Bread Lounge & Handsome Coffee Roasters

The Custard Filled Timbale at The Bread Lounge

The Custard Filled Timbale at The Bread Lounge

I suppose food is my hobby, and, a hobby that I’m quite passionate about.  I love everything about food. I love to make it, photograph it, write about it, talk endlessly about it, meet chefs, talks to chefs, and to travel far and wide to find the best products and dishes a gal can eat. If someone told me they had found the best ice cream, pizza or sushi, then I make it my mission to search out that place and see for my self what the brouhaha is all about.

Recently I turned to my friend Gail, as we were out on one of our weekly culinary re-con missions, and asked her, “are you willing to drive over an hour for what I hear is incredible bread and some seriously good coffee?” She quickly gave me the thumbs up.  So, off we went, barreling down the 101 freeway headed towards downtown Los Angeles through some pretty gnarly traffic; which we call just an average day here in the City of Angels. I had heard from some of my carbohydrately obsessed friends that there was a bakery/cafe on the outskirts of downtown Los  Angeles that baked some of the best breads and pastries this side of the LA River. My, but I was intrigued. As we drove, my small car sandwiched in between semi’s and eighteen wheelers making so much racket that we couldn’t even communicate with each other, we wondered if we were both out of our minds to continue this quest. But continue we did.

the Bread Lounge in Downtown Los Angeles

Bread Lounge in Downtown Los Angeles

Bread Lounge is located in the “Arts” district in downtown Los Angeles. The super good news is that there’s a free parking lot located in the back of the restaurant.  The restaurant is small and somewhat industrial looking, yet it still has a warm ambience to it, which was probably due to the lively youthful crowd that was spilling out the door and down the street. I guess the word has gotten out about their amazing goodies. I am told that owner/baker Ran Zimon learned his craft in Israeli bakeries. As Gail and I stood in line waiting to order, we grabbed jars of homemade preserves with flavors like Peach-Mango-Passionfruit and packages of boxed cookies ready to go. For a small joint, the selection was pretty vast. They offer fresh made salads, paninis, and sandwiches made on the most awesome of baguettes and breads. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Sandwich and the Roasted Beet Salad with Chicken, both excellent choices.

Ricotta Filled Pastry at the Bread Lounge

Ricotta Filled Pastry at Bread Lounge

But the best was yet to come. Gail and I ordered a cross-section of The Bread Lounge’s flakey pastries such as their custard filled timbale, chocolate croissant and pain au raisin. I guess what I’m telling you is, if you’re as obsessed with authentic French-style pastry as I am, then you must make the trek to the Bread Lounge.

The Bread Lounge – 700 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Best darn Smoke Salmon Sandwich on Multi-Grain Baguette and Roasted Beet Salad

Best darn Smoked Salmon Sandwich on Multi-Grain Baguette and Roasted Beet Salad

The neighborhood surrounding the Bread Lounge is interesting & colorful

The neighborhood surrounding Bread Lounge is interesting & colorful

But what good is pastry without a good cup of coffee, am I right?  Recently I had dinner at a restaurant called Red Medicine. I usually find restaurant coffee overly bitter or just plain watered-down, but the coffee they served tasted just like, well, coffee. Imagine that. Really, what’s a girl gotta do to get a good cup of joe in this town. I was told the brand they serve was called Handsome Coffee Roasters. Okay, so now I had to figure out how to get my hands on a bag of these beans. After doing a little research I discovered that their coffee roasting facility was in downtown Los Angeles and just a few blocks from Bread Lounge. Yay, must be karma. Good bread and good coffee in one easy downtown location!

As Gail and I made our way to the entry of Handsome Coffee Roasters we had to fight our way through lights, cameras and dozens of “extras” dressed in winter clothing although it was 85 degrees in Los Angeles. Only in LA. The facility was closed because they were filming an episode of ABC’s Castle that day. We would not be deterred. After some cajoling, and a lot of tears, the manager told us to go around to the alley and he would sell us some coffee. It was actually kind of cool because they allowed us to see all the behind-the-scenes equipment and just how the coffee is roasted.

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Handsome Coffee Roasters

So, happily we scored ourselves of couple of bags of coffee and we were on our way. Now I can enjoy a great cup of Handsome coffee each day in the privacy of my own home. So, for those of you who don’t live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, just go to your computer and order online.

Handsome Coffee Roasters in action

Handsome Coffee Roasters in action

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Handsome Coffee Roasters – 582 Mateo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

32 thoughts on “Bread Lounge & Handsome Coffee Roasters

  1. Well, you’ve given me some wonderful recommendations for places to visit when I’m in LA again. And, I must find myself a a culinary partner to go on these missions. Right now it’s my hubby and he is not always please with some of my more adventurous choices!

  2. Well, Sheryl!

    You are a girl after my own heart. Beet salad? Smoked salmon? AMAZING French pastries? Fresh coffee? Yes, please. I adore reading about your culinary adventure – from the amazingly bad traffic to the astoundingly great food. ;-)

    You know, there is also a renowned baker in Atlanta – his name is Alon, and he is also a skilled bakery and pastry chef – particularly when it comes to fine, French pastries. I am seeing a pattern now. ;-)

    Thank you for sharing your “hobby” with us. There is no better pastime than food. When we were young (and not “flush,”), my husband would (half-) jokingly say that food was our “entertainment budget.” HA.

    Take good care. – Shanna

  3. Sheryl, thank you for your food travelogue….this sounds like a tv show in the making…Your photos are great…thank you for sharing.

  4. So good to read another one of your reviews. Your photography is top-notch. Have you thought about publishing a picture book of your favorite foods and food-related adventures? :)

  5. Seems like you had a fantasticly fullfilling day with your friend Gail. Non the less with the little inconveniences, that one can encounter, on account that life is not perfect. Coffee sounds like a real treat though. I remember this tiny place it was called The Great Canadian Soup Co. Located on Young and Dundas in downtown Toronto, and it served the most fantastic coffee with there home made bran muffins. Mmmmm yummy (mangia e morì) as we say in Furlan. Ah yes, and at lunch time there soups and sandwiches where fantastic.

  6. Thank you for the coffee suggestions–it’s rare to find a great cup of joe. I actually gave up the search but you gave me a few reasons to keep trying. Do you like Inteligenstia coffee. I think it’s worth the adventure to Silver Lake, Venice or Pasadena. Enjoy!

    1. That’s so funny. I was just in Silver Lake the other day and stopped at Intelligentsia for a cup of coffee and remarked to my friend just how good it was. However, they now sell their coffee at my local Gelson’s market and it wasn’t good at all! Very expensive and pretty tasteless. So I guess you’ve got to go to their locations for a good cup of joe!

  7. Thanks for the review! We’ll be in LA in December. I know where to go for some good old fashioned (French?) pastries! Nothing says comfort like butter, flour, and sugar.

  8. That pastry looks delicious! I wish there were more places serving such beautiful food around my area. I also want to give you the Versatile Blogger Award! I enjoy reading your blog, so thanks for sharing with us! :)

  9. I always seek out food adventures (after absurd amounts of time spent researching) when we travel but I don’t do it nearly often enough right at home! This post has me craving good bread and coffee and since I am almost 2,000 miles from LA, I will have to plan a food adventure closer to home soon! I am pinning this post on my travel tips board, just in case I find myself in LA. :)

Leave a Reply