- Los Angeles is famous for its many celebrities.
- Urth Caffé is a local chain that is known for how popular it is among the city’s stars.
- I ate at Urth Caffé to see what it was like, and while I didn’t encounter any famous people, I felt like I’d entered their world for the duration of my meal.
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Los Angeles exudes glamour. Even with its traffic, sprawl, and unrelenting smog, the iridescent veneer of celebrity lends the city a unique allure.
One of the most exciting things about being out and about in LA is the possibility that you might collide with one of the countless stars that stud the city. And just like astronomical stars that gather in galaxies, celebrities tend to cluster in certain places. And we ordinary folk go to these places in hopes of catching a glimpse of someone extraordinary.
Urth Caffé, an LA-based café chain, is known to be one of those places. Celebrities from Miley Cyrus and Kylie Jenner to Jessica Alba and Joe Jonas have been spotted at its locations.
On a recent visit to LA, I ate brunch – the most glamorous of meals – at Urth Caffé to see what it was like to dine at one of LA’s top celebrity hotspots, and to see if I could recognise any faces.
I took a Bird scooter from a subway stop in Los Angeles to the Urth Caffé in the Arts District, which is full of converted industrial buildings.
The exterior of the restaurant was stunningly glamorous, with art-deco tiles and a rotating sign.
The West Hollywood location is especially popular with celebrities, but I decided to come to this location because I planned to spend the day in Downtown LA.
As I entered, I heard two men discussing a fashion show over their meal.
Diners were a mix of ordinary families and power brunchers.
The line to order was long. There’s mobile order pick-up, but if you want to sit down, you order at the counter and take a number with you.
The menu board was full of imaginative drinks ranging from boba to matcha to other kinds of tea — all organic, of course.
The laminated breakfast menu was a wonderland of glamorous breakfast concoctions, like lox breakfast pizza, avocado toast, and bread puddings.
Everything, of course, was organic, natural, farm-fresh, or something like it.
At the counter, there was a pastry case full of gorgeous cakes.
There are plenty of products to take home, such as bagged coffees and this bag of gluten-free crunchy cereal.
Finally, I ordered, took my number, and sat down at a table near the fireplace.
I could not get enough of the colourful decor.
The soaring ceiling and wooden rafters made me feel like I was in a movie.
But a kitschy mural of stock photos from Asia and Africa stopped me in my tracks. It was the decor equivalent of the white saviour Barbie Instagram account.
Thankfully, my rising sun matcha latte arrived.
It was made with coconut milk (as is standard) and topped with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, which, sadly, was the best part.
Otherwise, this matcha latte was more looks than substance.
Sometimes a drink is more exciting in a photo than it is in real life. Did I mention Instagram?
Soon, my poach di parma — a fancy name for eggs Benedict with a hipster twist — arrived.
This dish, too, would be right at home on Instagram.
Say it three times fast: toasted ancient grain ciabatta, garlic truffle aioli, sautéed wild mushrooms, prosciutto di Parma, poached eggs, wild arugula, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sage butter served with seasonal melon.
To be honest, I only know what half of those words mean. But they sounded good, and the dish looked really, really pretty.
I poked my fork into a poached egg.
A bright orange yolk spilled from its centre.
An egg is not just an egg. An egg laid by a hen that’s spent her life roaming a pasture is more likely to be bright orange.
I was starstruck at first bite. Every element of this dish joined forces to create a celestial harmony of flavour and texture in my mouth.
The perfectly poached egg was nestled under a bed of aromatic arugula and pungent Parmesan.
It melted onto a bed of salty prosciutto.
Underneath the prosciutto was a mushroom schmear that added earthy depth to the dish.
All these flavours were supported by a sturdy, crunchy, yet forgiving slab of whole-grain ciabatta toast.
I was less impressed with the seasonal melon, however. It was tough and not very sweet.
Festive music played in the background as I ate.
Turkish sounds melded with West African melded with Christmas oldies — a mix that was very much in line with the café’s retro-international vibe.
I quickly plowed through the rest of my meal, leaving the melon mostly untouched.
I was satisfied, but there were still so many intriguing foods, drinks, and sweets that I didn’t have the chance to try.
Was it too late to order a breakfast pizza or a bread pudding? I hadn’t even looked at the lunch menu.
If I were a Angeleno, I’d haunt my local Urth Caffé regardless of my celebrity status (or lack thereof).
It’s an otherworldly meal in a setting that’s just as fantastical and even a little kooky. Even if I didn’t encounter any stars, I felt like I’d dipped into their world for a morning. I wouldn’t mind doing it again.
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