A connoisseur by birth, Mark Ukra comes from a family of Middle Eastern tea merchants dating back 400 years. Mark, who was dubbed the Tea Doctor by a pair of brew-sipping toddlers, continues in his forebears' footsteps by searching teahouses and stalking wild teapots around the world. He and his wife, Julie, bought the Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium to educate patrons about tea’s health benefits and share its subtle taste in the outdoor zen garden. The venture was a success, and the business has popped up in all sorts of media—The View, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Confidential magazine, to name just a few.
Dr. Tea’s library of more than 50 varieties of loose-leaf teas and more than 60 varieties of Chinese herbs includes award-winning CapaTeano drinks and Chinese herbal tonics. Its earthy blends range from standard Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and jasmine teas to tempting flavors including herbal caramel dream and black-label teas such as the rare Huo Shan Huang Ya tea. During monthly tea tastings, patrons can sip from samples of white, green, oolong, and black teas, followed by discussions of the four tea groups.
Walking into Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill, one may get the sensation of having stepped into a snapshot of the past. “The Beverly Hills business lays claim to being the only remaining pharmacy in the region with a counter and soda fountain, where patrons can enjoy old-time favorites such as egg-cream sodas and hand-spun malted shakes,” says a reporter for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Perched at the original pharmacy counter, which has been serving food since 1962, customers hoist hunger-defeating burgers or freshly grilled sandwiches. Servers deliver hand-spun milk shakes and malts crafted with artisan ice cream and crowned with whipped cream like a court summons from King Candy. The aisles are still stocked with beauty and healthcare products, which customers peruse, distracted by the aromas of espresso, breakfast burritos, and housemade meatloaf.
From its first location in West Hollywood to its free-range food truck, Rounds Premium Burgers doles out mighty American burgers made with beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie patties along with a large selection of fries. Specialty rounds include The Slopper, a messy pile of chili, cheese, and onions. Custom burgers start with a foundation of daily-baked bread and a patty, which are then slathered with exotic sauces (from chipotle aioli to buttermilk ranch and tabasco ketchup) and layered with toppings such as crispy onion strings, breaded jalapeños, and grilled pineapple. From the burgers to the sweet-potato fries, the griddlemasters make all of their hearty, old-fashioned fare by hand.
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.
Though you'll find an array of lunch selections on the menu at Coffee Land, the shop pays most of its focus on two meals: breakfast and dessert. The staff begins each morning by setting up displays full of sweet pastries and fresh fruit, and by blending caffeinated drinks such as iced coffee and cappuccinos, along with more exotic options such as thai tea and boba smoothies. As the day heats up, they begin crafting sweeter options. Scoops of ice cream perch atop waffle cones, and whipped cream and chocolate syrup drench slices of banana and rich ice cream. Guests can linger over their treats at one of the intimate tables in the cherry-colored cafe, using the free WiFi to get some work done or build a website for their turkey sandwich.