Devan and Reena Shah, and Tek Mehreteab are passionate about tea. By sourcing leaves from eight regions in India, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan, they are able to proffer more than 300 standard and specialty varieties online and inside Chado Tea Room. The name Chado, taken from the Chinese cha, meaning "tea," and the Japanese do, meaning "path," speaks to the owners’ strict standards for their product. Many of their green, black, white, and oolong teas are USDA-certified organic; the Shahs also stock unique varieties such as Chinese pu-er teas and hand-tied blooming tea balls. In addition, they brew special house blends for morning, afternoon, and evening, helping customers find the right blend to start the day or serve to bats that have invaded their home.
Staffers pair teas with an array of cream-topped scones, cookies, cakes, and roasted savory sandwiches during teatime at Chado's three tearooms. Though each location is decorated differently, the same three-tiered sandwich platters and steaming pots of tea travel between panda paintings hanging in the Los Angeles location, underneath strings of holiday lights at the Pasadena location, and between ceiling-high wooden shelves stocked with mugs, filters, teapots, and bags of loose-leaf tea at the Hollywood location.
One sunny afternoon, Ginnie Lu and her friends sat in a café sipping hot drinks and chatting about how much they would love to run their own tea and coffee house. When the group realized that they had the means to carve their dream into reality, they spent the next two years saving and planning. Finally, in 2010, they opened Four Leaf Tea Room, a cozy enclave where guests can sip specialty brews amidst the aromas of sweet and savory crepes. Mugs of oolong and chrysanthemum keep fingers warm during the year's cooler temperatures, and when the summer returns, they cool down with iced teas and mango freezes on an outdoor patio.
Despite Four Leaf’s name, its upscale, innovate crepes force its teas to share the limelight. A chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu dreams up the lavish fillings, pairing smoked salmon and caper-herb cream or soy-marinated chicken with crushed peanuts for savory meals. Sweet versions make use of exotic ingredients such as red-wine-poached pears, candied pecans, taro paste, and gelato. As guests fork into these creations, they can admire walls decorated with spring-green leaves and shelves filled with loose-leaf blends and prehistoric fossils of steam from early teas.
Vees Caf??s cooks plate up healthful breakfasts, sandwiches, and salads, while baristas deftly pour organic coffees, freshly brewed loose-leaf teas, homemade cold-pressed juices. Or try a fruit smoothie like the new Green Beast, which is packed with powerful protein, kale, spinach, and avocado. Omelets can be customized with toppings such as turkey bacon, black-forest ham, spinach, onion, fresh basil, and provolone cheese, and the tortilla of a breakfast burrito hugs scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, black beans, mushrooms, and chicken in a loving embrace. Or order the Just Protein Scramble, with egg whites, whole wheat toast, and chicken breast, which can be served with an organic salad or breakfast potatoes. Tortillas make an encore appearance during lunch, emerging from the kitchen as wholesome wraps stuffed with tuna salad and alfalfa sprouts, and choice of a side salad. Free WiFi dances through the air, bouncing off Vees Caf??s ever-changing collection of artwork and allowing laptops to drink their fill of Internet.
Though they’ve garnered the praise of national publications such as Bon Appètit and Nylon Magazine, the chefs at Pazzo Gelato are all about the local community. Each morning, they frolic through the city’s farmer’s markets to find seasonal inspiration, using organic ingredients whenever possible and steering clear of high-fructose corn syrup. Patrons can mix-and-match decadent combinations such as Madagascar vanilla and sea salt caramel or pistachio and red velvet. Vegan sorbettos include flavors such as toasted coconut and dark chocolate orange. All cool creations can be scooped into the shop’s biodegradable cups and waffle cones, or gently lobbed into a cup of espresso and whipped cream for the shop’s signature pazzogato. At the espresso bar, staffers pour aromatic cups of Intelligentsia coffee, loose-leaf tea, and drinking chocolate. The combination of cool and hot menu options makes the patio comfortable in summer, fall, and apocalyptic weather.
The recipe for the typical crepe is simple—a bit of flour, milk, water, a few eggs, some butter, and a dash of salt. Yet, transforming that batter into the golden, paper-thin canvases found in classic Parisian cafes—and more importantly, deciding what to put inside the crepe—requires real talent. Luckily, The Crepe Kitchen‘s master chef Yafit Barades eliminates the guesswork with her menu of made-to-order dinner and dessert crepes. With a flick of her wrist, Chef Barades creates edible envelopes for her complex and globally inspired flavors—such as the Italiano, which embellishes melted mozzarella and cheddar with pesto, turkey, and fresh basil. To satisfy their sweet hankerings, guests can enjoy butter-and-sugar, cinnamon-sugar, and Nutella crepes. For a supremely indulgent treat, patrons can tuck into the Oui Oui—a crunchy and sweet collaboration of caramelized walnuts, fresh fruit, and honey that’s more satisfying than watching your ex accidentally marry a mannequin.
The kitchen staff at Got Kosher? sidestep preservatives when making their daily yield of international kosher cuisine that includes French, Moroccan, and Tunisian dishes. Under the watchful eye of the onsite mashgiach, they prepare pulled beef brisket, Tunisian couscous, rotisserie chicken, Neshama gourmet kosher chicken, and turkey sausages served on pretzel rolls. Their flavorful fare has caught the attention of LA Weekly's Linda Burum, who calls the brik a l'oeuf?a deep-fried crepe folded over egg, capers, and tuna?"one of the world's great feats of culinary alchemy." In addition to a full slate of Ashkenazi and Sephardic dishes and a well-stocked deli case, Got Kosher? dispatches its full-service caterers to serve meals and resolve family feuds during weddings and special events.