Located inside of a soccer facility, the cuisine at Nano's Cafe crosses several culinary borders. Diners can feast on egg, cheese, and bacon sandwiches for breakfast, or send their taste buds to Central America with quesadillas and tacos, or standard American hamburger. On the sweeter side of things, the cafe tempts appetites with home-made brownies and banana bread.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
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.