Big time. I also felt like being in a not-entirely-hipstered-out atmosphere, as well as drinking a "regular" cup of dark coffee that maybe wasn't brewed in a science beaker. (I love current coffee culture, but when it comes to plain coffee I am  happy with Peets or Starbucks because I like it very dark and I find the wonderful elements you get with Clover or Siphon brewing is sometimes just too light or nuanced for me, especially when I want a Garfield-style, hair-raising, bracing cuppa Joe).

After driving in circles (and traffic) looking for parking in Hollywood for over half an hour, I ambled home in a coffee-craving tizzy, debating all the places I could go that would give me what I wanted. Nothing was quite right. This Goldilocks needed her Wee Bear-coffee shop.  As the sun set and dusk settled in blue and purple on the hills, I sat in my car waiting to turn on Hillhurst but not knowing where I was going. I may have begun to whimper.

During this Bourgeois torment, I noticed some commotion through an open door at "that corner place that I remember seeing was supposed to be a coffee joint at some point".  Namely, Caffe Vita. Right at the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Sunset dr.

Time to dive into the unknown. :) (Random tip: do that)

Walking there I knew it was right. The air was nice and cold, and I laughed as I passed by the giant brick wall that is Rudy's barbershop, the same building that is shared by Caffe Vita. Ask And It Shall Be Given!

I walked in, having no clue what I was in for and the vibe was excellent! I felt instantly happy and calm. It was welcoming and warm. It had lots of light, but still cozy, with that modern metal-and-wood look. The people who worked there were smiling at me in a real way; everyone seemed positive and pleasant, talking at the tables and enjoying their coffee.  The barista girl was adorable and genuinely nice, and when I stumbled to the counter and said "I jus' wanna cup of coffee, do you have like, clover, or different ways of brewing?" - prepared to have to choose my price-tier of coffee extraction methods - she said "well we just do one brew for the day, it's French Press (great) and today it's Sumatra (GREAT!)".

I said it was for here and she reached for a big-ass beautiful ceramic mug asking if that's what I wanted. YESYESYES!!  It was like being at a diner or Peet's but with the added foodie-joy of getting high-quality, indie-roasted beans.

Here is a photo of the mug from 10best.com. So sorry I didn't take my OWN photo that day but this is just what it looked like.  God I love simple, earthy, sexy things.

They are a Seattle-based roasting company but plan to have a roaster in the cafe itself. I'm trying to contain my delight!

If that wasn't all enough fun, when I went to pay she said "oh and it's free, it's our grand opening so we're giving coffee away all day today!".  WhhhaaaaAAAAT??!!

Cloud land. Heaven! It was just what I had envisioned, thinking I'd end up at Groundworks, yet somehow better. Little did I know I would be steered into a higher-consciousness level of coffee-enjoyment that night.

Kids, trust the Universe. If things aren't working out and find yourself driving away from your goal, having no idea where you are going, stay open, keep your eyes on the prize and let your dreams get delivered to you.

Oh ya, and the Sumatra was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. I dare say perfect.

No I'm saying it. It was perfect.  PERFECT!

Not just because it was rich and dark without being bitter, but because it was what I wanted. I can't think of a better place to go then the place that miraculously gives you exactly what you want. 

To be continued...(with more photos)!

Caffe Vita (the new place to go before or after a Vista movie, yay!)
4432 W Sunset Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-6535

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I'm Back, Pho Sho'!

    There are very few things that can substitute for a lack of sex. And/or Love. In fact, there might just be two things that I have found that do the trick. One is dancing and the other is eating good food.

    When you don't have a steady income or a boyfriend, it's hard to get either (the good sex or the good food!) so I haven't been out to eat for dinner for a long time. I remember to keep dancing, one way or another, but if I ever splurge on food it's for take out, and I end up sitting alone in a similar fashion as when I cook at home. AKA staring at the TV for company.

    So when I got a particularly intense craving to make love to some Pho from Pho Cafe on Sunset tonight, I couldn't resist dining in. I had been on a long walk around Silver Lake reservoir with it's grey and slightly pink, cold and foggy sky, and sitting in that bright, long, savory cafe with a hot steaming bowl of Pho beneath me was exactly what I wanted.

    I took a shower, turned it to cold for a brief minute before getting out and drove down sunset with a warm/cold tingle all over my skin and a faint rumble in my stomach.  Miraculously, I got a parking spot in the lot. Having been used to writing in cafes lately as well as being self-conscious about being alone, I brought a notebook along just in case I wanted to work. Or...ahem, look like someone who didn't have a hard time finding a dinner date. But as soon as I sat down and tunnel-visioned myself into that menu, I knew my work wouldn't have much of a chance. And I realized there is nothing quite as nice as being 33 with a hungry stomach and a warm sweater and not giving a damn that you're alone because you are sitting in a bright, welcoming restaurant about to remember how to live your life.

    Eggs rolls with mung beans, good-oily and warm with piles of lettuce, mint, lemon grass and... other green leaves, unidentified, I ate merrily like a starving orphan child. I had decided to spend $20 maximum and you can easily spend less than that at Pho Cafe and get a wonderfully hearty and soothing meal.  So that exciting pre-dinner indulgence was also excitingly practical!

    Shortly after the glorious appetizer arrived came my #13; Free range chicken and ginger and noodle soup. In a big, white, steaming bowl waiting just for me. "Yes, my pretty, I see you there, I will get to you soon" *munch, crunch, shlerp, scrumnch" on the egg rolls and "lickety smack" on my fingers. My notebook sat idling underneath utensils and extra dishes for dipping sauce. Then I brought the big bowl of Pho towards my body slowly and started in on that. With all the multitasking I do in a day, even if it's just staring at the computer and getting lost in pseudo-important emails, I had forgotten how enjoyable, sexy and lovable it is to just EAT. Not at home, but SOMEWHERE. Around HUMAN BEINGS. Like it mattered. Like I was a part of the world. This is what happens when you spend too much time on a computer and come up for air. It was divine.

    I tore off pieces of basil leaf from the stem and sprinkled them over the broth, calm and serene like a Panda Bear, waiting for the Pho to cool down.  Bean sprouts, hoisin sauce, too, and a squeeze of lime thank you very much. I had all the time in the world. The photo doesn't do it justice since it was taken with my little flip phone, but maybe it imparts what all the color and warmth a simple meal can bring you when you focus on eating because you're hungry, and nothing else. Mmm I could eat it all over again.

    There may not be anyone in my bed at the moment, but my heart certainly feels a bit more relaxed tonight after having this meal. Oh how I underestimated you, Food! How could I have forgotten!?

    If you're single or you're stressed and spending lots of time at home lately, don't let yourself forget how to enjoy a good meal. Turn off the phone, take a deep breath, look down at what your eating, and get back in the game. That's the secret to good sex and Love I think, and as it turns out, of course, good food too.

2841 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90026
(213) 413-0888