Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rose Cafe

This place is a Venice institution since 1979, in a once converted Gas Company building. I've been going here since I was a little girl. I've enjoyed breakfasts with mom on the outdoor full-service restaurant patio or a quick breakfast at the tables and chairs near the deli counter and when I have more time a leisurely lunch outside with friends. At lunch my favorite sandwich is a smoke turkey with a thin slice of nutty salty parmesan and a delicious sweet aioli dressing. It's my perfect combination. My favorite thing to do is come early morning, order the breakfast special, croissant, scone or bagel with a wedge of brie cheese, butter and jam and a very dark deep rich cup of coffee, latte or tea. If you choose the coffee, be warned it's strong so if you like that kind its all yours, go black. I, on the other hand, need the milk, and lots of it. Early in the morning you'll usually see a pack of elderly men who have just finished their bicycle ride, some scruffy celebrity incognito, or a mix of muscular men, fresh from their work-out, at the nearby Golds Gym. My mom fell in love with the glass mugs here, there basic, but she loves to see the milk swirl around the coffee so I grew up with a set of these at home. Also for the jam lovers, they always seem to give me orange marmalade, so not my favorite, now, ritually I have to ask for the grape or raspberry, whatever they have that is NOT orange marmalade. Every month they change the art work in the cafe, usually local artists, always cool, but not cheap. And if you get there after 10am you can stroll through the gift shop, this is one of the best places to buy unique gifts from Japanese tea sets to funky business card holders. I almost can never resist a purchase here, it's as eclectic as the Venice neighborhood. Los Angeles Magazine call it the "Best Restaurant Gift Shop." I agree. Rose Cafe is at the corner of Rose Avenue and Main Street on the border of Santa Monica and Venice. 220 Rose Ave.
Venice, CA 90291

Corner of Main St. & Rose Ave.
1 hr free parking w/ validation

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Amandine Cafe

Every Tuesday morning I meet up with C. We do our volunteer work before we have to hit the road for our day jobs. Part of the morning always includes stopping for coffee and a bite to eat. This is where I always order a LATTE and thus resulted in my adventure in the last post.We usually like to seek out a new place that is quaint and relaxing before we have to multi-task our lives away. What always fits our needs is Amandine's, which is owned by Ryuta Toyshima and has been open since 2003. When we arrive we are shyly greeted by the same two people (Luis and Elice) who are behind the counter in white chefs smocks making your Lattes, delivering to your table, and plating your order. Behind the glass in the back you can see someone frosting their beautiful cakes that will soon be behind the glass to tempt you even more.
I time my visits to when my favorite Amandine pastry is out of the oven, the almond croissant. I don't believe I've ever had something so delicious. The croissant is buttery inside, crunchy on the outside and the sliced almonds are roasted perfectly, this is a comforting treat. I even took one to work and gave it to a coworker. I got an email back in seconds that just said "YUM, what's inside, it's so buttery?" The fresh fruit on the pinwheel pastry is so tasty and has just enough crunch and butter to put a smile on your face.They call themselves a European Bakery country style bakery cafĂ© that features a mouth watering array of freshly baked cakes and pastries, soups, quiche, salads, sandwiches and much more. I have yet to try anything past the brioche, croissants, tarts and scones. Their Lattes are particularly soothing with the right amount of warm delicious milk and espresso. This just puts you in the right frame of mind to face the LA commute. Every week their Olympia, Washington coffee beans are delivered within 3 days after they’re roasted, which is probably why the coffee is so enticing. I always get to Amandine's early during the week and the line isn't too bad, but I recently made a trip on a Saturday morning, it's an interesting mix of patrons on the weekend, and the line gets long quite quickly. My favorite place is to sit in the front by the windows next to all the pastries. From here you can study the whole chalkboard menu or decide what pastry you'll try next. Or you how about the croissant aux amandes.

Amandine Cafe
12225 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What A Coffee Habit Can Lead Too

So I love coffee. I don't drink it like I used too, but I dream about it often. I also like drinking coffee in a nice porcelain cup, which says I like to drink it leisurely. Occasionally....well all the time...I'm rushing around so I usually need to get my coffee to go. As you'll learn in my next post I have a favorite place for coffee and pastries. This particular day I had my cup of joe to go. And low and behold I have been persuaded by the coffee cozie, you know the ones that keep you from burning your hands to death while you enjoy the aroma and taste of those Sumatran beans.

A little background here to this overly complicated story, I live in the City of Angels. We love our Lakers basketball team he
re. Recently though, due to a lovely British import, by way of Spain, much attention has been diverted to the LA Galaxy.

I'm a soccer fan, love to wa
tch the World Cup and enjoy watching the English League games. But having Becks in LA has really boosted my MLS viewing. Thanks to my coffee habit and a great promotional ad campaign for the LA Galaxy I succumbed to the advertising and bought 1 ticket and got 1 free from Ticketmaster's special LATTE. I got fantastic seats in the club level row. Ate the Home Depot Centers stadium food, you have to when you go to these games. I happily slurped my beer and wolfed down my hotdog. The fans at this game were great, everyone around was really into the game and knew the players from both teams. We cheered, yelled at the refs, and high fived it through the game. Galaxy lost tonight, but me and C had a fantastic time. Can't wait to till the next game. Oh and I guess TomKat was there as Becks waved to someone in the stands, I just saw the frenzy of fans excited and chasing them down. I on the other hand was working my way down to row A convinced I was going to get a Beckham jersey from the real deal, to no avail. But I did I manage to sneak a few pictures.

Some people look good coming and going. What else is there to say.


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