Updated: Apr 11, 2020
To the west of Los Angeles' urban jungle I heard of a cramped, yet charming cafe. When I investigated, I fell for its snarky decor, sweet service, and deliciously creative #coffee concoctions.
Every week of this trying quarantine, for my own creative sanity, I will be supporting and writing about a small business. This week, my "Write Bite" #blog spotlight is on Undergrind Cafe on Robertson Boulevard. As an author and editor, I understand the struggle of being steadfast in the publishing world. It's all about opportunity and how hard you can continue to work until that opportunity comes. Determination, passion, and honesty must meld together to find success. The same goes for these small businesses struggling to survive during COVID-19 government-enforced mandates. They, too, need to remain steadfast.
Undergrind Cafe has been one of my favorite spots to visit on a lazy Sunday. Prior to the corona virus outbreak severely spreading, I would pick up lunch for me and my partner nearly every weekend right before diving into Divinity: Original Sin 2 (which, by the way, is an incredible, critically-acclaimed role-playing game if you appreciate complex, inventive storytelling). At Undergrind, my typical go-to order is the Break of Day Burrito or the Rich Girl sandwich, paired with a Tiger Island or Irish Cream latte. I even went today to show support and bought twelve ounces of whole coffee beans, which includes free coffee! I didn't need to gain several pounds in one meal but it felt pampering as I crept in and out with my untidy hair and braless tee quarantine ensemble.
The Rich Girl sandwich, for example, is pretty much all you'll eat for the rest of the day. Think of rich, butter garlic sauce smothering Creole shrimp. Add avocado. Put on some stretchy pants. You're set. I have to order this one only on occasion because of how rich it is but the teas and coffees always hook me. The Irish Cream latte is fun and seasonal, topped with rainbow marshmallows. However, if you really want a unique drink, go for the Tiger Island latte. It's a great blend of chocolate, coconut, and aromatic chai, giving a double boost of caffeine with a coffee and black tea blend. For the non-coffee drinkers, Purple Rain is a lavender and vanilla bean tea blend that calms and satisfies any sweet tooth. Did you know that vanilla and lavender are both mood elevators in teas? Worked for me.
There is such tremendous fear right now, for good reason. Unfortunately, many small businesses have been closing their doors due to heightened concerns. For the local spots that remain open, I am very happy to show support while still being as safe as anyone can be ordering take-out or having goods delivered. Showing your support can span from a side shop in your neighborhood to awesome online artists or entrepreneurs — for me it also includes some fond businesses in Little Tokyo and the Twin Cities. The idea that these businesses may not be able to open their doors post-corona virus or may feel emotionally distanced or saddened really stuck with me, and if you sit with these thoughts, you may also come to the conclusion that there are many ways to extend support to your neighbors.