While the beach towns really felt like a vacation, the L.A. that I fell in love with and was intrigued by were the various neighborhoods that were closer to downtown. Some of the best East Asian restaurants and tea spots I’ve ever been to were in Little Tokyo, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. After going to Griffith Observatory and hiking for 3 minutes, I worked up an appetite to eat more! Check out my L.A. Part 2: Hipster Heaven Eats post below:
Silver Lake/Echo Park:
Obviously L.A. is known for its taco trucks and its rich and authentic Mexican culinary history so we of course had to try some authentic L.A. tacos. Of course most authentic Mexican tacos are meat-heavy but we were able to find a spot that was authentic AND vegetarian friendly!
We tried the black bean tacos and mushroom tacos. Both were insanely delicious and flavorful. They had a delightful patio and were also super affordable! If you eat fish, they have a well-seasoned fish taco as well.
Being Mezcal lovers, we were excited to see a bar that featured Mezcal and Mexican cocktails. Bar Calo is oddly in a strip mall like so many other cool L.A. spots with a heated patio and small, dimly lit interior. We just happened to be here for happy hour and tried some lovely cocktails for $10. We tried the Mezcal Old Fashioned and the Mexican Firing Squad. The Old Fashioned was smoky and boozy whereas the Mexican Firing Squad was refreshing and lighter. They also have plenty of snacks to fill you up while you’re sipping on Mezcal while enjoying some ambient electronic music like Nicholas Jaar adding to its chic ambience.
Night Market + Song
There are some L.A. restaurants that are epic but you cannot make a reservation at, which makes the waiting experience anxiety-provoking and some people might avoid it altogether. At Night Market + Song, you have to write your name on a list and pray to the food gods that you won’t be waiting forever. Since we were on vacation, we had time to wait. Night Market + Song is the best Thai food I have ever had (no I haven’t been to Thailand). Their specialty is Northern Thai street food and unique wine, two of my favorite things in the world.
This restaurant is not the most veg-friendly unfortunately but of what we could have, everything was insanely delicious and flavorful. We ordered the vegetarian Khao Soi and the curry soup was meticulously spiced with plentiful vegetables and hearty tofu. We also ordered the Bangkok Mall Pasta which was spaghetti heavily seasoned with pepper, basil, and garlic. I couldn’t get enough of this and there was already so much of it. I can’t recommend this place enough. Even though the lack of veg-friendliness is frustrating their food quality is insanely amazing.
Lamill Coffee Boutique
This elevated coffee shop was delightful with their tea lattes and nitro cold brew. They have a gorgeous patio, breakfast items, and such well-prepared beverages. We ordered their oat milk iced Chai latte and Nitro Cold Brew. Both of these drinks were heavenly and I loved the environment here if you’re looking for a more open, upscale coffee shop experience.
Triniti Echo Park
But if you’d like something more minimal and a low-key, espresso bar experience, check out Trinity in Echo Park. The service was super friendly and they have unique lattes. We tried the Black Tahini Cappuccino with oat milk and Chai of course, which were soothing and satisfying for a fall-like day. The Black Tahini tasted mild, but was a gorgeous black latte. The service was excellent and warm as well. They weren’t too cool for us!
Sage Plant Based Bistro
This 100% vegan kombucha spot is a dream come true. They have your unhealthy vegan junk food and your healthy vegan greens. Sage is a vast, open space with a brewery-feeling. I was feeling under the weather and had their Sinus Blaster shot, which had elderberry, lemon, ginger, cayenne, and other goodies that helped me feel better. We also ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower Salad, which was basically a salad with buffalo cauliflower on the side. A bit strange of a set up since I thought the cauliflower would be integrated in the salad. But the buffalo cauliflower was perfectly made and crispy.
We also shared their vegan tortilla soup, which was hearty, comforting, and perfectly seasoned with avocado. Their Street Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos had scrumptious jackfruit with a hint of acidity from the lime and spicy pickled cabbage. It came with simple black beans and rice on the side, which were a great complement to the tacos. I would come back here in a heartbeat the next time I am in L.A. I was so happy to support a 100% vegan establishment.
Hey, Hey Tea
If you’re obsessed with tea and bubble tea like I am, then please take the time to go to this bubble tea gem where you can get pretty much any kind of bubble tea your heart desires. I had their special bubble tea with oat milk and it still had a fun and foamy topping with a really good black tea base (I think it was oolong). It was so great to be able to pick the milk option and Boba. The environment is also colorful with collages and a dog-friendly patio.
Well, that’s it for my L.A. Hipster Heaven Eats and Drinks post! Stay tuned for next week’s L.A. Part 3 post – my last L.A. post! For more travel posts, click here.
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