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SUNDAY BRUNCH | Liquid City

Lemon Aid

January 25, 1998|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA

Just when you thought oxygenated bottled water, coffee soda and martinis were the oh-so-trendy drinks to swallow up L.A. comes a libation that's so cool it isn't even on the menu.

Drum roll, please. We're about to announce the drink du jour: the half-and-half. That's half iced tea, half lemonade with a twist of lemon, natch.

A check at several restaurants indicates the new brew is very cool with trendoids who merely inform their waitpersons that they want their half-and-half.

No problem, seems to be the response.

"For a drink that's not even advertised, it has been very popular," says Travis Maciel, a floor manager at Santa Monica's Border Grill. "I don't know where it came from, other than I think it actually got started with the country club set" and trickled down to restaurant row.

Paul Nolette, a bartender at the Silver Lake/Los Feliz Cobalt Cantina restaurant says he gets orders for the half-and-half every day.

"It's just one of those things that makes L.A. different from any other place," he says.

At California Pizza Kitchens throughout the Southland, the half-and-half is popular year-round, says Rick Rosenfield, CPK's co-founder. "Customers love it and often order this as an alternative to plain iced tea or other soft drinks--not just during the summer but all the time."

Edgar Ramirez, a bartender at Fenix at the Argyle on the Sunset Strip, says the half-and-half "keeps getting more and more popular because it's a very good drink, especially when you use fresh-squeezed lemon juice and not that pink lemonade stuff."

But Ramirez says he is very careful about this half-and-half lingo. "At first I thought they wanted to drink lemonade with iced tea with half-and-half, the cream, you know? And I was thinking to myself, 'They want to drink what?' "

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