September 25, 2007

First Bite (sip): Intelligentsia

After my ridiculous exit from LAX, I made a quick stop for some much-needed nourishment. I wasn't particularly hungry, per say, but the delicious Southwest Airlines in-flight meal wasn't going to hold me over for the three-hour trip to Paso Robles.

A bit of research into LA hot spots led me to Intelligentsia, a new-ish coffeehouse in Silver Lake. Their mothership may be in Chicago, but the bohemian-hip cafe seemed very much in its element. Eater LA had the biggest part in getting me there. I needed a place to go. They had it. Done.

I shouldn't have been so surprised at the lack of food, but the moist, dense marble poundcake and pleasantly wet cappuccino more than compensated for the lack of harder savories. Plus, I thought the higher caffeine-to-body mass element might make the drive a bit better. (In retrospect, it just made me jittery and more impatient in the city's trademark traffic.) I'm not sure what else to say. The coffee was of the highest calibre. Hot enough, strong enough, pretty enough. The cake was so much more than I've come to expect from places known for their coffee, which is to say it tasted like cake.

It was quite easy to find, and the coffee is beautiful. The barristas grind and brew it on the spot, so it's pretty damn fresh. I found the staff to be quite knowledgeable and friendly. The comments on the LA Times Daily Dish site are moderately entertaining. One person noted that a visitor would never want to drink regular coffees ever again. I wonder if they meant Folger's, Starbucks, or sidewalk coffee trucks.

Question of the day: What is regular coffee, anyway?

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