We West Coasters take great pride in our food scene: from homey bakeries to trendy eateries, our shore is lined with some of the nation's best. But what happens when a West Coast foodie finds herself on the other side of the country?
After multiple extensive (and calorie-laden) road trips, I present to you East Coast equivalents of your West Coast favorites. Now you can keep killing the food game, no matter which ocean you're facing.
1) If you like Alfred Coffee...
Los Angeles, CA
This drink is light but still creamy, and it has delicious matcha flavor without being too grass-y.
Full disclosure: I first discovered this drink while aspiring to be one of those cool girls that go to trendy coffee shops in workout clothes and oversized shades. I came in for the pink wall aesthetic, but I definitely stayed (and returned repeatedly) for the matcha.
...You'll love Cha Cha Matcha
New York, NY
Definitely sweeter than the previous matcha drink, but way more fun. There was something rebellious about eating frozen matcha that wasn't in the form of mochi...And I liked it.
2) If you like Susiecakes...
Locations across California and Texas
Call me old fashioned, but Sprinkles cupcakes ain't got nothing on Susiecakes. I have been munching on these beauties ever since I was a kid and they're as moist, buttery, and melt in your mouth as ever (cue angels singing).
...You'll love Sweet Bakery
Just look at that glorious heap of frosting. Okay, if I'm being completely honest, nothing can beat the soft, pillowy texture of Susiecakes cupcakes. But, this is definitely a close second! Sweet Bakery has bold flavors and doesn't shy from originality. After all those stressful college tours, this place definitely hit the sweet spot (sorry, I had to).If you're looking for something more chocolatey, I recommend the maple brownie cupcake for a fusion that will have you questioning the cronut's reign.
3) If you like Tilikum Place Cafe...
I remember two things from my visits to Seattle: feeling like I was in Grey's Anatomy every time I saw the Space Needle (I was Cristina, obviously) and these blueberry dutch pancakes.
The first time I came to Tilikum was with my friend, a Seattle native, who had told me that this was was her favorite breakfast spot in the area. After a few bites, I agreed. Imagine a huge, fluffy, fruity, edible pillow and you've got yourself a Tilikum dutch baby.
...You'll love Clinton Street Baking Co.
New York, NY
Still craving a blueberry-flavored sugar high? Clinton Street Baking Company can scratch that sweet itch. What makes these pancakes better than any run-of-the-mill ones? They're exceptionally airy, and they have blueberries in and on top of the pancakes.
Also, you're probably going to chug down that warm maple butter so ask for two servings with your order (they won't judge).
4) If you like Gjelina...
Los Angeles, CA
I would be lying if I told you that this place did not embody all the stereotypes imposed on fellow Los Angelinos like myself. This restaurant is just a couple blocks away from Venice Beach and dedicates a whole section of the menu solely to roasted exotic vegetables. You can pay up to $15 for a salad and there is a high chance your waiter will sport a beard, mustache and round glasses combo.
That being said, Gjelina still has one of the best breakfasts in LA. So, if you want to start the day off by treatin' yo self, I highly suggest going for this insanely indulgent and perfectly spiced shakshuka with lamb, yoghurt and cilantro—and a slice of toasted artisanal bread for good measure.
...You'll love Jack's Wife Freda
New York, NY
Like Gjelina, Jack's Wife Freda also has their own original spin on shakshuka. In this version, the two eggs are submerged in a tangy cilantro tomatillo sauce with a nice kick. Dip the challah bread in that ceramic bowl of refreshing magic and savor every bite.
5) If you like Top Pot Doughnuts...
Heaping piles of fresh doughnuts with a endless flavors to choose from. 'Nuff said.
...You'll love Doughnut Plant
New York, NY
Top Pot is like you when you spend your Friday night on Netflix, and Doughnut Plant is like you spending it in the city. One may seem more sophisticated or flashy than the other, but they're just two versions of the same amazing person—er, doughnut. What I love about both of their doughnuts is that they are fried-to-perfection without being the least bit greasy, so you don't feel gross after eating one (or four).
6) If you like Farmshop...
Los Angeles, CA (located inside the Brentwood Country Mart)
As a proud Lebanese girl, I take my hummus very seriously. I believe in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, and I certainly don't like when people add all sorts of nonsense like pesto or bell peppers to my hummus. I was lecturing my friend on the tradition of hummus when she told me to shut up and order this dish.
Let me just say this. I reallyyy wanted to hate it. But, there was something so ingenious about adding avocado: it amplified the creaminess without altering the flavor. Brilliant.
...You'll love Cafe Beirut
Jamaica Plain, MA
If you want to eat hummus like a Middle Eastern native, Cafe Beirut is the place to go. A well of chickpeas drenched in olive oil, a dash of paprika and a few pickles for garnish. It's the Golden Ratio.
7) If you like Salt and Straw...
Locations in Portland and Los Angeles
A creative twist on classic favorites, Salt and Straw hits that perfect balance. The flavors are definitely original and unexpected but they are not so outrageous to the point of being foreign. And yes, the honey lavender flavor tastes just as heavenly as it sounds.
...You'll love Franklin Fountain
Same top notch quality ingredients and homemade feel as Salt and Straw, but I would say the texture is even more creamy and velvety. Another plus: if you order your ice cream to go, they give it to you in the cutest Chinese takeout-style box.
8) If you like Tartine Bakery...San Francisco, CA
I lived in Paris for a year, and I still stand by my belief that the coconut cream tart from Tartine Bakery is probably the best pastry I have ever eaten. The crust is flakey but still has bite to it, the cream is perfectly whipped, and the tart is mildly sweet with a light aroma of coconut. Inside the tart lies a beautiful layer of caramel and a dark chocolate shell. Foodgasm achieved.
...You'll love Mike's Pastry
Although the cream stuffed croissant could not compare to the tart from Tartine Bakery, it was still made up of my two favorite things, cream and pastries, so I was not complaining.
Fun fact: this was also my first time trying a cannoli. My reaction was one I frequently have when eating carbs: thanking Italy with tears in my eyes.
9) If you like SunLife Organics...
At roughly $8 per smoothie, this is definitely another treat yo self kind of spot. I first ordered the Wolverine smoothie because of my obsession with X-men more than anything else, but it has now become one of my favorites. It tastes just like a thick chocolate banana shake but it's healthy. And, in regards to the wicked cool ingredients, how many people can say they've had bee pollen or royal jelly for breakfast?
...You'll love Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit Co.
New York, NY
While Sunlife offers healthy smoothies disguised as creamy shakes, Chloe's offers wholesome fruit (plain and simple) disguised as soft serve. I don't know who started this trend of mind games, but five-year-old me is loving it. Now, if only someone could invent a recipe that disguises brussels sprouts as french fries...
10) If you like Sweet Lady Jane...
Locations across California
The Triple Berry Cake from Sweet Lady Jane is the closest thing I'll ever have to a guardian angel. That cake has had "Happy 5th Birthday Tara" all the way to "Good Luck in College" written on it. From birthdays, to anniversaries, to BBQs, you can always count on my family to show up with a Triple Berry Cake, because every occasion calls for a fluffy cake with tangy berries and sweet cream.
Ghandour Family pro tip: buy the cake to-go and garnish it with heaps of fresh berries drizzled in honey.
...You'll love Little Cupcake BakeshopLocations in NYC and Brooklyn (NY)
Given my sentimental attachment to Sweet Lady Jane, you can imagine I'm going to be biased when comparing it to other cakes. Although their strawberry shortcake doesn't even come close to the Triple Berry Cake, Little Cupcake Bakeshop definitely has an array of cakes that hold their ground.
If you're feeling more European, I recommend the lemon almond bundt cake. But if you're an all-American kid at heart, their cookies and cream cheesecake will do the trick.
11) If you like Sycamore Kitchen...
Los Angeles, CA
In high school, there was nothing like the feeling of coming home after a 10+ hour day of studying to find that my mom had left a stack of fresh Sycamore Kitchen cookies in the pantry for us (throwback to the good old days when parents bought all our food). Don't forget to buy a few bags of their super crunchy home made maple and pecan granola on your way out!
...You'll love Momofuku Milk Bar
New York, NY
If the oatmeal and rice krispies cookies from Sycamore Kitchen had a baby, it would be this compost cookie from Milk. I'll give you a minute to admire what a beautiful crunchy, salty, chocolatey family that would be.
I hope my short list helps you find a little edible piece of comfort when you venture off to the foreign lands of the other coast. If you've gone to other restaurants that have reminded you of your favorite spot back home, share this article and add on to the list.