Believe it or not, Australians are coffee-obsessed. Starbucks has barely made a dent there, and thanks to a large influx of espresso machine–toting Italians after WWI, it's home to the second largest Italian population in the world — more even than New York. The Big Apple got its first serious Aussie coffee place a couple of years back, and has several more opening soon
Here in Los Angeles, Bronzed Aussie
has been an expat hangout ever since the shop opened about 18 months ago. Sydney-born owner Samantha Bryan recalls how Hugh Jackman, filming nearby, called up before rushing over to get his java fix.
Pies are another Australian obsession, and Bryan lucked out early on, finding a Michelin-trained Australian chef through a Craigslist ad. It's those pie recipes that keeps the ovens at full blast. For the all-important java, Bryan uses an Australian roast prepared locally by Longshot Coffee
— an Aussie pop-up you can find at farmers markets.
See also: Meat Pies, Vegemite + Other Australian Treats at Downtown's Bronzed Aussie
If you're a visiting Australian or just want to try some Aussie staples, two more new places should hit the spot: the recently soft-opened Aussie Pie Kitchen
in Santa Monica, and pie chain Garlo's
in Westwood (its first store outside Australia).
As for the flat white, you can also also get one at a few other places, including Coffee + Food
in Larchmont Village, Deus ex Machina
in Venice and the Source Cafe in Hermosa Beach. Farther afield, there's also Pie-Not
in Costa Mesa, Two Guns Espresso
in Manhattan Beach, the Gum Tree in Hermosa Beach and the Australian Grill in Carlsbad (though that's more for a kangaroo burger).
As for Hugh Jackman, he opened his own charity-friendly coffee company and shop, Laughing Man Tea & Coffee, in New York. "But he always pops in when he is in town," says Bronzed Aussie's Bryan.
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Forget beer, barbies and Bondi: It seems that Australians' homesick blues can be taken away only with a good "flat white." The coffee, which is a double espresso with steamed milk but no foam — hence the "flat" — has been difficult to find in L.A., at least until recently.