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‘Discoveries’

Infuzion Café

WHY Delicious ‘infuzions,’ friendly people. WHAT This tiny coffeehouse just north of the Promenade draws a local, non-tourist crowd all day long. There’s free WiFi, but the tables are too small to allow for hours of leisurely Facebooking. The coffee’s fine, and the café’s signature ‘infuzions’—fruit-based iced-blended drinks—are delicious. WHO Local office workers and shoppers, [...]

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The Legal Grind

WHY Where else can $45 buy you ‘coffee & counsel’—a cuppa joe and twenty minutes of legal consultation? WHAT Corporate law was a grind, so Jeff Hughes combined his desire to become a ‘people’s lawyer’ with his love of a good coffeehouse to create this unusual place. You can drop in or make an appointment [...]

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Caffé Luxxe

WHY Each cup is a work of art. WHAT This place makes the best cappuccino in Santa Monica (calm down—Intelligentsia is in Venice). The setting is serene and European, with high ceilings and framed mirrors. Only espresso drinks are served (no brewed coffee), along with a few high-quality baked goods. But when the drinks are [...]

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Peet’s Coffee & Tea

WHY Major Dickason’s blend. WHAT If you must drink at a chain, this estimable Bay Area institution is the one to pick. The coffee drinks are robust and made by actual baristas, the take-home beans are addictive and thoughtfully ground, and all the locations were carefully chosen to showcase Peets’ outdoor tables in lively, people-watching [...]

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Perry’s Joint

WHY Can’t beat the soundtrack—great jazz on the stereo. WHAT A sophisticated, spacious spot, Perry’s is a terrific place to hold small business meetings or to work on your laptop (free WiFi). Good coffee, tasty sandwiches and Dreyer’s ice cream. WHO The hipper sorts of Northwest Pasadenans, after-school kids and employees of local nonprofits. 2051 [...]

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Café Bolivar

WHY It’s the perfect place to sit and finish your novel (the one you’re reading or the one you’re writing), while sipping coffee and eating some addictive arepas (stuffed cornmeal patties). WHAT This friendly, relaxed place is a real find in a sleeper Ocean Park neighborhood. It’s got an open, modern look and warm Latin [...]

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Bean Town Coffee Bar

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WHY Because it makes you want to move to Sierra Madre just to make this place your local coffeehouse. WHAT This just might be the perfect coffeehouse—robust java, funky-but-comfortable furniture and a terrifically diverse crowd. All that plus bluegrass and folk music on the weekends, WiFi, board games, sidewalk tables and homemade baked goods. WHO [...]

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Kaldi

WHY An authentic and appealing slice of European-style café life, right in the middle of Small Town, U.S.A. WHAT The sultry purple neon sign beckons passersby into this popular hangout in a handsome old brick building across from the library. On the menu: well-made espresso drinks and sunny sidewalk tables, but not much to eat. [...]

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The Coffee Gallery

WHY You can hang out as long as you like, and the private room is great for a committee meeting. WHAT Maybe it’s not the best coffee in town—and the service is often bizarrely slow—but there’s something endearing about this appealingly scruffy place anyway. For one thing, the live music in the separate concert room [...]

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Monte Alban

WHY The many moles—black, yellow, green, red, colorado—served in tamales, with chicken, in all sorts of dishes. Good huevos for breakfast, too. WHAT A fine and most affordable Oaxacan café known for its moles and its breakfast (good cinnamon-infused coffee). Try the mole negro tamale and the huitlachoche and frijoladas, a wonderful mix of beans, [...]

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