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My friend Mika saw the cover of this month’s issue of Los Angeles magazine and said, “We HAVE to go get this hot fudge hazelnut torte dessert at Forage!” So we made the trek out to Silverlake, after all, who am I to deny anyone their dessert?

There is a small parking lot behind the restaurant, but we found easy street parking and grabbed the daily menu. I immediately zeroed in on the marinated flank steak and the couscous with peppers, onions, and chickpeas in a sherry vinaigrette. The baby broccoli, sauteed with garlic and onions also looked too good to pass up, so I ordered the combo plate of one protein and two sides for $14.

The flank steak was too well done for me, and even though it was marinated, it was not very tender or flavorful. I literally bent my fork while trying to cut it with the knife. I loved the couscous; it was fluffy, tender, and tasty. The baby broccoli was fresh, lightly cooked, and a good accompaniment to any protein.

Mika tried to order the hot fudge hazelnut torte, but they said they stopped making that particular dessert, so she settled for the banana bread with cream cheese frosting and as her main meal she ordered the Pork Belly Sandwich for $10.25. the Pork Belly Sandwich came on a lightly toasted baguette, with pure pork belly, cabbage, tomato, jalapeno and aioli. It was definitely the hit of our meal. The bread was tender and crunchy, the pork had a perfect meat to fat ratio, and the fresh tomato with crunchy slaw added a perfect counterpoint to the rich pork.

Since we were in Silverlake, we walked around a bit to some of the very eclectic shops, like Pull my Daisy, which carries locally made clothing and accessories; I loved the sweater with a removable scarf and Mika loved the funny painted blocks of celebrities like Martha Stewart in a Darth Vader helmet. Since Mika is a comic book geek, we also stopped by the Secret Headquarters.

After walking off some of our lunch in the unseasonable cold, we decided to stop in Intelligentsia for something hot to drink. Since I had not eaten my dessert, I had a buttery croissant; it was a bit dense and rich for my taste, but a good accompaniment to any strong coffee or tea.

Mika had a hot chocolate and I had a latte, which both come to us in beautiful porcelain cups with designs like this:

Intelligentsia is in gorgeous space with floor to ceiling windows and plenty of chairs, tables and stools for the never-ending streams of customers; even though there is nearly always a line, it moves quickly. Considering how rich and delicious their coffee is, it would only be the intelligent thing to come here after Forage for your caffeine fix (they serve tea as well).

A day in Silverlake having lunch and shopping with a friend is the best antidote to holiday hoopla hangovers.

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Intelligentsia Coffee on Urbanspoon

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