Louie Loves LA: Backyard Bowls

Acai bowls are everywhere these days and rarely disappoint. Because they are sort of like ice cream and sort of healthy and you can eat them for breakfast. Win! But most of the time they are found at locations dedicated to juice so there usually just one or two options. Of course as the name suggests, Backyard Bowls is all about the bowl so you have tons of options to choose from. Eight to be precise. The menu clearly spells out the base ingredients and toppings for each which we also appreciate. Always good to know what you’re eating right? Our faves are the Island which has mango, pineapple and coconut to give it a tropical flair and the green which mixes in spinach and kale and has a little ginger for a nice kick. Their granola topping is delicious and they have a gluten free option too. The portions are satisfyingly large for sure. They have smoothies too and porridge bowls – steel cut oats, quinoa, amaranth (no clue what this is) etc which are equally tasty. If you get your bowl to stay it is served in a real bowl with a real spoon which is refreshing and the front patio is a lovely spot to enjoy your treat. They have the cutest coffee cups too and serve Four Barrel Coffee (though there is now a massive Blue Bottle next door too). The people who blend up whatever goodness you’ve ordered are behind glass with headphones on which is sort of hilarious. You can also pick up giant things of their homemade nut milk to go. Lots of good things happening here.

Backyard Bowls
8303 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Yeastie Boys Bagels

We’re fan of anyone who spends their days pedaling carbs. Particularly bagels which have become quite taboo these days. Seriously, mentioned that you had a bagel for breakfast on a random Tuesday and people will look at you like you have three heads or say something like “oh you were hungover?” as though there MUST be an actual reason you were driven to such indulgence. The fine folks at Yeastie Boys don’t just make delicious bagels, they bring the bagels to you, posting up at all of LA’s best coffee spots. Joy! They have all the classic bagel varieties – sesame, poppy, everything etc – all nice and fluffy inside with a smooth shiny outside. Their smear options are a little fancied up but with all the classic flavors. There’s a small menu of their fave sandwich combos to pick from but you can mix it up however you want – thing sliced cucumber, red onion, sprouts, bacon, turkey sausage, avocado all available. The Game Over is a serious version of the bacon egg and cheese you love and you may never want to go back to the original. The Lox has all the classic bagely flavors and there’s even a vegan option that is just as bomb as all the rest. There are special everyday too including some lunchier options. These days they are in West Hollywood Tuesday and Wednesay (Alfred Coffee), on Fairfax Thursday (Pretty Pretty Collective), downtown Friday (Stumptown) and in Silverlake on Saturday and Sunday (Dinosaur/the new Alfred). Follow them on Instagram for the latest and any schedule changes. Oh and they cater too.

Yeastie Boys Bagels

Tuesday – Alfred Melrose Place
Wednesday – Alfred Melrose Place
Thursday – Pretty Pretty Collective
Friday – Stumptown Coffee
Saturday – Dinosaur Coffee
Sunday – Alfred Silverlake

Louie Loves LA: Menotti’s Coffee Stop

If you find yourself at the beach in the morning, you should also find yourself at Menotti’s. Just steps from the boardwalk in Venice, this place is an oasis of calm and cool amid the tourists and local crazies. They serve Four Barrel coffee and the menu includes those drinks people love to order like a Flat White and a Gibraltar – we have no idea what these are exactly, but if you are into them, they have them.   They also of course make a great latte and some very tasty cold brew. Inside it is small and minimal with white tiled walls and a cheerful turquoise La Marzocco. Little wooden ledges with stools run long each wall. They have a few chairs outside with some old whiskey barrels serving as tables. There’s always some vinyl playing on a turntable behind the counter and it is in general a lovely spot to sit and hang out for a bit. There’s usually someone leisurely reading an actual book – made of paper – here because this is Venice and no one seems to have anything to do. We’re not mad.

Menotti’s Coffee Stop
56 Windward Ave
Venice, CA 90291

Click here for menu.

Louie Loves LA: The Apple Pan

Sooooooo we should first admit that we just recently went here for the first time. Which is tragic. It has been on our LA to do list since day one but we some how had never made it over. After seeing it featured on Bon Appétit’s list of old school LA spots (big fans all the other places featured) we decided it was time. We fell instantly in love. To start – we like any place that exclusively features counter seating, particularly when the counter wraps around the busy kitchen so you can both watch the action, and check out all the other diners. Perfect. This of course means, your server is never more than about 5 feet away from you so everything seems to appear magically in front of you with in seconds. The go to is a burger of course. With Tillamock cheese – a clear sign of an A+ restaurant. Your fries, because of course you ordered fries, show up in about 30 seconds. Your server will throw down a second little round paper plate and pour a healthy pile of ketchup for you to dip. Your burger will be there a minute after, in a little paper wrapper. The house special sauce seems to be a mixture of ketchup and relish and is perfectly tangy. There’s mayo spread on the bottom bun. Pro move. The best part though may be the perfect pile of extra crisp lettuce. Not a piece or two, enough to provide a serious crunch to every bite. After you take a bite or two and realize you need a napkin, your server will, out of now where place one in your hand. The second you finish up, a full handwipe will appear.   If you are not in the mood for a burger the tuna sandwich is a solid plan B. A giant scoop of classic tuna salad and the same crispy lettuce pile. Drinks are served in tiny paper cone cups which are placed little metals stands. It’s hilarious and charming. Save room for pie if you can. The banana cream is tops. And the apple is naturally pretty solid as well.   Cash only of course – ATM right across the street.

The Apple Pan
10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Click here for the menu.

Louie Loves LA: Guelaguetza

We’ve been obsessed with this place for a while now and while we certainly wouldn’t say no one knows about it, (Jonathan Gold loves it.) we are constantly outraged when we hear that people have never actually been. IT IS THE BEST. Though it is possible the reason we don’t hear anyone else talking about this place is that like us, they have no idea how to pronounce it. This is the place for Oaxacan food in LA. What’s Oaxacan food you ask? To start, mole. And that is definitely what you should get when you come here. At least the first couple of times. Our fave is the Rojo mole but the Negro is a strong contender and the Colradito is insane. The only reason not to get the Coloradito is because the pile of chips you are served immediately upon sitting down is covered with the stuff (and a sprinkle of Oaxacan cheese), so you’ll had already had a taste. The mole is served with a perfect little island of white rice swimming in a plate full of sauce. Magical. They have tasting plates for the table to share if you want to try everything in one trip. We like pretty much the first half of the appetizer section – quesiilo fundido, cactus salad, grilled chiles. Oh and there are fried quesadillas. To wash all of this goodness down, you can choose from a serious selection of mezcal drinks and margaritas. YUM. They make a mean Michelada too. Beers are also only $3.75. All the time. We’re dying to come here for breakfast. Strong feeling that their chilaquiles are life changing. There’s live music every night and it’s all very festive.   Get yourself there ASAP.

3014 Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Dune

Dune is basically our dream lunch menu. All the delicious Middle Eastern flavors, made with organic ingredients and piled together in various forms. And pretty reasonably priced too. On Glendale Blvd, right across from Proof Bakery (so save room for a cookie!) this little spot is basically a fancy take out window, with some indoor counter seating and a few patio tables shared with the juice place next door. We’re going to start with out favorite item which is the Pickled Beet sandwich. TRUST US. This sandwich is a magic mix of flavors with salty capers and feta, sharp pickled onions, a rich slightly runny egg and a bit of crunch from a sprinkling of shoestring potatoes all on some seriously good ciabatta bread. It’s embarrassing to eat in public. It’s huge and messy and you’ll be convinced you have beet all over your face, but it is worth it. So damn good. The other sandwich options – falafel and lamb come on the house flat bread but are no easier to eat as they are topped with just as many delicious condiment-y salad items. For something you can eat cleanly with the help of utensils – go with one of the plates, which start with hummus, flat bread, cabbage salad and olives and can be topped with egg, falafel, lamb or tabouleh. We’re also big fans of the village salad – a rustic pile of large slices of cucumber, tomato and their perfect feta cheese. For a fresh treat get the photo worthy blood oranges, which come sliced and sprinkled with salt, oil and black olives. They have a super refreshing mint tea too. If you work or live anywhere near here, you should be here all the time.

3143 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Click here for the menu.

Louie Loves LA: Olson’s Scandinavian Deli

Sweden is top on our travel to do list right now but we don’t know when we’ll actually make it over. So in the meantime, we’ll just hit up Olson’s on a daily basis. Not only are there tasty Swedish food and all the real deal Swedish gummy candy you could ask for (even gummy Ferraris), but we’ve found there are usually attractive, tall Swedes there too. Bonus! But really we dream about the Grav Lax sandwich. They cure the salmon in house as all good Swedes would so that’s a pretty solid start. It comes with cucumbers and red onion on the fluffiest brioche roll. The secret ingredient though is the horseradish mayo. GENIUS. Top it with a squeeze of lemon and prepare to be really happy. There are other sandwiches – notably the Toast Skagen which is a top notch shrimp salad on the same magic bread. The tuna salad is pretty excellent too (secret ingredient – apple) and there is also egg salad, chicken curry and other very Scandi things like goat cheese with cloudberry jam. A cloudberry definitely seems like a made up thing, but they are delicious naturally. You can also get this cloudberry jam on top of Swedish pancakes. Oh wait, and the pickles. Each sandwich comes with a little side of homemade pickles that are so fresh and perfect. We usually buy and extra tub of them to bring home because they make pretty much anything you may make at home better. There are shelves and shelves of other Swedish goodies to take home. We don’t know what any of them are, but we imagine they are all secretly magic and may make us taller. And blonder.

Olson’s Scandinavian Deli
5660 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Croft Alley

So the first time we encountered Croft Alley it wasn’t actually open yet and they gave us a free lunch. A bomb free lunch of a mini pizza and giant salad. So naturally we were eagerly anticipating the actual opening and really could not have been happier after our first real paid visit. There are so many good things happening here. The menu switches up all the time but usually features things like a vermicelli salad and an absolutely perfect tuna melt – truly best in LA maybe. And on the weekends there’s brunchy things like a sandwich of soft fluffy scrambled eggs and the insanely pretty yogurt with chlorophyll, plus a chlorophyll drink too. It’s all delicious and the space is so charming. A little brick lined courtyard inside with pillow-covered benches and a sunny patio in the alley. There’s herbs growing on said patio and you can watch your server casually pick a few fresh things to top off your meal. Delightful.  We could eat here every day, and it seems that many people do. But even if you aren’t a regular, everyone is always sooooo nice. And of course you can pick up an Alfred Coffee to go with your meal. Double win. You can also hit them up for a private dinner. So our next birthday is pretty much planned.

Croft Alley
8428 Melrose Place
Los Angeles, CA 90069

(go all the way to the back or enter through the alley off Melrose)

Click here for lots of tempting pics and basic info.

Louie Loves LA: The Assembly

This spot just opened up in the neighborhood and it is oh so pretty. Bright white and filled with light natural wood shades, it is minimal and clean but at the same time feels welcoming.   It is so fresh and lovely inside you feel like your coffee is really giving you a while new start. Always appreciated. They have a standard coffee menu featuring Counter Culture coffee and teas from August Uncommon, including a delicious minty ‘Palmer’ iced tea. There’s also tasty pastries from The Larder and donuts from Donut Snob. Yay! Donuts! Its so relaxing here we like to get our coffee to stay so we can take a little break and enjoy the pretty space. They sell a few cute items too – ceramic mugs and super cute cards. It’s open 7am to 7pm (8am to 5pm on Sundays_ so drop in any time to enjoy the elegant space and sip your caffeinated beverage. Or just to take really really pretty Instagrams. It’s good for that too. It’s also directly across the street from Phillip Lim so now you have an excuse to shop after you sip.

The Assembly
634 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Click here for more info.

Louie Loves LA: Moon Juice

So much juice so little time. Seriously we think we just saw and article with the title LA’s 20 Essential Juice Shops. The possibilities are endless and when we need a midday pick me up we’ll happily pop into whichever one happens to be closest and offering vaguely healthy cold beverages. But there are a few things that set Moon Juice apart from the pack for us. First off, we love that everything is listed by benefit so you can easily find a helpful remedy for whatever ails you. Big event? Go for the beautifying Minted Watermelon Rind. Feel a cold coming on? Try the cell defending California Sun. Pool party? Pick up a anti-bloat Hibiscus Lemonade.   And needless to say they are all delicious. For real. Another Moon Juice bonus – the giant menu of ‘Moon Milks.’ Made with various combinations of nuts, seeds, coconut etc, these offer yet another yummy way to get some much need nutrients and protein. Also quite tasty and a perfect midday snack when you are on the go. They sell many of their magic ingredients so you can pump up your at home smoothies too. There’s a whole dust and tonics sections that’s a bit over our heads and by that we mean we want them all but have resisted because we feel sort of silly spending $65 on a pretty little jar labeled Beauty Dust, even though we are sure it will make us really really pretty right? Ok, cool, we’ll pick one up next time.

Moon Juice
507 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291

2839 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

(And at The Ace Downtown)

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Madcapra


You know we love Grand Central Market (see here, here, here). Our latest obsession is Madcapra. This veggie filled spot makes insane falafel and super delicious sides and snacks. Not to mention a bomb cardamom iced coffee and strangely delicious beet soda. We would eat here every day if possible. It’s all very fresh and colorful – hallmarks of healthy, tasty food – and you can watch everything being made right before your eyes while you dine at the pretty marble counter.   We even like their color scheme. But back to the food. Our favorite is definitely the Green in both sandwich and salad form – order determined by hunger level.   The Green features lots of greens, duh, plus cauliflower, fennel and the creamy labneh. But really you cant go wrong. The Red and Orange options offer and equally delicious mix of falafel, veggies, and magic sauces. If you are hungry, go for the sandwich version because the flatbread is BOMB. As are all of the sides – the grilled cabbage is a must try. The snacks are fabulous too – carrot sticks with their ranchy labneh is a serious upgrade to the standard veggie + dip combo and the salt and sumac chips are highly addictive. So basically we also try to come here when famished so we can order many many things. They regularly bust out specials too. Just another excuse to visit regularly. Alright, now we’re starving. See you there tomorrow!

Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, Ca 90013

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Redbird

Ohhh Redbird. So pretty. So delicious. This place is pretty amazing. It’s in an old church or something like that and the glass roof opens up to the sky on warm nights. Because seriously, this is LA, who needs roofs? There’s lots of marble, some plants. The space is so fresh and open but still feels intimate. This all happens after you pass the cozy bar area, where you should certainly stop and have a drink because the cocktails are delicious and the bartenders are extremely friendly and knowledgeable.   When you settle in for your under the stars dinner, you’re presented with a menu organized by size.   Pick a bunch of things to snack on from the left while you contemplate your larger options. Definitely get the chicken pot pie. Possibly the best we’ve ever had. It’s rich, insanely flavorful and served in an adorably tiny copper pot. Just enough for a bite or two for everyone at the table. We love the salads here too, so tempting as foie gras and lamb belly may be, don’t skip them. Other faves of ours include the octopus and the posole. Conference with your dinner mates to decide on a large shared plate. Tough to go wrong with a 32oz porterhouse. Everyone says the smoked tofu is amazing but we’ve yet to try it. They’re open for lunch now too which means more salads, roast chicken and a very serious burger. They have a whole lunch cocktail menu too. Clear sign of a top notch spot.

114 East Second Street
Los Angeles, 90012

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Republique

We’d really just like to move in here. It’s beautiful and delicious for breakfast lunch and dinner. Luckily it’s in our ‘hood so we’ll settle for frequent, perhaps daily visits for now. The tile floors and vaulted ceilings are Instagrammed every two seconds so browse there for an idea of the over the top gorgeousness. As for the food, let’s start with breakfast shall we? The second you walk in the door you’ll see the huge case of pastries, all of which are so delicious it’s hard to choose. There are bombolinis (filled donuts) and tarts and mini loaves of delicious breads and you should order as many as you can without being embarrassed. If you’re with a group get a few to share while you wait for your meal or to take home. On the full breakfast/brunch menu, there’s the best French Toast we’ve ever had. Seriously. One giant perfect, fluffy, rich piece. Get it. If you’ve skipped the pastries, get this to share for the table.   Move on to the Shakshouka and the Kimchi Fried Rice. So bomb. For lunch we love the Croque Madame – a classic and wonderful version, the Chicken Salad Sandwich and the Chopped and Little Gem salads. They have smoothies and green juice too so you can pretend you’re being healthy. The dinner menu is switched up often so let your server guide though a mix of snacks, salads, pastas and mains.   The item we still talk about ALL the time is the sole – buttery and delicious and served with the creamiest potatoes. Heaven. Pretty much everything is cooked in their huge wood oven – roast chicken, short ribs, steak – so it is hard to go wrong.

624 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Petit Trois

Petit Trois is pretty much what we would design if we could dream up our perfect neighborhood restaurant. And guess what? It is our neighborhood restaurant! The menu is small but made up of all the best French classics. French Onion Soup, an absolutely perfect omelet, steak frites – seriously this place is what Sunday night dreams are made of. It’s glorious. It’s tiny and they don’t take reservations, which makes it even better. There’s no what time can they take us deliberating. Just show up. It’s only bar seating so it’s best for a cozy, intimate group of three or less. It’s also an ideal place for a solo meal. If you’re on the kitchen side you are just inches away from all the stovetop and prep action so your meal basically comes with a free cooking lesson. To start we like the endive salad which comes in the form of an almost white little mound with all the extras hidden underneath. The carrot salad is also tops and the escargots will fulfill all your Parisian (or Pretty Woman) fantasies. It’s pretty much impossible to go wrong with your main course. It really hard for us not to order the chicken every single time. It’s crispy and rich and accompanied by a crisp refreshing salad. The Steak Frites is as classic as can be and the Croque Madame is picture perfect every time. Traditional desserts like Floating Island and Napoleon don’t disappoint either. Wait, did we mention the drinks? So many pretty cocktails here. Current fave is the Fluer de Mal – rose petal infused vodka with grapefruit and lemon. Yes! We also love the Panache as a midday treat (they’re open for lunch too kids) – a just right mix of Kronenburg and sparkling lemonade. Oh so refreshing. It’s all styled so well too – marble bar, checkered floor, bistro plates…

Petit Trios
718 N. Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Louie Loves LA: Naturewell

Or really Naturewell 2 because we’re closer to that one, but you know equal love for both if we’re not talking proximity. We first became addicted to the place because of the acai bowls, which we would eat every single day if we could. A perfect post pilates breakfast or afternoon snack, Naturewell’s are topped strawberries, banana, blueberries, coconut and honey – arranged in a neat pattern which we love for no reason – for the perfect amount of sweetness. You can also choose from any of their granolas for your base, which is good because, you know, OPTIONS. But of course it is not just the bowls. The smoothies are all filled with good for you things while still actually tasting good. Woohoo. We love the Coconut Kale – the hint of cinnamon is the key. On the juice side we like the Sweet & Spicy Flush, Life Line, and Healthy Heart. And then there’s the Face Melter shot. Unclear what exactly this is supposed to do for you but we feel the need to get one every once in awhile just because. They have one of those buy 10 get one free punches cards which all other places stopped some time in the late 90s for no reason so we appreciate that. We also always see cops here, which cracks us up because of course LA cops drink kale smoothies.

Naturewell 2
7261 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

3824 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Click here for menus.

Louie Loves LA: Verve Coffee

Such a welcome addition to downtown, we’ve become sort of obsessed with Verve.  While there’s lots of fancy coffee happening downtown, it’s mostly in the Arts District so we were thrilled to see Verve open up on Spring (though we hear they have an Arts District location in the works too…).  The space is amazing.  It was designed but Studio Mai, whose office is actually right behind Verve.  They designed pretty much every restaurant space in LA we’re in love with so it’s no surprise that we want to move in here.  From the patterned floor to the plant covered walls on the patio, it is perfectly soothing and relaxing here.  Good for both in person catch-ups and meetings or quick solo email sessions.  We want all the furniture too.   But on to the coffee, Verve does all their own roasting in Santa Cruz and they are very serious about coffee, but also very friendly and chatty and happy to explain and make recommendations.  Quite nice.  We usually don’t get to fancy both the lattes and cold brew are perfect.  There’s also Juice Served Here happening so you can fuel up in a variety of ways in this one convenient and as discussed very aesthetically pleasing stop.  Win!  The juice flight is very popular, but we like the shakes so an on the go snack.  There are some little sandwiches and treats too.  And the BEST (only?) good vegan + gluten free muffin we’ve ever had – The apple cinnamon.  Get it.

Verve Coffee
833 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Click here for details.