Like a lot of Angelenos with extremely tenuous connections to the entertainment industry, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. As a result I’ve learned a lot of things. Like the fact that Starbucks coffee tastes more or less like an armpit no matter what you do to it. Or the fact that male-to-female transgendered folks sometimes have to shave their nether regions in coffeeshop bathrooms. I sympathize, ladies, I do. But you could at least flush after.
But the nice thing about frequenting the coffeeshops of LA is finding the best drinks. Sabor y Cultura at 5625 Hollywood Blvd (Facebook, Yelp, Citysearch) has two of these: The iced chai latte and the red velvet latte.
Sabor’s iced chai latte is pretty much what it says on the label. But every coffeeshop has its own chai blend, and in my opinion, this one’s the best. Rich and smooth, it’s closer to a milkshake or a smoothie than the thin concoctions you find elsewhere. If you’re like me, you’re generally not a fan of iced creamy drinks because of the way the ice waters down the milkiness of the beverage. But the Sabor iced chai starts out thick enough that melting ice cubes don’t ruin it.
Sabor’s other great drink is one that’s more unique: The red velvet latte, a crimson-hued confection that warms your morning like a cardinal in winter. When I first saw it on the menu I balked; as I age I’m developing a diminished tolerance for extreme sweetness, and just reading the menu item threatened to send me into a Brimley-level diabetic fugue. But my girlfriend, who is several years younger than I am and has perfect teeth, asked me to bring her one home. So I got it.
As I mentioned, it’s actually red, which is a little unnerving since I can’t imagine there’s any natural flavoring that, you know, does that. But the good news is that it’s only about as sweet as hot chocolate. And it tastes exactly like red velvet cake. Now, red velvet cake generally has cocoa in it, so it’s entirely possible that the reason I’m comparing it to hot chocolate is that the red velvet latte is little more than a mocha with some coloring in it. I don’t know. But my brain says “red velvet” when I drink it, and that’s good enough for me. My brain and I agree on so little, so it’s nice to have this bit of common ground.
I know our own Alexandra is a fan of Sabor y Cultura as well, in particular their Mexican mocha (which is also delicious). Anyone else out there love this place?