One thing I love about LA is how easy it is find motivated people who are not merely driven in pursuit of their passions, but also holding proudly and compassionately to a sense of community. I witnessed it first hand during my meeting with Jonel De Los Reyes, General Manager of Lo/Cal Coffee and Market in Santa Monica. His business philosophy is something he shares earnestly, and there’s a simple message at the heart of it… there’s a new wave of entrepreneurship… one that is no longer singularly money driven, but that is first socially responsible — a concept that is reflected in almost every aspect of Lo/Cal’s operations. They source all of their products locally, and decisions are made collectively among the entire staff.
And that’s just behind the scenes…
ON to the coffee…..
I sampled the macchiato, cortado, cappuccino, honey latte, and last but not least, their cold brew Nitro coffee. The cold brew is prepared by steeping locally roasted coffee in room temperature purified water for 12 hours, after which it is injected with nitrogen, resulting in an outstanding “smoother and creamier” texture. This was described by the staff as being comparable to drinking a Guinness, and it turned out to be very true! It was so rich and bold. The silky mouth feel and long lingering taste let you know that what you’re sipping is of exceptional quality. This and the honey latte were my two favorite drinks.
But let’s talk about the reason I was here to begin with. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to try, quite literally, the BEST biscuits ever! Nick Westbrook, owner of Honey Butter Biscuits, graciously invited me to an exclusive tasting of his authentic Southern biscuits, which are featured at Lo/Cal. We started off with one of his Georgian specialties… a crispy chicken biscuit sandwich. Mmm Mmm Mmm… The hand battered chicken breast was seasoned and cooked to juicy perfection. The biscuits were tender, buttery, flaky, and ever so moist, yet had just enough structural integrity to hold the makings of a sandwich inside. You can taste the perfect balance of salt and butter with a subtle sweetness in each bite. The bottom had a golden brown crust which gave it a nice contrast to the soft and delicate inside. This heavenly sandwich is an off-off-menu item that Nick plans to make available to the public by partnering with other LA eateries in the future, so start asking for it now!
Next, I tried a biscuit with his very own homemade honey butter, the most popular way to order a biscuit at Lo/Cal. Wow!!! There is seriously nothing better in this world than bread and butter, and this takes it to new levels of decadence. Sweet, salty, cinnamony, pure amazingness.
We went a little in depth about why Nick’s biscuits taste so good, the secret method of which I can’t reveal, but I will mention one thing….PRACTICE! This recipe — which is inspired by early memories of the biscuits his grandfather made in Georgia — was literally years in the making!!! The urge to make biscuits originated as a way to have a piece of home away from home, but the desire to perfect the recipe came with an even stronger desire to share this unique taste of comfort with the world — as Nick likes to say, a great biscuit brings you home. So for many years he worked on his craft until he felt for sure that it was ready. By now, everything is down to a science, from the super light flour he imports from Kentucky, to the careful way he prepares the batter. Nick even refers to himself as a mad scientist!
I had such a fantastic time hearing his story and would like to wish him nothing but success! If you want a taste of Honey Butter Biscuits, and TRUST ME, you do…you can find them right here at Lo/Cal Coffee and Market or Cafe 50’s in Santa Monica. You can also order dozen or more for personal pick up at honeybutterbiscuits.com.
Be sure to follow Honey Butter Biscuits and Lo/Cal’s journey on instagram @HoneyButterBiscuits and @lo.cal. Go try these delicious biscuits and extraordinary coffee concoctions together at Lo/Cal Coffee TODAY and let me know what you think!
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