Making Progress: A Graffiti Coffee Update

1-2012-08-04_11-14-43_286

To all my decaf-soy-2 shot-vanilla-mocha-frappuccino-no whip-latte lovin’ readers:

Ask and you shall receive! I won’t take full credit for this, but apparently the right people over at Graffiti  read my post last August (and probably all of the complaints feedback on Yelp) and made some major improvements to how they do things. I stopped in for a pre-Superbowl party caffeine fix this past Sunday and was pleasantly surprised when I was….

1) …asked for my milk choice!?! And not just your typical 1% or 2% options, they even offered me almond milk (which I jumped on and thoroughly enjoyed)!

2) That cash only nonsense? Gone. They take debit, baby! Something that shouldn’t have ever been an issue in the first place and I knew wouldn’t last long anyway.

3) I’ve been here a handful of times in recent months and the very unnecessary valet parking service is seemingly kaput. Thank goodness. I’m all for high glam, but there is a fine line and this totally pushed it.

4) It also looks like we’ve hired an interior decorator, somewhat. It’s still very much a completely stark white and black palette with a minimalist flair; but I had to admit, I loved the new addition to a wall that just needed something. It’s become my new personal motto:

1-2013-02-03_10-36-03_940

Graffiti went from a B- to a B+ in my book thanks to the improvements, but because 1) I don’t get the really random, huge, and completely misplaced painted portrait of Anne Hathaway on the wall; and 2) I’m noticing in the attire section on Yelp, apparently Graffiti has gone formal and a jacket is required? I’m assuming this is a joke, but if it’s not it’s a step back. Even the baristas are in jeans. Come on.

Now if I can just get them to re-think the name or work with it in a more concrete way – you can’t have a business called “Graffiti” with not one iota of color in the place besides the pastry case.

We’re making progress, people. But as they say, there’s always room for improvement. I’ll keep you guys posted (as I’m finishing my no fuss decaf vanilla latte from Coffee Bean).

Advertisements

2012 Best in Blogging: My Favorite Posts

One of the best things I did last year was start All That Glitters. I think of it as a mixture of both a guide to and celebration of life in Los Angeles. I love this city and while I am always struggling with what’s next and how to get there, I love my life too. I love this blog. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Today, as we enter the last week of January 2013 (which is pretty hard to believe), I want to take a step back and officially close out all things 2012 with my top 10 personal favorite blog posts from the year. Each of these were not only fun to write, but I was also happy with how they turned out both in content and my somewhat mediocre photography skills. Within each of the ten posts also lies some my happiest memories of 2012.

{TEN.} Graffiti Coffee Bar – Perhaps it’s a sentimental choice because this was my first real blog post, but I think it’s also because this set the tone for how I wanted my blog to be: topical, sharply written, while saluting and celebrating my love of all things L.A.. However, even I found it completely ridiculous to even think lattes and valet parking should ever go in the same sentence. (Oh! A latte sounds so good right now! I’ll be right back…)

1-2012-08-04_11-14-43_286

{NINE.}  Making Arrangements  Me as Martha Stewart for a day (okay, maybe more like 30 minutes) trying to make my own floral arrangement with a little help from Lauren Conrad (of all people). My favorite D.I.Y. post of 2012. I was so proud of my little creation.

1-Blog Pics1

{EIGHT.}  Dirty Dancing in the Cemetery – A look at my first time experiencing the super popular young L.A. thing to do on a hot summer Saturday night, a Cinespia film screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This post reflects on how I had the time of my life and the first time I’d ever seen a shooting star in the night sky. Hey, like the post says – I live in L.A.! Shout out to myself on what has to be my most cleverly titled post.

1-2012-09-01_19-32-27_244

{SEVEN.} How I Spent 100 Years in Hollywood – My night at the Hollywood Bowl celebrating Paramount Studios 100 years in the movie making  business, told with the help of George Costanza and the most notable movie music in all of cinema. A night to remember and a post that I always look back on fondly.

1-2012-09-02_19-32-25_281

{SIX.} Farmers For A Day – The day I left the city behind and headed out to the country (ok, not literally the country but it wasn’t too far from it) and spent some time on an apple farm picking fruit and hanging with the native country folk. This was a day of trying something new and it being oh so fun!

1-2012-10-27_12-14-06_690

{FIVE.} Food To Die For: El Coyote Mexican Cafe – My account of what happens when you eat at my favorite Mexican Restaurant in L.A., El Coyote. Please read carefully, you’ve been warned of the side effects of food consumption on these premises. Oh! And God bless re-fried beans!

1-Recently Updated3

{FOUR.} Snow in L.A. – Psst! Hey you. Yeah, you! I’ve got a little secret to tell you. It snows in Los Angeles. No, really. Seriously! It snows right in the middle of LA and I’m letting the cat out of the bag. I loved this post because it meant that festive time of year was finally here. It was officially Christmas!

1-2012-11-23_19-02-27_460

{THREE.} Cupcakes and Cashmere L.A. Book Signing – A treat to stop by and say hello to my favorite blogger, Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere fame, at her L.A. book signing. Cheers to the art of blogging!

1-2012-09-27_18-49-043

{TWO.}  2012: Best in Books, Guilty Pleasure – My delicious account of the book(s) that rocked my world during the summer of 2012. It was so much fun writing this post and reliving all the delectable moments between Anastasia Steele and our dark friend, Christian Grey. (Insert mischievousness voice here) Happy reading and laters baby!

1-2012-12-10_08-27-022

{ONE.} Mission San Juan Capistrano – Admittedly, I like this post more because of the crisp stunning images that bring me back to such a relaxing and happy day spent on boyfriend’s birthday. This is not my wittiest post when it comes to writing (see #2 and #4 above for that fix) but I think of this day as my most memorable from 2012 and in the end, it’s these types of posts that stick with you.

1-2012-11-11_14-20-34_421

Thank you for reading All That Glitters!  I hope you enjoy the posts as much I enjoy writing them. I promise you 2013 will be filled with even more sparkle! 🙂

Highlights: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

During the Holidays, most of the fun for me comes from the build-up, immersing myself in the spirit of the season. Weeks of planning, shopping, listening to holiday music, wrapping presents, going to festive parties, stopping by The Grove, sipping warm beverages, decorating and then enjoying the warm glow of a Christmas tree; and before you know it, it’s showtime…

CHRISTMAS EVE

After a relaxing and lazy start to the day, we spent Christmas Eve in Downtown Santa Cruz walking along the quaint Pacific Avenue.  It was an afternoon perusing charming boutiques and the used book and music stores. Of course, out of all the boutique places around us, I go and buy something from The Gap (I know, which is like everywhere!). I also tried my boyfriend’s favorite cookie from his old stomping grounds (delish!) before meeting up for a casual dinner and movie with his family. We ended the night with a short drive around town to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. It was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

1-2012-12-24_16-10-55_743

{Strolling Pacific Avenue.}

1-ATG Blog Pix - Christmas 2012-001

{Enjoying the famous Lemon Drop cookie from the Pacific Cookie Company.}

1-2012-12-24_15-12-35_387

{Admiring the marquee of the old Del Mar Theater.}

1-2012-12-24_20-42-26_412

{Inside the Del Mar. Our Christmas Eve movie was Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3D. Warning: amazing visuals, super boring and shallow story line.}

CHRISTMAS DAY

Rise and shine, bright and early. Christmas day had arrived and it was filled with lots of smiles, gratitude, food and good company. Let’s just say Santa was very kind this year. It’s always the things you’ve had your eye on, but mentally filed away for another time that happen to magically appear under the tree that are my favorite. I also love a really good surprise. This year after giving and receiving gifts that couldn’t have been more perfect, my boyfriend went and did the unbelievable. The last gift opened was a paper confirmation of a 3 night hotel stay in Carmel. Our Northern California Christmas was being extended! Here are just few photo highlights that don’t even begin to capture all the highlights of that special day. I was in such a fog of happiness, I rarely took my camera out.

1-DSC00734

{Sneak peek at some of the wrapped presents.}

1-2013-01-09_19-36-03_9

{Surprise! I’d been eyeing these awesome purple hand blown glasses from Maison Midi on La Brea for months!}

1-2012-12-26_21-56-43_946

{Picture this: A 4.5 pound bag of Hot Tamales, gift-wrapped! I didn’t even know they came this big!}

1-2012-12-27_11-12-07_309

{Victoria’s Secret gift card. Always a welcomed present.}

1-DSC00737

{Getting ready for dinner.}

1-2013-01-09_19-32-52_928

{Hotel confirmation for a 3 night stay in Carmel!}

Food To Die For: El Coyote Mexican Cafe

Location: 7312 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, Mid-City

Hands down my favorite Mexican restaurant sits on Beverly Boulevard, down the street from The Grove, 4 blocks before La Brea Avenue. Name: El Coyote. Mission: food to die for.

I first learned about this place years ago while watching all important, heavy-hitting television at the time, The Hills (don’t judge!). Heidi and Spencer’s psycho relationship and MTV’s penchant for filming all over town were good for something!

Fast forward a few years later and it’s my favorite place to indulge occasionally in greasy, highly caloric, but worth every fat cell I get Mexican food! I stick with the tried and true Guacamole Dinner. For $13.50, I have at least four different plates in front of me – a cheese enchilada, a beef taco, refried beans, Mexican style rice, a small bowl of guacamole, and the garden salad (because it’s the only healthy thing in the meal and makes me feel less guilty for downing my stomach in cheese, I had to end on the salad).

{Guacamole Dinner.}

Nothing but the best of things to say about this place. I’ve always had great experiences with the food, the wait staff are super friendly, and the over the top decor of the restaurant is the perfect touch. The point? Get in your car and don’t stop until you’re in front of El Coyote. If you hit La Brea – you clearly didn’t read my post and need to turn around! 🙂

{Interior of the restaurant – a salute to Halloween.}

Don’t, I repeat, DO NOT even waste your time dragging you and your bestie here if you’re on a diet – you gain weight just watching the large amounts of food walk past you. Oh! And expect to be in a total “mexi-coma” after you eat here. Don’t make any other plans, other than to head straight home and veg on your couch or sprawl in bed. It’ll take a full night to recover, but I promise you, your tongue with have enjoyed the experience even if your stomach is a wee bit upset with you.

Hope to see you there!

Labor Day Bloom

Location: 5544 Pico Boulevard

It’s funny how different your days feel when you aren’t in the throws of the normal work week. I wrapped up a well-rounded Labor Day Weekend spending last Monday (which felt like a Sunday and nothing like a day in the office) doing two of my favorite things: going out for breakfast and catching an early flick.

My boyfriend and I headed over to the much buzzed about Sycamore Kitchen to start-off a relaxing day; but unfortunately, management decided to give their staff the day off too. The cafe was closed. Kudos to them, not so great for us. Not to worry, we had an excellent back-up in my guy’s next suggestion. A short drive down La Brea, a right on Pico, and half a mile later we made it to Bloom Cafe.

I was happy within 15 minutes of grabbing a seat outside. First, parking was a breeze, which automatically makes me like any establishment ten times better than I normally would. Second, I had a latte in front of me that looked like this:

I was disappointed that they didn’t offer flavored lattes (what cafe doesn’t have vanilla syrup in stock – hello?) but adding a touch of agave nectar with a stir or two put me in a happier place. I went with a simple bacon, egg, pancake combo that came with a small salad lightly brushed with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I enjoyed it immensely and almost forgave them for that whole vanilla syrup mess. Almost.

An hour and a latte later, we made our way to the movies. This Labor Day’s flick: Lawless. Not much to say, other than I was entertained and thrilled to have been born during a time where showers are more of a priority. This would be a good DVD rental if you can wait a few months, but a great time in the theater as well if you’re looking to kill some time with mindless entertainment.

All in all, a solid, fun-filled and memorable 2012 Labor Day Weekend. All you need is a little pampering, some time with the girls, an evening in the cemetery, a night at the Bowl, and breakfast with your guy!

Graffiti Coffee Bar

Location: 180 S La Brea Avenue, Mid-City

Welcome the City of Angels! The place where even making a quick stop to grab an iced latte on a warm Sunday afternoon between errands necessitates valet parking. The first 20 minutes free, of course.

Anytime I see the word coffee, cafe, latte, or any iteration of the espresso bean posted around town, it makes my heart flutter with pure joy. I picked up my now ever-present coffee addiction (or daily treat as I like to say) when I first started working in “the industry” and was charged with the glamorous task of taking everyone’s Starbucks order. Outside of that cliché fact, you can’t help but notice when a brand new, blinding, stark white building pops up while driving down the in-progress revamping that has become La Brea Avenue. A street that while trendy in its own right, sticks to a more common opaque color scheme.

Enter Graffiti Coffee Bar. Strangely named given that there isn’t much chromatism to the two-story black and white interior space. You feel like you’re about to walk into a Hollywood nightclub with the door entry selectively located on the side of the building, only to feel like you are actually in a nightclub with the thumping music and fireplace greeting you as you walk in. The Intelligentsia brewed coffee is delish (I smiled with every sip) but given that I spent $6 on an iced vanilla latte, it’ll be more of an indulgence than a regular neighborhood coffee spot.

Beware, they’re cash only (unbelievable and quite unacceptable in this day and age) and only serve whole or soy milk options, but were super friendly. I don’t see myself stopping in to sit and blog with my laptop anytime soon, I like a more quaint atmosphere where you can sit in your sweats and zone out for a couple of hours with your typical soft guitar music lacing the background; but I would make the trek here to meet a friend to catch up over coffee or if I’m feeling exceptionally rich and want to splurge on my caffeine fix.

All in all, a bit of a dramatic experience just to grab a latte, but it gave some spunk to an otherwise lazy Sunday last weekend. Then again, would it be Los Angeles if there weren’t some form of drama attached to it?