To say that George Laguerre makes the best cup of Haitian coffee in L.A. should not be qualified by the fact that he may very well make the only Haitian cup of coffee in L.A. I don't know if there are others to be had, but I do know that the thick shot of espresso Laguerre pulls from the Pasquini espresso machine at his downtown restaurant TiGeorges' Chicken, and tops off with steamed milk that has first been steeped with bay leaves and key lime, is better than anyone else's, be they real or imaginary. Laguerre sources, imports and roasts his coffee himself: The organic beans come from his own backyard in Port-de-Paix, Haiti, where his father was a coffee grower; the beans are then pan-roasted in the back of the restaurant, caramelized with a bit of brown sugar, and ground in the burr grinder right next to the Pasquini. It can get a little crowded at Laguerre's coffee bar, seeing as it's right next to the enormous medieval-looking custom-built spit on which the chickens (which gave the restaurant its name) are roasted, and which barely clears the chairs pushed into the family-style dining room table, usually filled with the musicians who play and eat here. But Laguerre will see that you fit, and that you are given a perfect cup, and perhaps that you stay for music and a plate of conch or fricasseed goat as well. TiGeorges' Chicken, 309 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 353-9994,

—Amy Scattergood

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