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There are very few places I will go for coffee. I’m highly sensitive to pesticides and since coffee is usually grown in countries with lax regulation, I only drink organic. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust some cafés which say that they serve organic coffee on their menu. I found out recently that one place I had been frequenting had falsely advertised. My headaches and upset stomach led me to ask the owner the source of his coffee, and because I knew the purveyor, I also knew the coffee and tea listed on the menu as organic were not. Like my friends at Lindy & Grundy, who know which restaurants actually serve grass fed pasture raised meat, I know which cafés actually serve organic coffee.

Conservatory in Culver City is a small family run business that not only serves organic coffee, but they also roast their own beans. Because I live close by, I get only enough to last for a few weeks at a time. They label the bags with the roasting date, so if you forget when you bought a bag, it’s marked. The middle bag is of Blood Orange Rooibos tea, which has a citrusy aroma and tangy taste that makes a non tea drinker like me happy to imbibe it. The tea is my nighttime beverage because sipping this noncaffeinated red tea it actually helps me get to sleep.

I transfer my purchases into my own containers when I get home.

You can drink your coffee, tea, or cocoa at the Conservatory, although seats can be scarce during prime coffee hours right after lunch when the employees of Sony Studios across the street come in en mass. They offer pastries and munchies to go with your coffee or tea, and their large servings are in huge cups that resemble bowls, so this is a great place to come for some conversation, to study, or for a calm break. One of the joys of coming here is the wonderful service from the always friendly family behind the counter who greet regulars by name. If you don’t live nearby, you can still become a regular because they ship their coffees and teas to all 50 states:)

Conservatory for Coffee on Urbanspoon

The Tea Exchange is not only a shop, but a tea room which serves 11 kinds of tea lattes, paninnis, smoothies, and delicious baked goodies. I had the pomegranate green tea and Cindy had a tea latte (our taste in food is as different as our taste in men, but that is part of why we get along so well). We both enjoyed our selections and split a large peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that we agreed was perfect (especially since they warmed it for us before serving it so that it tasted as if it was coming fresh out of the oven.

The selection of teas and tea pots was astounding, ranging from flowering teas to remedies for allergies! If you love tea and are a tea expert, this shop is worth visiting just to peruse the selection of all things tea.

Since we were a bit early for dinner, we also stopped by Scala at 318 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 tel# 310.406.3000 The owner of this shop originally had several stores, but downsized to one location with a varied selection of everything from sky high stilettos to sheepskin boots. I bought a pair of these beautiful 888 flats normally $129, but on sale for $89. Cindy liked them so much, she also bought a pair (in pewter). They are extraordinarily comfortable and flexible enough to carry in your purse as your emergency pair after your stilettos torture your feet.

Ah tea and shopping by the beach, life is good!




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