Author: kirthi

14 Must-Try Coffee Shops in California

Whether you’re a late bird or an early riser, amazing coffee can be found beyond the chains. California takes its coffee game seriously, and so should you. Here are our local picks.

The Golden State has no shortage of coffee that’s as pretty to look at as it is delicious to drink.

San Francisco

1.) Awash in minimalist, natural light, white walls and blonde wood, the design-savvy Saint Frank in Russian Hill features specialties like almond macadamia milk latte along with drips, pour overs, espressos and cold brews. Nab a seat by the window and watch the world pass by.

2.) The beloved Blue Bottle Coffee (with various locales) still reigns as some of the best joe in the city. Want something on ice? Sip the smooth, New Orleans cold brew or opt for a subtle cappuccino, or the macchiato, which a barista always tops with coffee art (and yes, it’s practically begging for an Instagram).

3.) The industrial, two-story Sightglass serves its iced coffee in mason jars and their latest beans pick up a smooth taste with hints of cantaloupe and ripe strawberry.

4.) For those caffeine enthusiasts who don’t mind traveling for their coffee, the tiny outer Sunset café, Andytown, rules for its Snowy Plover: mineral water spiked with espresso and a dollop of whipped cream.

The Snowy Plover is one of Andytown’s signature brews. (Photo credit: Ruben Marquez)

Los Angeles 

5.) Nestled on a corner in Silver Lake, locals love the eco-friendly, indie Cafecito Organico. The shop might be small but there’s plenty of patio space to sip your Americano, punchy espresso Clandestino or a raw cocoa mocha.

6.) At the base of Runyon Canyon, preferably after you’ve hit the hiking trails, refuel at Blackwood Coffee Bar with an iced coffee and organic yogurt bowl starring strawberry rhubarb compote, made fresh at the shop. Or grab the signature cold namesake with two espresso shots and a zesty orange kick.

7.) Along a lovely, tree-lined street in West Hollywood, the sweetly whimsical Alfred Coffee and Kitchen is known for its bright visuals (just check out their Instagram) and to drink, too-pretty-to-drink lattes, matcha, tea and fresh juices from Raw Juicery and to nosh, breakfast burritos.

8.) LAMILL coffee fuels a morning work session at the buzz-worthy Jane Q restaurant inside Hollywood’s Kimpton Everly Hotel. Caffeine-lovers will be well taken care of by lead barista M’lissa Muckerman as she whips up classic coffee drinks like pour overs and lattes. Feeling punchy? Try the vodka cold brew for an extra kick.

Jane Q’s lead barista, M’lissa Muckerman, tops off an iced brew.

Sacramento

9.) The new gleaming, airy space at Temple Coffee Roasters with exposed brick and tiling made from pennies, makes a perfect spot for an almond milk mocha, rich hot chocolate (with a hint of coconut) or cascara tea using the coffee plant’s berries and nitrogen infused.

10.) With various locales, Chocolate Fish Coffee doles out a velvety, smooth white mocha and a latte-like flat white. For serious brew aficionados, try a cup from the Curtis Seraphim pour-over module and a few nibbles of a lemon blueberry scone.

11.) The spacious Insight Coffee (with a few shops) is perfect for sips of a sweet spiced chai latte and paired with a savory chive and cheddar biscuit. Want to up your coffee game? There are roasting classes and tea connoisseurs can jump into the mix with matcha and rare oolongs.

Insight Coffee is one of our favorite Sacramento spots to get a coffee fix.

San Diego

12.) In Little Italy, the rustic-woodsy Bird Rock Coffee Roasters features crowd-pleasing pour-overs, blends and single-origin beans to go. Live music and rotating local art round out this neighborhood spot.

13.) Order a Turkish latte with cardamom and raw sugar at the newly opened corner spot, Lofty Coffee. With a sidewalk coffee, you’ll find tea lovers drinking a refreshing lavender iced tea and snacking on made-in-house lemon poppy seed cookies and chocolate croissants.

14.) With its whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme, Littly Italy’s Heartsleeves Coffee is the perfect spot for an iced Vietnamese cold brew enjoyed with an apricot walnut scone. And for a lovely spring treat, the creamy lavender latte doesn’t disappoint.

3 Decadent Mushroom Recipes

Foraged or plucked from the local farmers market, we’re fans of mushrooms in all forms.

There’s nothing quite like the earthy richness mushrooms can add to a dish. Otherwise known as umami, this savory flavor can round out your favorite pasta or soup—or even make a unique cocktail.

As our forecast of 2019 Culinary + Cocktail Trends predicts, we’ll be seeing a lot more of mushrooms in the coming year. We’ve fallen hard for these three inventive mushroom recipes.

TRUMPET MUSHROOM BOLOGNESE

By Executive Chef Rich Falbo of Firefly (Washington, DC)

Trumpet mushrooms and fresh rosemary elevate the flavors in this delicious bolognese sauce—which also happens to be a perfect meatless variation.

View Recipe 

EVERY DAY I’M TRUFFLIN’

By Bar Director Caitlyn Jackson of Geraldine’s (Austin, TX)

Who says cocktails can’t be savory? The homemade thyme- and truffle-infused vodka in this cocktail is a showstopper—perfect for your next holiday gathering.

View Recipe 

TRUFFLE CONSOMMÉ

By Chef Christian Graves of Citizen Rail (Denver, CO)

Traditionally, chicken is the star of this decadent broth, but this variation kicks it up a notch with mushroom.

11 California Taco + Tequila Spots to Try Now

It’s no secret that California is home to some of the country’s best tacos, which goes hand in hand with a cold cerveza or tequila. From up and down the coast, we created a go-to Mexican-flared checklist with authentic eats including street style, Cali-Mex and coastal Baja grub.

San Diego

Handmade corn tortillas are key at Curadero

  • On the second floor of Hotel Palomar, drop by the late-night taco window at Curadero. Chefs Brad Kraten and Emiliano Najera’s casual Mexican style street food includes braised short rib “Saudero” tacos with marinated onions, cilantro, and chipotle peanut salsa and washed down with a classic El Viejo mixing tequila, agave, angostura and mole bitters.
  • In Pacific Beach, the colorful-chic restaurant Pueblo highlights duck confit and smoked marlin tacos. They’re served with all the fixings like chopped green olives, green cabbage, pico de gallo, capers and avocado. Locals take them to the rooftop alongside a proper range of 100% agave tequilas and mezcals.
  • Just a few blocks from the ocean, La Jolla’s Galaxy Taco serves Baja-style grub including fried fish tacos with lime chile cream and a meatless potato option with chorizo verde spice, kale, hoja santa and crispy jack cheese. Order a Cadillac margarita with reposado tequila, lime, agave and Mandarine Napoleon float.

Goodness piled high on house made heirloom masa (Spanish for dough). Photo credit: Galaxy Taco

Los Angeles

  • Served from his kitted out truck, Chef Wes Avila’s Guerilla Tacos cooks up a rotating menu of unique delights including creative concoctions like green bean and egg tacos or a sea snail taco with garlic butter, valley chili, pickled onion and cilantro.
  • From Chef Ray Garcia, the buzzy B.S. Taqueria creates an army of tacos featuring ingredients like mushroom and garlic and clams and lardo. Enjoy them in between sips of the refreshing “Pistolero” made with tequila blanco, pineapple cordial and Serrano.
  • The small, downtown storefront Sonoratown whips up northern Mexico-style street tacos including classics like the mesquite-fired carne asada taco lovingly prepared on handmade tortillas.

Huntington Beach

Fried avocado tacos sitting pretty at Pacific Hideaway

  • Inside the cheery Pacific Hideaway, vibrant coastal-inspired Ono Tacos doles out unique options from crispy avocado to tamarind glaze and Korean beef. In the mood to cook? Try Chef JT Walker’s favorite grilled taco recipe here.
  • With a menu befitting of its name, nab a patio seat at Solita Tacos and Margaritas and order from over ten varieties. Our favorites are the chile and garlic rubbed tofu or battered shrimp, both served on small fresh corn tortillas. Throw in a pitcher of crushed watermelon margaritas while you’re at it.

San Francisco

A classic margarita washes all of these tacos down.

  • In the Mission District, the 40-year old La Taqueria (touted by James Beard as an “American classic”) serves traditional style tacos with pork, beef or veggies made with only cilantro and onions. Wash everything down with a cool agua fresca made with strawberry or an earthy horchata with cinnamon.
  • Hidden in a back alley of chef Gabriela Camara’s upscale Cala, the lunch-only (and standing room only) Tacos Cala doles out authentic Mexico-City style tacos with braised pork and squid in adobo alongside refreshing fruit drinks.
  • For fish tacos, Nopalito subscribes to a local, sustainable philosophy of homemade delights like seared tacos with onion, orange, ancho chile adobo and tomatillo. Thirsty? Sip an “El Diablo” with tequila, cassis, Bundaberg ginger beer and lime.