Coffee Secrets Articles
Los Angeles exudes glamour. Even with its traffic, sprawl, and unrelenting smog, the iridescent veneer of celebrity lends the city a unique allure.
One of the most exciting things about being out and about in LA is the possibility that you might collide with one of the countless stars that stud the city. And just like astronomical stars that gather in galaxies, celebrities tend to cluster in certain places. And we ordinary folk go to these places in hopes of catching a glimpse of someone extraordinary.
Urth Caffé, an LA-based café chain, is known to be one of those places. Celebrities from Miley Cyrus and Kylie Jenner to Jessica Alba and Joe Jonas have been spotted at its locations.
On a recent visit to LA, I ate brunch – the most glamorous of meals – at Urth Caffé to see what it was like to dine at one of LA’s top celebrity hotspots, and to see if I could recognize any faces.
I took a Bird scooter from a subway stop in Los Angeles to the Urth Caffé in the Arts District, which is full of converted industrial buildings.
The exterior of the restaurant was stunningly glamorous, with art-deco tiles and a rotating sign.
Lees ook op Business Insider
The West Hollywood location is especially popular with celebrities, but I decided to come to this location because I planned to spend the day in Downtown LA.
As I entered, I heard two men discussing a fashion show over their meal.
Diners were a mix of ordinary families and power brunchers.
The line to order was long. There’s mobile order pick-up, but if you want to sit down, you order at the counter and take a number with you.
The menu board was full of imaginative drinks ranging from boba to matcha to other kinds of tea — all organic, of course.
The laminated breakfast menu was a wonderland of glamorous breakfast concoctions, like lox breakfast pizza, avocado toast, and bread puddings.
Everything, of course, was organic, natural, farm-fresh, or something like it.
At the counter, there was a pastry case full of gorgeous cakes.
There are plenty of products to take home, such as bagged coffees and this bag of gluten-free crunchy cereal.
Finally, I ordered, took my number, and sat down at a table near the fireplace.
I could not get enough of the colorful decor.
The soaring ceiling and wooden rafters made me feel like I was in a movie.
But a kitschy mural of stock photos from Asia and Africa stopped me in my tracks. It was the decor equivalent of the white savior Barbie Instagram account.
Thankfully, my rising sun matcha latte arrived.
It was made with coconut milk (as is standard) and topped with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, which, sadly, was the best part.
Otherwise, this matcha latte was more looks than substance.
Sometimes a drink is more exciting in a photo than it is in real life. Did I mention Instagram?
Soon, my poach di parma — a fancy name for eggs Benedict with a hipster twist — arrived.
This dish, too, would be right at home on Instagram.
Say it three times fast: toasted ancient grain ciabatta, garlic truffle aioli, sautéed wild mushrooms, prosciutto di Parma, poached eggs, wild arugula, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sage butter served with seasonal melon.
To be honest, I only know what half of those words mean. But they sounded good, and the dish looked really, really pretty.
I poked my fork into a poached egg.
A bright orange yolk spilled from its center.
An egg is not just an egg. An egg laid by a hen that’s spent her life roaming a pasture is more likely to be bright orange.
I was starstruck at first bite. Every element of this dish joined forces to create a celestial harmony of flavor and texture in my mouth.
The perfectly poached egg was nestled under a bed of aromatic arugula and pungent Parmesan.
It melted onto a bed of salty prosciutto.
Underneath the prosciutto was a mushroom schmear that added earthy depth to the dish.
All these flavors were supported by a sturdy, crunchy, yet forgiving slab of whole-grain ciabatta toast.
I was less impressed with the seasonal melon, however. It was tough and not very sweet.
Festive music played in the background as I ate.
Turkish sounds melded with West African melded with Christmas oldies — a mix that was very much in line with the café’s retro-international vibe.
I quickly plowed through the rest of my meal, leaving the melon mostly untouched.
I was satisfied, but there were still so many intriguing foods, drinks, and sweets that I didn’t have the chance to try.
Was it too late to order a breakfast pizza or a bread pudding? I hadn’t even looked at the lunch menu.
If I were a Angeleno, I’d haunt my local Urth Caffé regardless of my celebrity status (or lack thereof).
It’s an otherworldly meal in a setting that’s just as fantastical and even a little kooky. Even if I didn’t encounter any stars, I felt like I’d dipped into their world for a morning. I wouldn’t mind doing it again.
Like most agricultural products, coffee beans have an environmental footprint. The journey from bean to cup involves many steps and supply chains. Finding a sustainable coffee source means finding coffee that is environmentally farmed, harvested and packaged.
The way the coffee plant is grown has environmental consequences. A shift from “shade grown” to “full sun” coffee plant growing comes with harmful effects. Full sun coffee is grown without other plant species and often uses deforested land for maximum sun impact. Shade grown coffee on farms reduced from 43% to 24% between 1996 and 2010. Find coffee that is shade grown certified.
A coffee guide by the Audubon Society tells consumers to avoid beans grown in Vietnam or Brazil. While these are the two largest coffee-producing countries, the majority of farms in these areas use full sun cultivation techniques. India, Ecuador and Peru coffees are often shade grown.
When buying coffee, it’s also important to consider how you will make the coffee at home. Sujatha Bergen, Director of Health Campaigns, Health and Food Division of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told Mic how to consume coffee responsibly, “at the same time, billions of coffee cups are thrown away each year around the world, and only a tiny fraction of these are recycled. The plastic coating on these cups pollutes our landfills, and contributes to the global plastic pollution problem that plagues our oceans and waterways.”
There are a few other ways to advocate for better coffee agriculture. Don’t buy single-use coffee pods and bring your own cups to cafes. Bergen also encourages citizens to lobby and vote for trade policy in their home countries. These policies affect supply and demand of coffee and contribute to safe environmental agriculture.
Read more about coffee in One Green Planet. Check out these articles:
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Also, don’t forget to download the Food Monster App on iTunes — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy!
Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
Austin’s Independence Brewing Company released a new seasonal ale that capitalizes on a coffee craze: nitro coffee. That’s a brew charged with nitrogen, to preserve the coffee’s freshness and yield a rich, creamy head. This blonde ale has a smooth coffee flavor that fans of nitro cold-brew coffee will especially appreciate.
The beer is different from most coffee-flavored ales. Although coffee porters and stouts show dark-roasted coffee flavors, they rely heavily on malts for their richer, bolder profile. As a blonde ale, Up and Down: Brazil is lighter on the palate. The coffee flavor is fresh, light and pure. There’s just a hint of malty-grain sweetness and a faint caramel note backing the smooth, nitro coffee profile. With tiny nitrogen bubbles, the texture is smooth.
“Working with coffee in beer is risky,” says head brewer Brannon Radicke. “If not properly handled, it can quickly degrade to a stale kind of vegetal flavor … By using a light blonde ale as a neutral base, there’s no way to hide off flavors. We decided that the only way we were going to do this beer was if we could nitrogenate the beer instead of carbonating with CO2. In our experience nitro produces a more shelf-stable product. There’s a reason why most of the canned coffees you see on the shelf are nitro.”
The 5.6% ABV ale is packaged using the same technology used for nitro cold-brew coffee: A plastic “widget” at the bottom of the can stores tiny nitrogen bubbles that are oxygen-activated, meaning they release when the can is opened. But there’s a trick to getting that foamy head on the beer: You must pour the beer vertically (holding the can up-side down over the glass), not at an angle. A pint glass is ideal for serving.
To make the beer, the Austin brewery collaborated with Little City Coffee Roasters, an Austin roastery known for roasting small batches of fair-trade coffee beans sourced from small lots throughout the world. Representatives from the brewery and roastery traveled throughout Brazil to find the ideal coffee beans. They settled on a Yellow Bourbon bean from a grower whose micro lot won a Cup of Excellence Award in 2018. The brewery hopes to feature beans from other growing regions in the world for future releases of this ale. Up and Down: Brazil does contain caffeine, about one-third the amount of a standard cup of coffee.
Independence Brewing Company is pushing the envelope with a holiday ale, too: The “Hop Brownie Ale,” called End Credits, is sold at Alamo Drafthouse theaters through Dec. 31. Up and Down: Brazil will be more widely available all winter long. It’s sold in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans for about $8.99 at Central Market and Whole Foods Market now, and will be in many more stores by January.
Tina Danze is a Dallas freelance writer.
AD PRO: The new aesthetic is bright and coastal, a big departure from the formerly red, dark interiors. What inspired the shift?
IP: From an aesthetic point of view, it has a nod towards both Ben’s past and mine. Ben is from New York, so it references the pre-war buildings there. I started my professional life in Miami Beach, so this has a little bit of that—the Art Deco, scalloped bar, and porthole mirrors. It is a meeting of both of those worlds.
AD PRO: Let’s talk about that oval bar. Why the oval shape?
IP: We wanted a bar that you can sit and look across so you can have a see-and-be-seen thing. The shape is something fun. The curved tiles were hard to find. There is a source in Italy that makes tiles like these…I emailed them 10 times and never got a response. So, I had to use a different source. I found these at Ann Sacks.
Name: The Annie Café & Bar
Design Team: Architect Issac Preminger and owner Ben Berg
Size: 11,000 square feet
Location: Uptown Houston
Project timeline: Four months
Biggest challenge: To find readily available materials within two months, in the quantity we needed
Strangest source: The herringbone floor is from England. We bought everything [the supplier] had and it was just enough to do the space.
Biggest-ticket item: The interior steel doors and windows
Smallest-ticket item: Original light fixtures from Grand Central Station. I got at least two or three for $850 at auction.
Rise and shine, morning people and sleepyheads alike, because Mt. Angel has a new breakfast spot. Joshua and Elisha Nightingale, owners of Silverton’s Live Local Marketplace & Café, have branched out to Mt. Angel for their second act, but instead of opening a second coffee shop, they’ve scaled up.
Business owners ready for a new challenge
The Nightingales purchased Live Local from the previous owner three and a half years ago, after seeing a Craigslist post, said Elisha, when she was looking to buy some patio furniture.
She called Joshua, then a manager at Safeway, who was as ready to jump into entrepreneurship as she was.
The couple had long dreamed of having a business. One big investment and three months later, Joshua had left his job and Elisha had worked non-stop to reopen Live Local as their own.
Photos: Courtyard Cafe in Dallas has new owners
After gaining experience, three years later, they began looking in Molalla, Stayton, and Mt. Angel to open a second spot.
At Live Local, said Joshua, “our kitchen is so limited.” It was important they find a second space that could not only handle its own volume but also house a bakery for both.
Plus, Elisha added, “we didn’t want to compete against ourselves.”
They opened Cast Iron Café, located at 415 S Main Street Mt. Angel, in early November. The restaurant offers breakfast all day and lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., along with a variety of coffee and tea beverages.
On the menu at Cast Iron Cafe
An enormous skillet hangs on the front wall at the Nightingale’s new business. Windows flanking the front door and along one wall fill the space with natural light and the walls are decorated with prints of photos from their travels.
It was a trip to Portugal that inspired them to add a machine that squeezes fresh orange juice to the café counter. There, they were so taken with the sweet-sour vibrancy of fresh-made juice, said Joshua, they had to find a way to get the same experience at home.
In deciding what the café would serve the Nightingales wanted to offer dishes with a coziness to them, but avoid repeating the same options one could have anywhere. They strive to offer a balance of hearty comfort food dishes and those with a fresh, modern take as well, including options for those avoiding gluten, meat, or dairy.
Support local journalism: Stay informed with all of the latest food and drink news. Become a Statesman Journal subscriber and get unlimited digital access to stories that matter.
The name they selected for Cast Iron ended up offering inspiration. Much of the breakfast menu and several of the lunch dishes as well arrive in miniature cast-iron dishes.
The Farmers Feast Skillet ($12) combines ham, bacon, eggs and herbed potatoes with bourbon cheese sauce. The menu includes both classic buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy ($8) and a vegetarian version made with mushroom gravy ($8).
At lunchtime, the Avocado Bowl ($9), one of the café’s several vegetarian options, is also served skillet-style. A combination of roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, it’s topped with black bean pico de gallo, half an avocado and chipotle sour cream.
Chili with sweet jalapeno cornbread, seasonal skillet pot pies, beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes, and even a massive cinnamon roll designed to share all arrive in cast iron.
Executed by cook Michael Guerrero, the menu also includes sandwiches, a daily soup, and weekend specials. The Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich ($11) is inspired by the classic dish, a grilled chicken breast with ham, dill, mustard and Swiss cheese on a house-baked roll.
Pastry chef Cassi Leland handles the café’s daily baking, which includes all of the buns for sandwiches, pastries, muffins, scones, and croissants.
The Nightingales plan to add some grab-and-go options for those having breakfast or lunch on the run, and Cast Iron has a drive-through for picking up specialty coffee beverages or Metolius tea.
Even if Mt. Angel is out of your way, the Cast Iron Café could make getting up early worth it.
Emily Teel is the Food & Drink Editor at the Statesman Journal. Contact her at [email protected], Facebook, or Twitter. See what she’s cooking and where she’s eating this week on Instagram: @emily_teel
If you go
Where: 415 S Main Street Mt. Angel
When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays (except Wednesday), 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends, closed on Wednesdays
Information: Cast Iron Cafe (Facebook)