Sixty minutes. Sixty. A whole hour. That is how long it took me to go to this special place in Los Angeles. Believe me, the journey to this place was like every trip in L.A.: get in to the car, hit the road and drive with all the other poor souls who live there, to the final destination. In my case, Menotti’s. I have to be honest with you from the beginning: I love coffee. Je t’aime, l’amour. Really, I do. For me, this little “black bean” is one of the biggest discoveries in human history. And is my love to it is crazy enough, to make me hit the road for an hour just to enjoy the best coffee on the entire US Westcoast? The answer is yes. Not even my impatience could hold me back.
So back to the story an Menotti’s. To be quite frank, it was a recommendation from a friend who used to live in L.A. for several years. The reason why she shared the secret of this place with me is my constant complaining (yes I do that every now and then) about L.A., which in my view, is one of the most boring cities on the entire planet (I might have an “individual” bias here). My friend clearly wanted to prove me wrong. So here I am (I’m literally in Menotti’s while writing this post), following her advice to visit this place, which was supposed to completely change may mind about this city of dreams….
It is late afternoon and I expected this place to be buzzing after all I heard about it. I cross Winward Avenue and I approach the coffee shop. From the outside, it looks like a typical place in L.A.
Two floors, a front entrance, which makes you think, that no one ever cared about this building. It has this retro sign that, I have to say, does attract my attention. However, nothing special to report so far. So I route to the main entrance and reach the handle to open the metal door.
The door opens and makes a squeaky noise. I’m having doubts: Was it worth coming here after a busy day? Please, please, let the coffee be good. I wasn’t expecting the best coffee on the Westcoast, but I expected at least some decent coffee. So finally, I am here. A warm welcome from one of the retro-baristas made my doubts about my choice go away. The traditional record player caught my eye immediately. A recognisable hip hop tune was filling up the room. Very important – it was not too loud to prevent a conversation and not too quiet to hear the noise when you put your coffee cup back on to the saucer. Just right, you know what I mean.
So I order my coffee. The barista is NOT a “quad long shot grande in a venti cup half calf double cupped no sleeve salted caramel mocha latte with 2 pumps of vanilla substitute 2 pumps of white chocolate mocha for mocha and substitute 2 pumps of hazelnut for toffee nut half whole milk and half breve with no whipped cream extra hot extra foam extra caramel drizzle extra salt add a scoop of vanilla bean powder with light ice well stirred.” Nope. (By the way, this drink really exists). I go for simple. Double espresso. Not more and not less. No sugar. No milk. No nothing. Just a double espresso. And Menotti’s doesn’t look like one of those places where you can order a 72 word long coffee. The barista recommends a Strawberry Danish thingy and I also want to try “Gingersnap” (which is a crazy gingery juice with a lot of power).
After paying nearly 20 bugs, I watch the barista working away in his little coffee heaven. And guys, I love what I see: he grinds the coffee freshly and weighs it. Yes, he weighs it and makes sure that the amount does not exceed 21 grams. About 30 seconds later he hands me the coffee in a white purist cup. The fresh aroma hits my nostrils. I leave the fancy counter and take a seat on the long wooden tree shaped table with all my goodies. I open the Gingersnap. Boom. Ginger alert. My brain starts to cough. What a rough drink. You really feel like you are drinking something freshly squeezed rather than bottled. You need to like ginger, otherwise, this drink from “Clover” doesn’t make you happy. The pastry with strawberries and the sweet sugary crumble on top: tasty. Very tasty. One of the best strawberry things I have ever eaten. However, the double espresso still to come. I had to wait a bit because I didn’t want that ginger and strawberry interfere with the coffee taste. Finally, it’s time to taste.
Black double espresso in a white purist cup. Yin and yang. That is how I love it. I tilt the cup gently and smell the rough roast aroma. At this very moment, I am not sure what to expect. The first sip justifies the sixty minute travel time to Menotti’s. The roast they are using is extremely well balanced and the coffee leaves a spicy sensation. I don’t taste Beans from Costa Rica (Finca Tono Honey) but it is still amazing. Really, excellent work. Totally worth it. It is the best coffee I had in the US so far. I’m sure that there are superb coffee places in the US, however, this is definitely the best I’ve been to so far. This coffee sweetened my L.A. experience this time and I’m looking forward to coming back to Los Angeles, Winward Avenue, Menotti’s. Next time with Bubbel. To get her the best cappuccino she has probably ever tasted (except for mine, of course!).