On a gorgeous day out of a Los Angeles dream, I found myself walking down Venice Beach Boulevard amidst skateboarders, artists and vagabonds alike. Nothing could complete the day better than the drink I discovered at Menotties off of Blvd.
Menotti's holds a special place in my heart because I visited them within their first month of being open. The amazing beverage that I consumed during my initial visit was the flame that ignited my belief that I could start this crazy online coffee voyage. That first experience was incredible and my second did not disappoint.
I was spoiled in meeting the famous Barista and Latte artist phenomenon "Nicely" Able Alameda. Able is a bit of a legend, whom everyone exploring specialty coffee must meet. His experience ranges from such titans as Handsome Coffee Roasters to Intelligensia. You can even see his display of latte art on Espresso Vivace's Ted talk on The Culinary Art of Coffee, by Davd Schomer. I was treated to an invention of his own: the Caffe Rico. This drink was decadent enough to deserve its own post.
The Caffe Rico is not on the menu. It draws its inspiration from Caffe Nico developed at Espresso Vivace and Nicely's personal twist of half and half: Tahitian vanilla and fresh peeled oranges. The complex and unique flavor reflects the vibe of the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Nicely calls it "a homage to my roots," as he is Puerto Rican and Caffe Rico literally translates to "Rich Coffee." This caffeinated creation was massively rich in milk, flavors and orange aroma.
The Caffe Rico is created by pulling a double shot of espresso, then twisting a fresh slice of orange peel over the esresso to extract the citrus oils. The peel is then rubbed over the rim of the cup. Steamed half and half with vanilla is exquisitely poured over by the master himself and sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon. I received the drink in a small silver cup with a spoon atop the orange peel. The aromas from my drink were tantalizing enough to seduce three people behind me in line to order the same beverage. A lovely frenzy of chatter in the shop was created by the mouthwatering fragrance of orange, vanilla and espresso.
If you are ready to take your coffee experience to the next level of decadence, remember that this lovely beverage is a specialty on request only. But, there is secret menu service to all of my wonderful followers. Now that you know about this hidden gem, you must taste it for yourself!