Back in July I relocated to the Thai Town side of Los Feliz, which meant I was suddenly pretty far from my old Silver Lake coffee shop staples, Dinosaur Coffee and Broome Street General, and looking for a new place to get my daily caffeine fix. Cold brew, black. Every morning if I can afford it. Luckily, a friend who already lived in the neighborhood advised me to check out a place right on Hollywood Boulevard, which was only about a five or ten minute walk from my front door. Naturally, I drove.
Though parking is notoriously difficult in Los Feliz — and might be the only thing I dislike about my new neighborhood — with all the restaurant closures due to COVID, I can sneak a spot in a nearby parking lot and pop into Obet & Del’s coffee to quickly get my drink. Odds are, once things are back to normal, I’ll have to walk, but I’m ok with that in exchange for the pandemic being over. Anyway, located at the corner of Hollywood and Harvard, this cheery and colorful spot is one of the brightest on the block, and brings a much-needed chic, airy storefront to a sometimes sparse area. Their current hours are 7 AM to 2 PM, so don’t wait too late in the afternoon to seek out a caffeine hit.
Given how many freelancers, creatives and entrepreneurs have flocked to Thai Town after being priced out of Silver Lake, Echo Park, and ritzier areas of Los Feliz, it’s also important to have a coffee shop where young people can come to work during the day and meet other people in the neighborhood with similar interests. Of course, indoor seating has been suspended during the pandemic, but a huge rainbow stripe that ribbons around the space makes it the kind of place where making deadline or writing emails all day wouldn’t feel so bad. Exposed brick and lots of minimalistic wood furniture and vintage tile add to the space’s overall vibe, along with all the sunlight that pours in from the tall front windows.
For now, you can either place an order ahead using their ToastTab site, or drop in like I like to, just for a change of scenery, no matter how brief it might be. Aside from serving some of the strongest, best cold brew in Los Feliz, their menu also boasts more unusual beverages like Filipino Iced Coffee with comes in at a hefty $6.50 but is equally hefty itself with a sharp, dark roast as the base and ube oatmilk that will knock your socks off. There’s also an ode to the neighborhood with the Thai Tea Latte — also $6.50 — a take on the classic orange-tinged sweet drink but made with oat milk, cha yen, star anise, vanilla and sweet tamarind.
Either of these will appease the Starbucks lover in your life, with the latter as a perfect alternative for a non-coffee drinker. Lastly, during the pandemic, at least, you can get whole cartons of Minor Figures oat milk and other plant-based milks, along with full bags of Bicycle Coffee. They also offer bulk iced coffee or cold brew in 64 ounce and 32 ounce sizes for $16.75 or $10, if you prefer to get enough to fill up your cup at home throughout the week.
For those who take it black and strong daily like me, the cold brew is an easy $4 and there is frequently a full slate of pastries from Sugar Bloom Bakery sitting there, ready for the ordering, if you’re heading indoors. The unpredictability of pastries makes them tough to order ahead or keep track of online, since fresh baked goods are so often based on availability, but maybe that gives you an excuse to head outside and take a walk down to the shop, instead of placing the order ahead and zipping in and out without a hello. These croissants, they say, are LA’s best, so I’d recommend starting there.
As if you needed any more reasons to head over to this newer neighborhood spot, this coffee shop is Black-owned, queer friendly, and designed to be welcoming and inclusive to all members of Thai Town. A rather iconic Black Lives Matter print (by this artist) hangs in the window, and the staff is welcoming and knowledgeable in a city that has often been known for its barista snobbery. That’s the icing on the cake, and all the more reason to spend closer to the $10 side on a coffee drink. It might not always be possible, financially, for me to go out for a daily coffee. But as long as it is, I’m going to be spending what I can to make sure the most charming and important businesses in this neighborhood stay open past the economic crisis and into the future.