All posts tagged “tea

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Samovar Tea Lounge

Samovar Tea Lounge is a great place for brunch, lunch, or a long afternoon tea. Whether you are visiting the the SF MOMA and need to relax your legs, or you’re looking for a loungey place for a quiet afternoon, Samovar Tea Lounge has a large selection of delicious food and exquisite teas.

My favorite dish on the menu is the Salmon & Egg Bowl. It has two scoops of brown rice, cooked salmon, two poached eggs, and a lemon ponzu sauce. It’s simple, healthy, and filling, and reminds me of Japanese comfort food.

My favorite drink at Samovar is the Masala Chai, which has the deep spice taste of real chai (not the overly sweet nonsense from Starbucks).

One of the other dishes I enjoyed is the Duck Scallion Waffle, a savory waffle that made a great brunch meal.

Samovar Tea Lounge has a large selection of sandwiches, like the Tea Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich, as well as salads and small plates. They also offer a full afternoon tea, complete with the multiple tiered plates, and although they are on the pricier side, include a pot of tea (most teas a la carte are $10+) and a selection of tasty sweets and savory items.

As far as a more classic brunch goes, they also offer toasts, with toppings such as chocolate and sea salt (basically Nutella), peanut butter and banana, avocado, salmon, etc.

While they are delicious, the portions are a bit small for the price. I love Samovar Tea Lounge for a relaxing Sunday afternoon treat, and appreciate their idea of elevated comfort food, a lot of which is based on Japanese home cooking. The great location (in the middle of Yerba Buena Gardens) and the view of the Financial District make this a great spot for a spot of tea. 😉

730 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

 

 

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La Note

La Note is one of the most highly sought-after brunch places in Berkeley. Boasting gourmet French cuisine, La Note most often has wait times of over an hour, and a large crowd waiting outside.

The food was phenomenal. La Note is mostly known for their French pastries, which you can order as a filled basket, and their incredibly fluffy egg dishes, all of which come with their garlic home fries.

Their pastries include croissants, coffee cakes, brioche, tartine, and baguettes. While the basket and a brunch plate might be too much, a select few are great to share – we ordered the Toasted Cinnamon Brioche with Lavender Honey and the Sour Cream Coffee Cake Maison. I was completely taken by the Lavender Honey – the airy Cinnamon brioche dipped in the Lavender Honey was heavenly, with the Lavender leaving a subtle but lasting taste.

The main courses included a variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French brioche (fancy for French Toast), and smaller oatmeal cups. The dishes come with a side of home fries, with meaty garlic cloves as big as the potatoes, and combo dishes include the fluffiest, softest eggs you’ve ever tasted.

Above is the Les Oeufs Lucas, with Scrambled Eggs and Goat Cheese on toast and a side of home fries and roasted tomatoes. Below is the classic Two Eggs + Bacon dish, sunny side up.

I ordered the Cote Est, which was a combo plate with eggs, a pancake, and bacon or home fries. I asked the waitress for the “Swirly Pancake” after seeing multiple people enjoying them. Not only are they incredibly photogenic, but the “Swirly Pancake,” which turned out to be the Creme Fraiche pancake, was creamy and delicious too!

The coffee and eggs completely won me over, and the Creme Fraiche pancake along with the aromatic garlic and potatoes completed this incredible brunch meal. The atmosphere is perfect for family meals and cute dates, with the bustling but gentle wait staff and the romantic French environment. La Note also has a large back patio covered in greenery. This is a place I will definitely be returning to!

2377 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

 

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Hollow

Though the alarmingly bright green color of Hollow is hard to miss, this hole-in-the-wall cafe is overlooked by many walking down Irving in the Inner Sunset.

The size of Hollow – only big enough to fit a couple tables and the barista station – suggests that it is more of a grab n’ go coffee stop, with a handful of tasty pastries that can be easily eaten on the go. However, it’s never TOO crowded, and while it can be a bit tight to sit in the actual shop, stopping for a minute to enjoy a hot latte in this cozy room makes for a very warm, homey morning.

Hollow offers a small selection of scones, croissants, and cookies, (and even Dandelion chocolate!) but their big seller is the variety of drinks. Aside from the usual Cappuccino and Latte, Hollow creates a number of different flavors, ranging from Artisan Dark Chocolate Mochas to Spiced Chai Lattes.

My friend and I ordered the Butterscotch Latte and the Matcha Green Tea Latte, and the cafe was calm enough to allow us to sit for a bit and sip our drinks.

The Butterscotch Latte tasted exactly as you would think – coffee, but very sweet and creamy, like a cream soda mixed with a vanilla latte.

The Matcha Green Tea Latte had the perfect amount of creaminess and spice, and I splurged a bit by adding a homemade vanilla marshmallow (just because I wanted to try it). The submerged marshmallow slightly dissolved and made the drink sweeter, though not by much, since the softened mallow didn’t fully dissolve before I finished my drink.

While this isn’t the place to come to with a big group of people, the fun variety of drinks and flavors is worth coming to for a to-go coffee or a quick sip in the morning. The Sunset District doesn’t have many cute cafes like Hollow, but its coziness and Harry Potter’s Cupboard Under the Stairs-esque feel makes for a very warm and inviting environment.

1435 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

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Alfred Coffee

Alfred Coffee, with multiple locations across LA, embodies everything that the hip coffee shops of San Francisco has.

While the Brentwood location (pictured) is small, there is plenty of outdoor seating and to-go options for coffees and pastries. Their slogan, emulated by many new coffee shops, “But First, Coffee” is splattered across their cups, gift items, and even the wall.

Alfred Coffee has a great selection of pastries, with Farmshop baked scones, croissants, danishes, and muffins (GF too!). They also have pressed juices from The Pressed Juicery, and other small snacks and to-go items.

The coffee itself comes from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (my favorite), so I was already sold before I even tasted it. And for the record, it was perfect with my gluten-free blueberry muffin 🙂

Shoutout to my friend Katie for taking me to Alfred Coffee knowing that I would love it and want to post about it! If you’re in the LA area, Alfred Coffee should definitely be first on the agenda!

11908 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049

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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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Pannikin

Pannikin Coffee & Tea has been a longtime favorite of mine. Growing up, my family and I would always go to Pannikin in La Jolla to rest after a day at the beach, sipping hot chocolate and playing chess while sharing cream pies and coffee… Read More

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Boba Guys

 Being the giant boba fiend that I am, BOBA GUYS was always a top priority of places to try. With only two locations in San Francisco, it’s no wonder the stores are always packed, with a long line consistently wrapped around the building. Boba is… Read More