Copa Vida | Pasadena

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Brewing up a storm on the corner of Green Street and Raymond Avenue in Old Town Pasadena, Copa Vida is more than just another “local” coffee shop. Occupying a space just feet from the Del Mar Station and Memorial Park, Copa Vida has lived up to it’s name as a true breath of fresh air and is one espresso bar to look out for.

Offering only the highest in quality espresso drinks and teas, Copa Vida brings it back to the basics with a menu that reflects it’s motto– coffee, tea, food, and life. No artificial syrups or elaborate specialty drinks here. Just pure, simple, quality coffee.

What’s more, the freshman coffee shop is the closest thing to authentic italian roast that we’ve seen in Los Angeles to date. Venture away from those sugary icy slush drinks you normally order and get your day started a freshly pressed shot of espresso served with a crisp glass of sparkling water. Or enjoy a cup of loose leaf tea, steeped to order of course.

Craving a bite? Copa Vida also offers an exceptional food menu that includes Chef Erick Lee’s flavor heavy sandwiches and salads with only the freshest of seasonal ingredients. A personal The Squirrel Co. favorite is the Roasted Veggie Sandwich featuring roasted bell peppers, mushroom, eggplant, zucchini, ricotta cheese and arugula.

Committed to serving espresso that is both equitable and sustainable for all (from coffee farmers to roasters to baristas), Copa Vida is a company we back full-heartedly. Visit Copa Vida at it’s Old Town location (70 S. Raymond Ave.) or check the Copa Vida website..

Milkfarm LA | Eagle Rock

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With summer just around the corner, Los Angeles natives are gearing up for a season of outdoor fun, live entertainment, and of course great picnic foods! This year, be sure to head to the northeast LA neighborhood of Eagle Rock, where you’ll find the best in all picnic essentials. Milkfarm LA, a family-run cheese shop on Colorado Blvd., offers a diverse selection of artisan products including cheeses, meats, and olives– perfect for snacking during any summertime activity. This local cheese shop is the creation of six-year veteran and ex-pastry chef of The Cheese Store of Silverlake, Leah, who incorporates her love of locally grown ingredients into Milkfarm’s seasonal menu. As part of the menu, Milkfarm LA offers handcrafted artisan sandwiches (pictured above), local beers and wine pairings for all cheese and meat platters. Staying true to its mission of using only the best of locally grown products, Milkfarm LA has partnered up with Eagle Rock Farms to bring customers an authentic taste of its LA residency. So next time you plan on having some outdoor summer fun, be sure to stop by one of LA’s bests and hit up Milkfarm LA (website) at its 2106 W. Colorado Blvd. location in Eagle Rock.

Good Girl Dinette| Highland Park

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Simple is always best and Good Girl Dinette is proof of it. Located in the historic brick house district of the Northeast LA neighborhood of Highland Park, this Vietnamese restaurant offers a menu full of authentic flavors and old family recipes, made from locally grown ingredients. With bold flavors and an innovative culinary eye for quality dishes, Good Girl Dinette keeps it simple and let’s its food do all the talking. Start your order with a few Rice Cakes with Crisp Scallion Tofu ($5.50) and a side of Spicy Fries ($5). As a main entree, try their Galangal Chicken Bahn Mi ($9) or Vegetarian Curry Rice Dish ($12). Top off your meal with a Vietnamese-Styled Iced Coffee ($3.50), made from fresh pressed French coffee beans and condensed milk, for the ultimate Good Girl experience. To see the entire Good Girl Dinette breakfast and lunch menu, visit their website or drop by at 110 N. Avenue 56, Highland Park. And remember, keep it simple.

The Blind Donkey | Pasadena

New to the Pasadena bar scene, The Blind Donkey is making a name for itself among other local favorites in the Old Town neighborhood. Not only is it a great place for crafty whiskey, cocktails, and drafts, but the freshman gastropub also has a talented and innovative kitchen that knows exactly how to compliment the in-house drink menu. Whether you’re the Manhattan cocktail type or local IPA’s do the trick for you, this place has an impressive and creative menu to satisfy all tastes. What’s more, the venue does a great job at highlighting the classic brick-house Pasadena architecture that is synonymous with the area. Next time you’re on Colorado Blvd., take a detour and head north onto 53 E. Union St. to visit our friends at The Blind Donkey.

Grand Central Market | Downtown

LA Central MarketEstablished in 1917 in the heart of Bunker Hill in Downtown L.A., the Grand Central Market offers the best of local L.A. cuisines. The open air arcade market reflects the diverse population of its host city, featuring cuisines from global communities from all over the world. Enjoy delicious dishes from Mexico, China, Greece, Japan, Italy, Hawaii, El Salvador and a number of other international regions. The list of 37 establishments include kabab stands, an oyster bar, a yogurt factory, espresso bars, and sushi vendors– great news for those guests that like to have a bit of everything, come lunch time. To take your taste buds on a culinary adventure, check out the Grand Central Market at 317 S. Broadway in Downtown L.A. or visit the landmark’s website for more details.