Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Coffee

Made cafe and boutique at the Downtown Women's Center opens today

Made

Made by DWC, the cafe, coffeehouse and boutique at the Downtown Women's Center, officially opened today. Proceeds benefit the downtown shelter (where Lindsay Lohan may teach acting classes as part of her community-service sentence), a $26-million newly renovated complex at the W. Douglas Building on San Pedro Street, which in the '20s housed a shoe company. 

The 67,000-square-foot center, which combined with the original Los Angeles Street location serves 3,500 women a year and has 71 additional housing units for a growing population of homeless women, was designed by Pica+Sullivan, with the cafe and boutique on the ground floor. 

The airy, light-filled cafe serves sandwiches and salads from Tiara Cafe. Sandwiches include tuna, lettuce, tomato and harissa on whole wheat; salami, chorizo, sun-dried tomato spread, tomatoes, lettuce and Italian vinaigrette on panini; dill chicken salad, lettuce, tomato and roasted red pepper on sourdough. The coffee is from Groundwork.   

438 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, www.madebydwc.org. Tuesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

-- Betty Hallock

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Photos: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

Joebella, a great cup of joe off the 101 in Templeton

Joebella Driving up the 101 to San Francisco? I have  the perfect pit stop. It’s in Templeton, just south of Paso Robles. Exit at Vineyard Drive and head west about two minutes toward the local Trader Joe’s. In the same shopping complex is Joebella Coffee Roasters, an independent coffee shop with its own freshly roasted beans, much of it free trade and/or organic -- and free Wi-Fi. Service is not the swiftest, but baristas pull their espresso on a shiny La Marzocco machine. There are a few tables out front on the sidewalk, more inside, and a big comfy sofa that's tempting for a catnap. The pastries pass muster, too.

And next door is the quite terrific wine shop 15 Degrees C Wineshop & Bar, where you can find the makings of a picnic — Fra’ Mani salumi, well-edited cheeses, baguettes from a local bakery — and a chilled bottle of rosé or white.

On a long drive, finding someplace like Joebella can make all the difference. A few minutes of respite from the road, a good strong cup of joe and you’re all set to go again.

Joebella Coffee Roasters, 1121 Rossi Road, Templeton; (805) 434-2479; www.joebellacoffee.com. Open Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 15 Degrees C Wineshop & Bar, 1121 Rossi Road, Templeton; (805) 434-1554; www.15degreescwines.com. Open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.

— S. Irene Virbila

Photo: Joebella. Credit:  S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

A cup of joe to combat illegal immigration?

Just coffee 
Sometimes, a cup of coffee is more than just a cup of coffee.

That, at least, is the fervent belief of two Arizonans, one a buttoned-down Presbyterian minister, the other a tie-dyed Roman Catholic renegade. They are convinced that a steaming cup of cafe arabica could do nothing less than help solve the problem of illegal immigration.

And that's just for starters. They also believe it can bring together liberals and conservatives, fulfill the Old Testament's prophetic vision of a "new heaven and new earth," and bring the wolf together with the lamb.

As today's story by Mitchell Landsberg illustrates, that's a lot to ask of a simple cup of joe.

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Tommy Bassett shows some of Just Coffee's beans during the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. In the background are Sister Maria, right, and Sister Teresa of the Order of Clarisse. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila on Blue Bottle coffee cups and cupping

Blue
I was in the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco last week. Hail storm outside. I was soaked and needed  coffee, so I waited in line with a dozen other people at the “secret window” around the corner from the main Blue Bottle Coffee shop for a cup of freshly brewed joe, i.e. its “Bella Donovan” blend from the drip bar. (Blue Bottle also makes Chez Panisse’s house blend.)

Everybody in line was ordering a caramelized Belgian waffle ($3) with their coffee, so I got one too, served up in a coffee filter. At that moment, life was good, a sip of the round, nuanced coffee, a bite of waffle fresh out of the waffle press. (It takes four minutes to make one.)

Later in the week, I visited Blue Bottle's roasting facility in downtown Oakland, which also has a coffee bar. It was lunchtime and they’ve got two sandwiches, Gruyère cheese and butter or ham and goat cheese on baguette, plus a slew of pastries, including Spanish saffron biscotti and a terrific coffeecake made with Magnolia stout, caraway seeds and currants. Coffee again, this time a perfect macchiato.

It turns out that on Tuesdays and Sundays, the Oakland facility holds free public cupping sessions at 2 p.m. Too bad it was neither of those days. But if you want to see its five-light siphon bar, you'll have to visit its Mint Plaza facility in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, I took home a couple pounds of Blue Bottle's Espresso Temescal beans and six of its cappuccino-size cup and saucers ($50). I see a flurry of work in my future fueled by endless cups of coffee served in those same brown-glazed cups. 

The folks at Blue Bottle Coffee describe Espresso Temescal this way: "It is complex, poetic, finicky -- if you make coffee in your garret, loft studio, pied-à-terre, atelier ... this is your blend. A medium roast that is a fairly intricate blend of coffees from Sumatra, Costa Rica, Mexico and Ethiopia, the Espresso Temescal reigns supreme in the Mokka pot." And that's what I asked for: beans for a stovetop espresso pot.

You can also order Blue Bottle's beans online.

Blue Bottle Coffee, 300 Webster St., Oakland; coffee bar open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Also at Mint Plaza, 66 Mint St., San Francisco; café open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

Photo of Blue Bottle in Oakland by S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times

South West Regional Barista Competition: Honolulu's Licata wins; Krankl of Gelato Bar comes in second

Award

After three days and hundreds of cups of coffee (espressos, cappuccinos and specialty drinks, including one served with lamb chops) made by 36 contenders from seven states, Pete Licata of Honolulu Coffee Co. emerged the winner of this year's South West Regional Barista Competition.

Nikolas Krankl, who was registered as a representative of Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe in Studio City and Los Feliz, placed second. And Jared Truby of Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz took third.

Six finalists competed Sunday -- the top-scoring baristas culled from rounds held the previous two days at Siren Studios in Hollywood, where a crowd of fans cheered on Licata, Krankl, Truby, Sara Peterson of Verve, Kevin Bohlin of Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco and Row Aczon of Honolulu Coffee.  

Baristas have 15 minutes to prepare for the judges four espressos, four cappuccinos and four specialty drinks. The latter get points for creativity, lamb chops not required. ("I heard somebody had carpaccio" with their specialty drink during Round 1, noted technical judge Brian Clemens.)

Each barista is scored by a panel of seven judges based on technical and sensory criteria. To name a few: how much coffee is spilled during grinding; whether extraction times for espressos are consistent (within a three-second variance) in each category; how much milk is left in pitchers after cappuccinos are made; the color of the espresso's crema; the consistency of the cappuccino foam; and whether the espresso was a balance of sweet, acidic and bitter; among many other criteria.

Meanwhile, the competition also held its first Brewers Cup -- a contest of coffees made with manual brewing devices. The winner was Chris Baca, also of Verve Coffee Roasters, who notably performed in the first round to Destiny Child's "Say My Name." 

The six barista finalists will be entered in the U.S. Barista Championship, which takes place in Houston from April 27 to May 1. The world championship will be held in Bogota, Colombia, in June. 

More photos after the jump.

-- Betty Hallock

Continue reading »

3 Food Events You Should Know About: the Southwest Regional Barista Competition; Angel City Brewing celebrates grand opening; Tillamook Cheese brings their tour through Southern California

Latte300 Caffeine Fix: The Southwest Regional Barista Competition begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Sponsored by the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, it's free to the public. Six of the most highly skilled baristas will compete in the finals for the title of 2011 South West Regional Barista Champion, with the chance to represent the United States at the World Barista Championship in Bogota, Columbia in June. The Coffee Bean will have a regular coffee bar at the event as well as a "Brewbar," where you can make your own coffee using any method you like. But that's not all. Expect gourmet food trucks, live music and can’t-miss after parties to go along with all the coffee you can handle.

Siren Studios: 6063 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028.

Pre-party: After 13 years, Angel City Brewing is about to open their first Downtown Los Angeles brewery, bar and shop on March 17. Across the street from the brewery, owner Michael Bowe is transforming an empty lot into a festive event space that will be filled with lots to do and see in the two weekends leading up to the grand opening. On March 5, 6, and 7, and 11, 12 and 13 (Fridays 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.), all are welcome to try hand-selected microbrews, eat from gourmet food trucks, look at art by local artists, and listen to live music.

216 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles.

Cross country cheese: Tillamook Cheese’s “Loaf Love Tour,” the second annual event that brings cheese all across the country, is returning to Southern California, making stops in Orange County and Los Angeles from March 5 to May 14. Along with cheese samples, coupons and more, The Loaf Love Tour will be offering free admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific on Saturday, March 5 for the first 100 fans who sport the brightest and wildest Tillamook Cheese orange outfit they can. To follow the tour and see where they are at any given time (be it grocery stores, farmers’ markets or special events) tune into Tillamook Cheese on Facebook or follow @TillamookCheese on Twitter.

--Emma Wartzman

File photo: Los Angeles Times

Caffeine fix: CoffeeBar opens on Spring Street

Coffeebar1

The coffee options for loft dwellers on Spring Street have expanded with the opening of CoffeeBar, a 2,000-square-foot cafe that debuted last week just a couple of doors down from downtown favorite Spring for Coffee.

Owners Michael Leko and Will Shamlian are the partners behind Spring Street Bar on the same block and Library Bar and the forthcoming Pizzeria Urbano at 6th and Hope streets. CoffeeBar's design seems to take more than one cue from the three Intelligentsia shops in L.A., with a large central barista station, both communal seating and cafe tables, and blue tile and metalwork accents. Besides a Synesso three-group espresso machine, there's an $18,000 Slayer -- the new Seattle-built machine introduced last year -- that I've yet to see in use at CoffeeBar. 

There's also a pourover bar. Beans come from a rotating roster of roasters: Vivace and Vita from Seattle and Noble Coffee Roasting from Ashland, Ore., for example. According to Downtown News, CoffeeBar consultant Jared Mockli avoided sourcing the same beans that Spring for Coffee carries. 

"They're the friendly competition," says one Spring for Coffee barista. 

-- Betty Hallock

CoffeeBar, 600 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.coffeebarla.com; Spring for Coffee, 548 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, www.springforcoffee.com. 

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Photos: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

 

What kind of coffee are you drinking (and how do you brew it)?

 Coffee

On a recent trip to Portland, in need of a late-afternoon caffeine fix, I stopped by Coava Coffee Roasters for a cup of coffee.  

It wasn't all the talk of the Kone that lured me to Coava. (At this point, I'm not spending $50 on a filter for the Chemex coffee maker, because I don't have a Chemex.) It was the recommendation of a taxi driver. Who better to trust in matters of coffee than a guy who rails against Wal-Mart and the Pearl District and works 12-hour night shifts? Besides, I was already up to my eyeballs in Stumptown

Continue reading »

Single-origin beans, exacting brewing methods at Cafecito

Cafecito Organico 
Here's an early look at what's coming in this week's Food section:

The Heliotrope Cafecito is a sweet little place. It's down the block from Los Angeles City College and it's built for students: lots of inside seating, big communal tables. Music is an iPod running through a guitar amp. There aren't any fancy barista uniforms, just some chilled-out youngsters behind the counter — though there's a gleam of fanaticism in their eye when they take up their coffee-making implements.

Angel Orozco — founder, roaster and co-owner — started on the supply side of the coffee business. He became a roaster, then a farmers market vendor and finally opened the first retail location of Cafecito on Hoover Avenue earlier this year, and the second location on Heliotrope a little more than a month ago. They'll do you all the perfect foamed little espresso drinks you want, but if you chat for a while with the folks behind the counter, you'll figure out where the shop's heart is at: single-origin, Central American coffees, roasted light and individually dripped, to show off the peculiar soul of each bean. Read more: The Find: Cafecito Organico.

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Photo: Heliotrope Cafecito. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

3 food events you should know about: Evan Kleiman teaches you to can; macrobiotics with chef Lee Gross; Intelligentsia's Santuario dinner

Jarred peppers

Get canning: Angeli Caffe's Evan Kleiman is teaming up with the food preservation specialist Delilah Snell to teach the basic preservation and flavor-enhancing techniques of dehydration, canning and creating homemade spice blends.  Leave with know-how and many gifts wrapped and ready for friends.  The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, costing $125.  

7274 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, (323)-936-9086, www.angelicaffe.com.

Macrobiotic Food 101: Curious about what constitutes a macrobiotic lifestyle, let alone how to apply its eating principles to cooking? M Cafe's Lee Gross will lead a demonstration based on many of his macrobiotic holiday recipes, including maple-glazed acorn squash with brussels sprouts and chestnuts and a simple pan-braised seitan with herbed gravy.  The event costs $35, and will be held at the M Café in Beverly Hills from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11. Reservations required. Balancing yin and yang is advised.

9433 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, (310)-858-8459, amy@mcafedechaya.com.

Eight courses, with coffee: Intelligentsia's Pasadena location will host Camilo Merizalde, coffee farmer and owner of Santuario Farm in Colombia, for a tasting menu dinner on Friday, Nov. 19. The menu will match various samples of Merizalde's coffee to each of eight courses from Heirloom LA (that's a lot of late-evening caffeine). Wine pairings will be provided by Matthew Kaner of Bar Covell. The meal costs $95 (including coffee and wine), beginning with a meet-and-greet at 7 p.m. and presentation by  Merizalde at 7:45 p.m.  Dinner at 8. Reservations required.   

55 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (323)-982-8878, www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/santuario-event

-- Max Diamond

Photo credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.