Category: Cafes/Coffee Shops

Board Games Galore!

Board Games Galore!

Part coffee house, part board game heaven.

Having flashbacks to family game nights when you were a kid? You’re in luck! Located on 1800 S. Brand Blvd., Game Haus of Glendale, CA is home to over 1400 board and card games.  Yes, you read that number right.  If you’ve been wondering how to play a game that hasn’t been on the market for decades, you’ve come to the right place.

Game Haus calls itself a “board game cafe” and is the first of its kind in Southern California.  For $5 a person, you can enjoy unlimited play from any game or games you choose.  There is also a coffee shop and small cafe, so you can munch while you win (or try to). The business recently acquired an alcohol license so I can just imagine how much that will up your competitive side!   I checked this place out last year with my boyfriend and we had so much fun we just had to come back with a larger group.  You can spend over an hour here just looking at all the games from your childhood!

They add new games every month, though there is something for everyone at a small price to pay.  The coffee is pretty good as well! There are multiple spots to play, including a few table and chairs sets and a large carpeted area if you prefer to spread out.

Throughout the year, Game Haus hosts events for larger competitions and is also open to reserve the space if you have a large party.  If you’re more of a casual gamer like myself, however, you can enjoy a quieter atmosphere with your friends 11-11 on weekdays and until midnight on Saturday.

So many options!

For a whole day of fun and friendly competition, I really recommend this hidden gem in Glendale. Check it out and let me know what you think!

An Omnivore’s Favorite Vegan Restaurants in LA

An Omnivore’s Favorite Vegan Restaurants in LA

Located at the restaurant My Vegan Gold

We all have a friend (or ten, if you live in LA) who only eats plant-based food and is always trying to show you the best vegan restaurants in your area.  They’ll tell you over and over, “it tastes just like meat! You can’t even tell it’s vegan!” but you don’t necessarily believe them.

Well, as a meat eater myself, I’m here to give you my take on some of the best vegan restaurants in LA that actually fill you up and taste like your regular favorites, only veggie-filled.  I was a vegetarian for almost half of my life, so I’m not here to bag on anyone for making that choice. I personally think it’s an incredible life to live, but it’s just not going to happen for a lot of people.  Still, we are blessed to be living in a city with food options from almost anywhere in the world and on any diet.  Today, I will tell you about my top 5 favorite vegan restaurants around the city.

  1. Gracias Madre: 8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

I know, I know, this is a basic first choice.  But I couldn’t deny how incredible this place was despite it’s popularity.  Located on a quieter part of Melrose with actual street parking, Gracias Madre shines in all the right ways.  First, when you enter, you are greeted with a beautifully lit up bar space and high ceilings.  The indoor space looked beautiful but both times I have been there I sat outside, which I recommend if you are able.  The outdoor patio area is decorated with fairy lights and lots of greenery and is just a joy to eat at.  And as for the food? Although the prices are a little steep, everything is incredible.  The servers know their stuff and can take you through the menu without feeling rushed.  They have a vast array of beautiful and strong cocktails of all types, though they are most famous for their tequila and mezcal drinks. My favorite dish I’ve tried is Bowl Uno, which includes soy chorizo, guacamole, cashew creme, and an array of fresh vegetables.  I added the tempeh bacon, a choice I do not regret.  Definitely come here if you’re looking for high-quality Mexican cuisine made completely plant-based.

 

2. Kitchen Mouse: 5904 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042

If you find yourself in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Kitchen Mouse is a must-try.  Located in a cute little green storefront, Kitchen Mouse is the spot to go for fresh, organic, vegan cuisine in the area.  My friends and I meet up here often for a weekday lunch, and we always leave full and happy.  It’s the kind of place where you order at the counter and then they bring your food to you, so it has a pretty casual vibe.  I always order the TLT, which has avocado, tomato, tempeh, and lettuce on flax seed toast with aioli and sunflower brittle.  It’s honestly one of my favorite meals ever and non-vegans can get an egg on top too! There are over a dozen other delicious choices and a ton of tea and coffee drinks as well that are strong and yummy.  You really can’t go wrong.

 

3. Flore Vegan3818 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Moving now to Silverlake, I recommend Flore as a wonderful lunch spot with a superb menu of food and juice/smoothie options.  My vegetarian friend and I meet up here all the time after a workout, because the drinks are refreshing and the food is filling and flavorful.  Flore includes both a sit-down area as well as a deli with to-go items if you’re in a rush. Everything is organic and you can adjust any of the drinks or food to your liking!  My two favorites (which I always have trouble deciding between!) are the tempeh reuben and the seitan pastrami.  The reuben comes on rye bread with cashew cheese, sauerkraut, and 1000 Island dressing.  The pastrami is also on rye with coleslaw and soy cheese.  Both are big and super good.  You can get a variety of sides and can adjust the bread it comes on, including opting for gluten-free if you wish.  They have everything from breakfast scramble to tacos and pizza so you will definitely find what you want.  And to top it all off they have dozens of juice and smoothie options that will satiate any craving!

 

4. Au Lac: 710 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

So you’ve found yourself in Downtown LA and you want some Vietnamese food with a vegan twist? You’ve come to the right place!  Located in a strip mall in the far back corner, Au Lac is not what you’d expect to find.  Once inside, you’ll be struck by the beautiful dining room space with lots of big booths and chandeliers.  Still, you won’t feel out of place in casual attire as most other customers are are as well.  The servers are very attentive and will walk you through the menu right away.  The food is Vietnamese with a vegan flare and the flavors are great.  All the ingredients they use are organic and natural, and the creator of the restaurant originally opened to show people how a plant-based diet could help people with many illnesses feel like themselves again.  Though I’ve only been here once, Au Lac made the list because of the Garlic Basil Noodle dish.  This dish includes: rice noodles, apple sage soy sausage, garlic, kale, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, spiced olive oil, garnished with fresh thai basil and non-gmo Sriracha.  It is a little pricey ($17) but the serving size is big so I got two meals out of it.  The noodles were dense in the best way and every bite had so much going on I just loved it.  My friend got Bun 33 and also loved it!  Also, we both shared the egg roles and they were probably the best egg roles I’ve ever had! Definitely stop by and give this place a visit.

 

5. Sage: 1700 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

For our final spot on the list, we end up in none other than Echo Park.  Sage is a wonderful, vegan spot committed to buying from local farmers and providing fresh, organic fare to all.  They have different menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner but you honestly can’t go wrong. In many of their dishes they use jackfruit, a fruit that tastes so much like meat you won’t believe it! Beyond that, their menus are extensive.  I’ve tried one of their bowls as well as the jackfruit tacos and loved them both!  Sage sometimes offers live music and events to the community and everyone is always super friendly! Like the other places on this list, the portions do not disappoint. It’s a casual place with a ton of natural light so you’ll be in the best mood when you dine here. I recommend bringing your non-vegan friends here to show them how flavorful vegetables and fruits can be!

Cruiser Bikes and Fresh Coffee: A Hipster Dream in the Art’s District

Cruiser Bikes and Fresh Coffee: A Hipster Dream in the Art’s District

Hidden away in an alleyway in the Art’s District one can find a wonderfully creative coffee and bicycle shop.  The store is called The Wheelhouse and it’s a wonderful find! Located at 1375 E. 6th St., The Wheelhouse is open from 7-6 for coffee and 10-6 for bicycle repairs.  They also host occasional riding events and have a consistent blog on their website.  Every month, they host events for women bikers called Women of the Wheelhouse: Mentor Mondays.  Sounds like a cool place to me!

The shop also sells new and used bikes, bike accessories, and coffee mugs.   The most important part? The coffee was delicious and made fresh for each cup.  I tried the iced dirty chai and it was wonderfully satisfying.
Once you’re all finished and refreshed you can hop over a couple streets to The Springs for a yoga session or some fresh juice.  The Art’s District is a great place to explore (once it’s not 90 degrees outside) so find a good parking spot and walk around for a while!

Koffee in Koreatown

Koffee in Koreatown

This photo was taken at Cerrera Cafe. You can have any image you want printed on your latte!

Having lived in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles for the past eighteen months or so, I can tell you two things for sure: the food is plentiful and the coffee shops are eclectic.  As a graduate student and overall lover of coffee, I have come to appreciate this neighborhood for the latter.  For just a few dollars you can get delicious concoctions or just a simple, black coffee.  Whatever floats your boat.

Now, because there are so many coffee shops around here I can’t claim to have visited them all.  Still, I have pretty valid opinions because I have been to quite a few of them.  I like variety, and I tend to work well in a space I haven’t been to before.  I have this idea that people will judge me if they see me on my phone instead of doing work (which, I know, isn’t true.  But still).  Here is my list of a few spots I was able to get work done and still manage to enjoy myself:

Klat (621 S. Western Ave): This is a little hard to find unless you’re looking for it.  It’s located on the corner facing the street of a little shopping center kitty corner from The Wiltern.  I loved this coffee shop.  It was clean, open, and had a lot of options and fast wifi.  I had a chicken pesto panini and an iced chai and loved every bite (or sip).  I sat in the corner on a long bench outside and was able to get a ton of work done with little distraction.  It was more crowded inside, but still managed to be quiet enough.

Beau Bar (3300 W. 6th St): This trendy little shop caught my eye as soon as I walked in.  The decor is like my dream apartment and there are outlets everywhere.  Basically, I didn’t want to leave.  In fact, I stayed for over four hours and was able to get a ton of work done.  There aren’t a whole lot of choices, but the few fun options are amazing.  I tried the horchata latte and really liked it despite how sweet it was.  There are baked goods as well which are cute and looked yummy.  Overall, Beau Bar was a great choice with good music and not too many people.

Alchemist Coffee Project (698 S. Vermont Ave): Though I was at first surprised by how crowded this shop was, I was not disappointed in the least.  Alchemist offers a huge array of coffee and food choices.  I got the cold brew with milk and syrup, which was incredible, and the turkey sandwich, which hit the spot perfectly.  If you don’t like noise, this probably isn’t for you.  I found a nice table in the back so I could focus more on the homework and less on the crowd.  I like this shop because of it’s fun atmosphere and many coffee choices.

LaB Coffee and Roasters (429 N Western Ave): Located in a small shopping center, LaB has everything you could want for a study spot.  The workers are friendly and knowledgable and the coffee is strong.  So strong, in fact, that I wished I hadn’t had a first glass earlier in the morning.  They give you your coffee in beakers, which is fun and provides some photo ops if you’re into that.  Also, there are outlets at almost every seat.  A major plus. I loved how naturally bright the shop was and how much they committed to their theme.

Document Coffee Bar (3850 Wilshire Blvd.): With a bright white exterior and bold lettering, Document is hard to miss once you’re nearby.  Once inside, you’re greeted by an open concept room and old paint containers as lights.  I tried the iced latte with maple syrup and loved it.  This shop was pretty full throughout the hour or so that I was there, but parking was free and easy so I stayed and did some work.  The baristas were kind and helpful, which I appreciated as I examined the menu.  There are some baked goods as well, but no real food options.  This was fine with me as the coffee was just what I needed.  I would check this place out if you want an easily accessible shop with lots of sweet drink options.

Bia Coffee (3907 W. 6th St): With it’s fame resulting from a popular Buzzfeed video, this place is never empty.  I had to check it out even if only for a few minutes.  The fame is well deserved.  Although you can get a regular coffee order, they are most famous for their flower syrups.  The shop explained that they let their syrups (lavender or rose) sit for over three days and they are all natural.  I ordered a lavender iced latte and a rose apple cider.  Both came with a flower on top that I was told I could eat.  I didn’t.  The drinks were incredible and the flower flavors were there without being too overwhelming.  It did not taste like you were eating essential oils, which I was afraid of.  Instead, it tasted like a more natural version of sweetener and  I loved it.

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