Have you been in a Starbucks recently? They serve coconut milk macchiatos now. Five years ago, you’d never heard of an adaptogen, and now you can’t order an omelet without being told they’re in there. And your mom texted you last week to ask if she could put chia seeds in her coffee.
It would be easy to dismiss Honey Hi, a daytime spot in Echo Park, as another restaurant taking advantage of the fact that people care about wellness now. One of the owners is a nutritionist, the menu is gluten- and refined sugar-free, and they serve a banana toast topped with something called chayawanaprash. But it turns out Honey Hi is just a regular neighborhood cafe, with better-than-average neighborhood cafe food, and the side perk that most of what you’re eating is good for you.
The menu is surprisingly big, and not just made up of fancy toasts. Of course, there’s an avocado toast, but this one has thin slices of radishes and pickled shallots on top. Everything here tastes both fresh and flavorful, and won’t leave you feeling awful in an hour because all you ate for lunch was fried things smothered in fake cheese.
The space is stripped back, but feels calm - kind of like you’re on your way to better health simply because you showed up. You order at the counter (where they’ll tell you that chayawanaprash is an ayurvedic jam), take a number, and get one of the tables lining each side of the room, or one of the small ones on the sidewalk. Maybe you’ll also grab something out of the cold case filled with all the internet’s favorite health-adjacent things, like gluten-free bread, probiotic coconut yogurt, Topo Chico, LaCroix, and too many flavors of kombucha to count.
In an ideal world, eating healthy wouldn’t involve cutting out food groups based on their color or consulting a shaman about your iron intake. It would mean more places like Honey Hi, where you can hang out all day having food that actually tastes like food. Even if you still don’t know what an adaptogen is.
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This version is better than most avocado toasts.
You will have to sacrifice your usual cheese for ancho & chipotle cashew crema, but that’s about the only indication that this very good breakfast sandwich is any different from any other fancy breakfast sandwich.
An excellent, Middle Eastern-ish lamb burger. When you’re here with someone who is very skeptical of anything having to do with healthy things, order this.