Read about this year's Best of L.A. Food & Drink issue here.
Best Coffee: Silverback Coffee of Rwanda
Instead of the usual Starbucks or Coffee Bean caffeine fix, how about buying coffee that makes a difference in the world? Head to Silverback Coffee of Rwanda, which brings the magic of East Africa to L.A. The Boyle Heights cafe is run by Rwandan genocide survivor Jack Karuletwa, a wonderful guy who works tirelessly to help African coffee farmers and silverback gorillas. A portion of the cafe's profits assists local organizations and schools, providing help to families in need. In addition to an array of great coffees, Silverback has delightfully delicious items on the menu such as the chicken pesto panini. Coming soon: new dishes such as Nutella Belgian waffles, strawberry oatmeal with brown sugar and the lemonade butterfly, combining house-made lemonade with a touch of butterfly pea flower and lemongrass. —Susan Hornik
2301 E. Seventh St., #B224, Boyle Heights; (323) 685-5927, silverbackcoffee.com.
Best Bagels: Belle's Bagels
New Yorkers always say the best bagels are back East. But it's just not true — there are some stellar shops, food trucks and pop-ups here. Take Belle's Bagels, which has some lovely cream cheese schmears on its menu, created with beets, vegan cultured cashews, scallions and, of course, lox. The hand-rolled bagelry (which serves from a window in the front of the Hi-Hat) recently added egg sandwiches to its already fantastic menu. Try the Loxsmith bagel sandwich, which is made with lox, crispy salmon skin, radishes, dill and beet cream cheese. Or the North of York, which has avocado, chives, lemons, cucumbers, radishes and hot sauce. Check Belle's social media for fun specials. —Susan Hornik
5043 York Blvd., Highland Park; (323) 208-9408, bellesbagels.com.
Best Afternoon Tea: The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
The tradition of afternoon tea at the Langham brand goes back a long way. The first hotel, the Langham, London, opened on June 10, 1865, and it was the first luxury hotel in Europe to serve afternoon tea. To carry on the tradition, every Langham hotel around the world serves afternoon tea daily. Guests at the Pasadena landmark Langham Huntington can enjoy a traditional Langham afternoon tea with Wedgwood, serving Wedgwood specialty teas in tailor-made Langham Rose Wedgwood tea ware. Tea includes a selection of savory tea sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and jam, fruit tarts, French macarons, mini-cakes, cookies and more in the hotel's cozy lobby lounge. Add a nice dry sherry or glass of Champagne to the afternoon. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer sprawling views of the Horseshoe Garden and San Marino. Bridal shower tea parties are available, and the hotel also offers a children's tea selection. Afternoon tea is served daily, with a special “chocolate tea” available on Sundays. —Michele Stueven
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena; (626) 585-6480, langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/pasadena/?cid=ec-tllax-et-en-pkg1.
Best Wings and Fries: Far East Joint
The Far East Joint, a family-owned and -operated fast-casual spot, mixes up American, Korean and Mexican favorites for signature dishes such as sweet chili wings, spicy tuna nachos and their crazy selection of fries. The Joint fries come with Korean beef, kimchi, onions, cheese and spicy aioli. Or try the carne asada fries or spicy tuna fries with onions, cheese and sriracha. Wings come in buffalo, Sriracha honey, garlic Parmesan, garlic soy, spicy salt and lemon pepper versions. For every meal purchased, the restaurant donates a portion of the proceeds to the Han-Schneider International Children's Foundation. —Michele Stueven
1230 Lakes Drive, West Covina; (626) 384-3886, fareastjoint.com.
Best Off-Menu Cocktails: 1886 Bar at the Raymond
The historic 1886 Bar housed in Pasadena's Raymond restaurant is known for its hospitality-driven service as well as an extensive cocktail list. The bar boasts more than 600 off-menu house cocktails to entice you, but if none of those fit your needs, request a dealer's choice and allow the knowledgeable bartenders to create the perfect tipple just for you. —Janelle Bennet
1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; (626) 441-3136, theraymond.com/1886-2/.