Maurice Harris is the owner of Bloom & Plume, a floral boutique and coffee shop in Historic Filipinotown, on the Eastside of Los Angeles. Read his words on how his business is both a form of magic and resistance here.
We’re in this time now where people are doing really interesting things to try to stay connected while the world is low-key falling apart. So our little business is holding on, and we are doing our very damndest to make sure that that happens. And I’m making sure that the people that work in our shop really, really uphold the vibe that is meaningful to us.
It’s one of the things that I get the most comments on all the time: Oh my god, it’s just such a vibe when I walk in there. Everything tastes delicious - but then it’s just the vibe, the way people greet us, the way that it looks, the way that it sounds, the way that it smells, all of the plants - it’s so cool. We try to design it in a way where you really get a sense of my style and taste and the Bloom & Plume effect, while not having to break the pocketbook. And it’s a way to bring people together.
There are a lot of other businesses that I either take inspiration from or love - and other Black folks that are doing cool things in the city.
Maurice Harris' Favorite Black-Owned Spots In LA
The Underground Museum is such a community-oriented cultural epicenter where you’re able to engage with really amazing fine art, prestigious, fine art. But in this kind of more casual way. And the events and the programming that they do really, really harnesses that sense of community that I’m interested in as well - creative and interesting people coming together. I love that.
One of my favorite restaurants is My Two Cents. Chef Alisa’s food is just such a beautiful take on soul food. It’s comfort food where she puts kind of a gourmet spin on it, but it’s still super, super approachable. So I really, really like that. It makes me feel really warm and accepted. Her food is very, very sophisticated - and I really respond to that - while the space is super casual and low-key and easygoing.
A friend of mine just opened Fishbone. You pick out your fish, and they fry it for you and do the whole thing. It’s just smart and efficient and well done, and that’s our vibe - and it’s delicious, too. My favorite thing to eat there is the shrimp and fries.
And I can also be very classic. I love Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. I usually go to the Pico one - I like the pink lights.
For shopping, my number one is always Union on La Brea. It’s a Black-owned clothing store that’s for men. It’s a mix of streetwear and luxury brands as well, and it’s really well-curated. It’s really smart. And it’s from a Black perspective, which I love. My friend - she and her husband own it together - also just started her own offshoot line, which is Bephies Beauty Supply. And I really like that as well.
Not Black-owned but Black-designed is The Webster, in the Beverly Center. It’s kind of like the new Barneys, if you will. It’s pretty incredible.
More of Maurice's Favorite East Side Spots
One of my most nurturing, loving, warm meals that just fills my heart with joy is Porridge & Puffs. It’s very close to my house as well, and in my neighborhood. Even when I order to-go, it’s like they are putting magic sauce in that food that just makes you feel so good.
I’m also a big fan of Pho Cafe on Sunset. It’s a staple. I go there all the time. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s delicious.
One of our vendors is Clark Street Bakery, and I love that place. It’s around the corner from our coffee shop and they do a beautiful job with their pastries. The pain aux raisins is my favorite, and their BLT is to die for.
Laveta is a coffee shop/restaurant, also around the corner from Bloom & Plume, and I go there a lot. They have a full-on kitchen, which we don’t have, so we can’t get as extensive with our food service as they do. But man, their breakfast plate is amazing. Such a good value.
Psychic Wines is where I go for natural wine. They’re really nice and generous and really help to set the mood for whatever I have going on. They’re always super educational about it, and not pretentious, because wine makes no sense to me. I’m just like, is it good or is it bad? After I’ve had it, I’m like, that was really delicious. But I’ll literally never remember what that was. So they help keep me on point.
Dune in Atwater Village is amazing. My favorite order is the chicken mezze plate, which comes with hummus, grilled chicken, a falafel, cabbage slaw - it’s so good. They also do a fried chicken one and it’s also heaven. Proof Bakery, also in Atwater, has the best granola I’ve probably ever had in my life. And their pastries are the best in town.
Sari Sari Store in the Grand Central Market is a must. The coconut pie is crazy, and I always get the Adobe Chicken Bowl. Also downtown is Sonoratown - their tortillas are to die for. That place is my jam.