All posts tagged “downtown

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PYT

PYT is a somewhat hidden but classy restaurant in DTLA, perched on the corner of 4th and Main. It has a small patio area covered in greenery, creating a cozy alcove on an otherwise busy street.

PYT neighbors its sister restaurants Ledlow and Baco Mercat, with plenty of natural lighting and a sophisticated design. PYT offers brunch, lunch, and dinner, and even during peak weekend brunch hours, there was plenty of seating and no wait.

With fresh, seasonal ingredients and beautifully curated dishes, I feel like I found a hidden brunch gem in DTLA. While the meals are a bit on the pricier side, and aren’t necessarily a ‘classic brunch’ (ie benedicts and bottomless mimosas), the dishes were elegant and filling. This would be a fancier brunch spot, or a nice breakfast to take the parents for a quiet, quality visit.

To start, we were served a beautiful plate of grilled shishito peppers, an appetizer served on the house. They were sprinkled with lemon, yuzu, salt, pepper, and a hint of cayenne that gave a kick to our first bites.

I ordered the Fried Eggs with Heirloom Tomatoes, which despite being a very simple dish, were very flavorful and salty, and the roasted potatoes were cooked to perfection.

Below is the BLT, which was packed full of flavor and grilled beautifully.

On the side (for a bit extra $) is the Smoked Trout which came with a creamy dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, and multiple different spices. This dish was simple as well, but was so delicious that I didn’t even notice I was having salad for breakfast.

While the prices are a bit too high to dine at PYT often, it’s definitely a great spot to have a quiet brunch date or impress a few classy visitors without ever having to worry about the wait.

400 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Handlebar Coffee Roasters

On a trip down to Santa Barbara for the weekend, I mapped a out a couple of cafés I could visit to get my caffeine fix – and to find a little piece of home. Handlebar Coffee Roasters, located on a side street off the downtown strip of State St., was exactly what I was looking for. With locally roasted coffee and a multitude of hot and cold drinks to choose from, as well as the long line looping outside the building, I knew I was in the right place.

While the café wasn’t necessarily large, it had outdoor seating, a large community table, and massive windows where light streamed in. At the counter, Handlebar sells small pastries and snacks, and on a shelf to the right, offers bags of coffee beans and teas, as well as different flavors of chai.

A macchiato for my father, a latte for me, and a hot chocolate for my little sister:



Everyone loved their drinks, and we regretted not coming here again the next day!
A direct quote from my father:

Handlebar > Starbucks (duh.)

Established by two bikers turned coffee roasters, Handlebar couldn’t go wrong! It’s definitely worth the visit and is only a short turn off of State St, downtown.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

128 E Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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vive la tarte

Viva la tarte has become one of my new favorite bakeries, with healthy competition from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Located on Howard St in Soma, vive la tarte gives off a warehouse/industrial kind of atmosphere, but its wide open interior and pristine set up creates a clean and airy environment.

The large bakery is only one room – with a section of tables, counter seating by the entrance, and stadium-like bench seating on the left, with complete visibility into the actual kitchen area where all the baking and prepping is done. A vintage stereo system sits on one side, and the coffee bar sits across from the food counter, where the pretty pastries wait to be eaten.

While Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has sweet, indulging pastries, vive la tarte is more in the style of Tartine Bakery, where there are sweet and savory options, some which are on the healthier side (and even gluten free options!), others on the exquisite French pastry-esque side.

The pastries and food options differ depending on the time of day – there is always a mixture of sweet and savory, but the morning offers more quiches, while in the afternoon they bring out pizzas and dessert pastries.

I enjoyed a latte (which was amazing) and the Tomatillo and Jalapeño quiche, which had just the right pinch of spice. The foods offered in the morning include Vanilla Donuts, Rum Raisin Donuts, Chocolate Gateau, Raspberry Lemon Tarts, other quiches like the Spinach & Goat Cheese or Lorraine Quiche, as well as the Baked Pancetta Pizza (for breakfast with an egg on it!). All of these items were flavorful and rich, fresh and baked to perfection.

After I was already in love with vive la tarte, at 11AM, they brought out more foods – the lunch menu round 1. This included the SF Cheesecake, Mixed Berry & Vanilla Tart, Apple Tart, Hazelnut Brittle Tart, Creme Brûlée, and a variety of Focaccia Pizzas, including the White Truffle Mushroom Ragout and the Tomato Basil Burrata.

I was already full, but I couldn’t resist splitting the Creme Brûlée with my friends – which I did not regret one bit. The crust was a perfect cup shape and thick enough to almost feel like a plate! The top layer was torched to perfection and the inside was very sweet, a soft pudding like consistency that melted in your mouth.

Vive la tarte may be the prettiest, most photogenic bakery I’ve found in San Francisco with their perfect geometric shapes and the vibrant colors used in their foods. The pastries are beautiful and delicious, classy and tasteful rather than overly sweet belly bombs. It’s definitely going to become a massive hit on Instagram and in the foodie world!

1164 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103   

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Blue Star Donuts

For a city that’s known for it’s food – coffee and donuts – it’s easy to get caught up in the tourist attractions. As far as donuts go, Voodoo Doughnuts is easily Portland’s most famous donut joint, and is populated by tourists at all times… Read More

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31st Union

31st Union is a gem among the rest of Downtown San Mateo, maintaining a farm to table menu with a San Francisco vibe. We found ourselves here for a birthday lunch during work one day – it was mostly empty during the day but is… Read More

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Better Buzz

Life’s Better Buzzed

With their fun slogan, cute interior, and drool-worthy avo-toast, it’s no wonder that Better Buzz has become a hot spot for coffee sipping and brunching in Downtown Encinitas.

As soon as I walked in, I felt like the cafe KNEW me – “Coffee First” are my thoughts exactly every morning. There were many seating options, from loungey to more quiet study corners, and the area was spacious and clean.

Of course, the avo-toast was a must, which came on a fluffy sourdough toast, sprinkled with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes, served with a small cup of arugula with balsamic vinaigrette.

Since I was in Encinitas for the holidays, it was only right to get the Acai Bowl as well, a summertime favorite in this hip beach town.


While I love having a poached egg on my avocado toast, Better Buzz’s feta cheese version was still fulfilling, with an almost Greek twist to the avocado toast (from the feta and the balsamic on the arugula). The toast was softer than the usual Levain toasts from bakeries in San Francisco, which made it easier to eat and less hassle to split up.

The Acai Bowl, filled with vanilla granola, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, honey, and bee pollen, was sweet and fresh, with a large helping of fruits mixed with a good balance of granola.

Their other menu items include sandwiches (egg, ham, cheese, etc) and other variations of toasts, such as Nutella (with strawberries), and different Acai Bowl toppings with healthier twists (hemp granola, etc).

As for drinks, they offer coffees and teas, as well as smoothies and fresh squeezed juices. Better Buzz is known for their “Best Drink Ever,” a classic Americano with their signature creamy vanilla. I’m not sure if it was the best drink I’ve ever had, but it was definitely sweet and delicious! Better Buzz also has various iced and blended coffee drinks, and offer many varieties of sweetness and coffee flavors.

With not many cute, hip cafes in Downtown Encinitas (besides my favorite, Pannikin) Better Buzz is definitely the new go-to spot for coffee and breakfast. If you’re looking for a more artsy/hipster vibe in a cafe, Better Buzz is the place to go!

Go Get Buzzed!

578 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

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Workshop Cafe

Workshop Cafe, located on Montgomery in the Financial District, is hands down the best cafe for studying and working. The space is large and has over 100 seats, all reserved for the sole purpose of working. Whether you are studying for a class, working remotely,… Read More