Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quest For Coffee

Laila and the not so very good coffee.

Being a professional barista constantly leaves me in the odd and sometimes uncomfortable position of not being able to share the same enthusiasm of my friends and associates for their favorite coffees and coffee places. People always ask me what I think of this coffee or that coffee shop and regardless of what I really think, I hate to disparage their favorites.

Compounding the situation is that I have the rare luxury of working with some of the finest coffees available and brewing those coffees to very specific standards to produce specific and consistent results. Which makes it personally difficult for me when friends ask my opinion on coffee.

Our Chariot to the Stars

So, after buying a coffee across the street, Laila asks me what I think of the coffee. It's bland because they didn't use enough coffee to brew and the coffee itself is over roasted because I can taste the faint carbon char. Overall, it's watery and not very good and I'm hesitant to say that to Laila until she starts describing it similar to the way I'm tasting.

Ah, relief! I hate coming off as some sort of coffee geek or coffee snob. Since her palate is sensitive enough to describe the coffee in that way, I'm comfortable talking about my interpretation. It's not very good.

Arriving at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

After a quick conference, we decide to head over to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for better coffee. At the very least, Coffee Bean will have better and consistent brewing standards - and their coffee is somewhat decent as far as the chains go.

A few minutes later, I have a coffee in hand (with cream and sugar, please) and a crispy rice square. The Colombian is decent and has a nice flavor to it. The crispy rice is sweet, soft and artificially disgusting.

At least the company is enjoyable.

Crispy Rice Square (why?) and a 12z Colombia.

Redondo Beach Brewing Company

Like father, like son.

With Michelle and Christian flying in from Tokyo, our group needed to eat someplace where we could spread out with babies - off to the Redondo Beach Brewing Company we went.

What can be said about the food? It's typical brew pub fare. Mostly frozen, mostly plain, mostly simple and casual fare. Nothing challenging or particularly exciting to please the masses. But sometimes, a plate of nachos is just what fits the bill. I mean, it's really about the company anyway, right?


Blueberry Wheat.

Jalapeno Poppers


Garlic Bread


Fried Mushrooms

"Steak Fries"

Fish and Chips

Baja Fish Tacos

Greek Tacos

Steak Vieja

Christian and the Dip

Laila and Greek Tacos

White Bread

Bread and Butter

There's something special about Japanese white bread. The fluffy interior crisps beautifully when toasted. Slathered with butter it's absolutely sublime. It's one of my favorite breads in the world and a source of comfort when I'm on the road.

Tommy Burger

Feels like the first time.

Since The Bob is staying at the house tonight, and he's now a committed man, I'm forced to be good tonight and go home. At least I'll get a good three hours of sleep.

On the way there, we're in the hunt for some late-night eats. The tacos al pastor place on Fletcher isn't there and we end up at the Original Tommy Burger at Beverly and Rampart.

If you've never been there, the original location is quite a scene. Actually, I've never had a Tommy Burger anywhere but here, so I don't know anything else. The last time I was here was a couple of years ago with Laila but things haven't changed.

Want to meet Latina chicks? This is the place. It's lovely but I'm still full from our spaghetti and pass on a burger. The typical Tommy Burger is two patties with cheese, chili, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and a sauce. It's a tasty burger but I'm stuffed and can't even think of eating one.

But this is The Bob's first time at Tommy Burger and he's chowing down hard. That's when Marc finds us hanging out. Three guys, lots of Latinas, it's a recipe for hope. Of course, Marc is spoken for as well and I'm the lone bachelor in the group. So much for wingmen...

Far Bar

DJ Un-G on the Wheels of Steel.

After over ten days of non-stop going out, partying, drinking and staying up late, I'm starting to feel fatigued. But it's Saturday night in L.A. and time to continue the party. Tonight we're at Far Bar in Japantown where DJ Un-G is spinning the tracks and Fabiola is the cute Mexican makeup artist from Jalisco with a taste for tacos al pastor and the now seemingly ubiquitous penchant for Morrissey and The Smiths.

The Guys checking out The Chicks.

Christine and Fabiola