It feels like every day Los Angeles welcomes the opening of a cute new restaurant. As of late, I have become exhausted and overwhelmed with simply how curated every space in our city has become. This is one of the primary reasons I unfollowed nearly every food or lifestyle Instagrammer – it’s too much for me, it’s not my vibe. One of my best friends recently described this epidemic as “influencers influencing other influencers” and I nearly fell out my chair. She nailed it.
I was hesitant to accept the invite to MatchaBar, especially as I stay grumbling about the changes to the Eastside, once so beautifully Latinx. But I love matcha and I heard Amara Kitchen (a personal favorite of mine from Garvanza, also on my Essential LA list) was serving food in the space, so I went in with my pal Jazper on a weekday morning. I’m glad I made the visit because I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner, meet the team, and try a bunch of dishes off their menu. There was only one true miss on my visit and that was the Baklava Croissant from Gjusta, which photographed so beautifully. It was dry, over-baked, and not impressive. I wasn’t totally surprised, as I’ve continually been underwhelemd with pastries from Gjusta, so my question is this: what are y’all eating there that you love so much? It’s beyond me and considering the prices, I gave up on trying anymore. Please let me know in the comments if you have a recommendation.
MatchaBar is a chill space to start your day and I love that. The cafe is filled with natural light, the vibe relaxed. The staff is warm with their welcome and the drinks comforting. Last year my Chinese herbalist suggested that I begin my mornings by drinking something warm to improve my overall well-being, and the Golden Latte was the perfect match. Made with organic turmeric and ginger, this creation is a healthy cup of liquid that’ll put some positive energy into your step . I felt at ease while sitting on their patio soaking up the sun and sipping on matcha, I was relaxed, despite being on insane Sunset Blvd. There aren’t plugs or wifi passwords at MatchaBar, and I appreciate that tremendously. That means you aren’t dogging screenwriters and freelancers for tables that you’ll probably never get, because they’re camping out for 8 hours, when they should be at the library. This is a cafe where you can come and enjoy yourself, eat and drink something that makes you feel good, then go out into the world and try your best.
As mentioned, I was hyped that Amara Kitchen had expanded their reach from Garvanza to Silver Lake. One of the best paleo-friendly restaurants in Los Angeles, I’ve been eating at Amara for a couple years now. I love their bowls, avocado toast, and freshly made almond milk. They have some pickled sea vegetables that made me lose my mind the first time I tried them! Having become more mindful of what I consume, I am now predominantly seeking food that makes me feel nourished after I’ve eaten it. I was tired of the itis, you feel me? At MatchaBar, Amara is coming strong. I tried their Purple Egg Pot which was perfection, made with homemade pesto, pickled cabbage, pickled onions, roasted potatoes and a poached egg. This was everything I needed in a jar. If you try anything here, eat this. My sweet god! Also delicious was Amara’s granola with Straus Organic Yogurt, served in a pot. I am a sucker for good granola and I’ve stopped apologizing for it. This is my California nature, through and through. You will not be disappointed with theirs.
After starting my morning wrapped in a warm blanket found in latte form, I wanted to be bit more extravagant and ordered the Maple Latte, made with cinnamon, maple syrup and a Himalayan Salt. Only a tad sweeter than the aforementioned, I treated this drink as my “desert drink” to accompany my avocado toast. Nothing on this menu taste like liquid sugar and I need you to know that before pulling up to MatchaBar. They’re not serving the matcha variety you find at Starbucks, this is ceremonial grade matcha, with the intention of making you feel energized. Plant molecules y’all! For all my people who cannot process dairy or prefer nut milks, you will feel blessed with the mylk options here, 6 in total: almond, soy, hemp, macadamia, coconut, and a housemade cashew & almond milk. It’s these kind of accommodations that impress me in 2017.
My Maple Latte paired nicely with the organic Avocado Toast made with mashed avocado on sourdough bread, purple cabbage, pesto, and poached eggs. They also make this dish in a vegan, gluten-free, and dairy free option. The quality of ingredients is apparent and if Amara is making it, the pickled elements are going to be great. You feel better after eating organic food prepared with care, it’s as simple as that. I understand why this culinary pairing works so well, as MatchaBar has the same approach with their drinks. This is about wellness and feeling good. I look forward to returning to try their Sparkling Cucumber-Lime Matcha once it gets a little bit warmer.
MatchaBar | 3534 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026