We've told you about the Complex staff's favorite places to eat, drink, and more, now it's time to learn about the spots that Complex's favorite celebs frequent. This week, we start with adult film star Kayden Kross.
You know how your boy likes to say "So-and-so is that chick." Well, he's wrong, because Kayden Kross is that chick. There's the obvious: she's really into sex, and she doesn't mind folks watching either (as you can see on her entirely NSFW website, clubkayden.com). And there's the less obvious: she blogs, thoughtfully and regularly (as you can see on her only occasionally NSFW website, unkrossed.blogspot.com). She's also down to earth. In short, that chick: a whole lot freakier and smarter than you, but nice enough to not make you feel bad about it. She loves a good latte and a heavenly cherry tomato, and she finds 'em both at the Urth Caffe in Downtown L.A. But we'll let her explain that (and a whole lot more)...
"My bravest story is from the time one of my bike tires blew out on Skid Row and I had to walk home, after dark, on the hardened streets of Downtown L.A. The people who live on Sixth Street live in tents. They only talk to me if they think I might be there to buy things that I can put into my body by way of injection, or inhalation, or dissolve into an orifice. I live a block from there, so it wasn't a stretch to walk home, but the story is cool when I leave that part out.
"Lots of people live a block from there. Downtown L.A. happens one block at a time. I try not to leave it. Little Tokyo is nearby, there is a pool and a gym, and I have a designated parking spot. For the people who automatically want to know what I'm doing down there, I'm eating, and thinking about exercising, and trying not to drive. But what could possibly be good to eat down there, people ask.
"Urth Caffe is a block diagonally from Sixth Street, or maybe two. It's on a random street in a random neighborhood that was only recently brought up from its status as an abandoned industrial factory, or something. There are semi trucks everywhere, and potholes, and homeless people sometimes pee on the corners.
"But there is also magic. Urth Caffe is magical. Some people say it's over-priced, but I think they must be the same people who think magic is free. You cannot spend an afternoon on the brick patio, with the giant ceramic mug that wants you to believe it is handmade, and the cast iron chairs, and the faint, unidentifiable music in the background, and not feel the magic. And you definitely cannot eat one of their cherry tomatoes without getting a little spiritual. I should mention that there is a bubble of weather on this patio. It is always more pleasant than the weather on the surrounding blocks. This may be partly attributable to the heat lamps. The rest is the aforementioned magic.
"At least one of the semi trucks every day is only there to deliver the day's fresh produce. You know which one it is, because, aside from saying 'Urth Caffe' in giant letters on the side, it has red hearts painted on it. Just like the chair backs. Hearts everywhere. There is so much love in this place. The bathrooms boast posters of their goodwill missions that somehow yield them the lowest acid coffee beans, and happy coffee bean farmers. The corkboards only hold posts of happy things, and independent films. It's all very trendy. People flock from far and wide.
"The only regular complaint I hear is that they don't sell soft drinks, but I hear this, of course, from people who drink soft drinks. And we know about people like that, don't we? I don't know. Create a stereotype. In the future I suspect soft drinkers will be nudged out of the pack. Either way, I think we can all agree that it is worthwhile to give up soft drinks, just this one time, at this one cafe, in favor of their foam art. That's right. Hot drinks are canvases here. Spanish Lattes are popular, along with every other conceivable latte, cappuccino, and half-drip soy whatever-the-fuck people order to stand out these days. Hot drinks take longer to be delivered than food here. That's not because the service is funky. In fact, the service has its own story that I should delve into so you can get the right picture on what goes on with these hot drinks.
"You see, Urth Caffe has a monopoly on fine-boned Latin gay men. They are eternally happy people. They run around smiling at everyone, and asking about how the world's day is going, and skipping. Maybe not skipping. Their steps are especially peppy though. It's a wonder they don't knock over their own trays with the bouncing. I love the way they talk, in sing-song. Someone must've come down on them recently though, because three new employees were added, and thanks to affirmative action they now have one white man, one black man, and one woman. These three people are not nearly as charming.
"So that's the service—magical. People don't even complain for fear of upsetting the mood. People just roll with it. This should be considered even more strange when the clientele is thrown into the equation. It is mostly hot chicks and sensitive artist-types. They sometimes bring their children that have been produced in non-traditional family units, and children don't cry here. The children are progressive. They have always just turned two. And everyone has one dog. Usually that dog is a rescue with a heartwarming story. The dogs sit on the patio and they don't beg, or fight. A lot of them wear bandannas and organic collars. Of course, all of this happiness can be attributed to the fine-boned Latin gay man effect.
"So now that you have the vibe, with the beautiful people with interesting lives (who, by the way, all live in renovated artist's lofts with their well-behaved children and dogs, and all dress very well, ahead of their times, and never complain), now you can get an idea of how wonderful it is when the hot drinks are served. Through the glass casement surrounding the bakery (of course everything is baked fresh daily, organically, fair trade, on the premises, in front of your very eyes) you can watch more nubile young men with perfectly starched chef's hats putting the final touches on personal cakes and pies, sugar-dusting the muffins, glazing things. And then at the barista bar there is a different team, also nubile, and that team does nothing but draw beautiful pictures in your latte. They have small artists tools. They are detailed. They practically guilt trip you out of drinking the thing. In the long list of original artwork I have shoved a spoon through there have been swans, pandas, Hello Kitties, moons, stars, trees, leaves, astrology signs, landscapes... . And behind each one there was a happy artist, singing to himself as he put straight love into my froth.
"So that's why the drinks take longer than the food. Although that doesn't explain the wait on the tea, even if it is loose leafed.
"The food. What can I say. It's amazing. I love it. It's varied and wonderful. It's locally bought. There is a special place in my heart for the sprout sandwich. Being as conscious as it is, the place has vegetarian and vegan options all the way down to the chocolate chip cookies. It's famous for it's pumpkin pie, from a Best of L.A. search circa 2002, but the recipe hasn't changed since then and that's good enough for me. As a matter of fact there is half a pie still in my fridge from Thanksgiving, and I gave up on it. They're quite heavy, literally, and also in that you're-gonna-spend-a-lot-of-time-sleeping-them-off-and-later-in-the-gym way. After a week of my circle of friends coming at that pie from all angles, we all gave up. There are desperate fork claw marks in the sides of what is left. The crust is cookie thick.
"The only other complaint I have heard is that Urth Caffe is hard to find. This may just be a requirement of magical places, but occasionally I have to direct people there, because it's the only place I will meet them, and every time, I think to myself, in annoyance, How can you not know? But it happens. Occasionally there are people who live in L.A. who are unfamiliar with the Urth Caffe on Hewitt St, and apparently don't have GPS (equally abhorrent), and I tell them this: exit Alameda, and turn at that little thing that doesn't quite look like a street next to the gas station that looks like a good place to pick up hookers. It's hard to tell if it's a street because the gas station parking lot doesn't really end, but there's a definite stop sign there. So turn at the stop sign. Drive straight. You can't miss it.
"But if you do, that's OK too, because they deliver."
Catch Kayden in her latest project, the NSFW Love and Marriage.
Urth Caffe (Downtown)
451 S. Hewitt St.
Los Angeles, Calif.
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