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Coffee

The Worst and Best Deal on a Cappuccino in L.A.?

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Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 7:00 AM
click to enlarge Same cappuccino, different price - FLICKR USER MARTIN WESTIN
  • Flickr user Martin Westin
  • Same cappuccino, different price

If you like to idle away those work hours with wordplay endeavors (who doesn't?), here's a fun one: What are the most and least expensive cappuccinos in L.A.? There is a catch, of course. This is not a menu battle between espresso machines in different parts of town or an obvious face-off between the genetic lineage of coffee beans, but a single cup at one location.

As for what makes something a "deal," we should note that we consider a good bargain the entire experience, not simply the price/taste. If you've ever made (back home in your apartment overlooking the 405), a brilliantly bare-bones dish like cacio e pepe (pasta with butter, cracked pepper and a little cheese) that you tasted for the first time during an impossibly romantic dinner in Tuscany, you know what we're going for with this deal. One last hint: The cappuccino in question is not at one of our 10 Best Coffee Shops in L.A. Get the answer after the jump.

click to enlarge Cappuccino at the Getty - JGARBEE
  • jgarbee
  • Cappuccino at the Getty

Was it that obvious? Yeah, the Getty. With that $15 parking fee, you're going to spend $18.25 plus tax on the tall cappuccino pictured here. Ouch. Ride your bike and the parking is free, or take public transportation for a few dollars more -- check out our list of other things to do in L.A. on the cheap -- and that $3.25 is the best deal in town considering all that comes with it. Well, there is the restaurant tax for a total of $3.53, even at the to-go cart on the Plaza, which is up the stairs and to the right from where you arrive on the tram. And then there's the tip. You are going to leave a tip, right?

Are there cappuccinos for less than $3.25 around town? Sure. But none comes with free entry to a half dozen exhibitions and that bonus "OK, I really do love L.A. today" view. The plaza and garden below are such perfect places to linger over a cappuccino, we're always surprised that we don't see more locals hanging out with laptops among the camera-toting tourists.

As for the flavor, the Getty's version won't win the grand supreme title for best cappuccino in L.A. But we were quite satisfied with what was in our cup. And sure, all that sunshine and fresh air in lieu of a brooding coffee-shop aura might have had something to do with it.

Does this cappuccino come with fleur-de-lis and other interesting artwork in the foam? It does not. But that's what those intriguing Manuscripts Department exhibitions like Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination, 1200-1350 are for. Go on the weekend of March 1-2 and your cappuccino comes with a bonus Gothic desserts tasting ($75). Which gets us back to our weekday wordplay procrastination fun, something that clearly has been happening inside those Getty office cubicles, too, as Gothic sounds much more appetizing than saying Medieval desserts, doesn't it? Right. Time for another cappuccino.


Follow Squid Ink at @LAWeeklyFood and check out our Facebook page. Find more from the author @eathistory + eathistory.com.

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