Explore the Brentwood Neighborhood With Local Entrepreneur Gary Chau
Gary Chau, co-founder and creative director of Caffe Luxxe has been a Brentwood local for 16 years. He’s taking us around town to show us his favorite Brentwood gems from the mountains to the Malibu coast. You can find Chau and his pup Ollie exploring the town together! Here’s his top recommendations on what to do.
Name: Gary Chau
Job Title: Co-Founder and Creative Director at Caffe Luxxe
Resident of: Brentwood
Local living: 16 years
Start Your Day With a Hike in the Brentwood Mountain Trails With Your Pup
Westridge Trailhead (located at the end of the road heading up the hill in Brentwood off of Mandeville Canyon Rd) is my favorite place to get outside in LA. Mainly, you’ll find locals who live in the neighborhood and dogs on the trail. At the top of the hike, you’ll have a panoramic view of the Santa Monica Mountains and the ocean. I used to live on Mandeville Canyon Rd, and it was such a luxury to be able to be so close to nature amongst trees, wilderness and animals, then only a few minutes down the mountain, you find yourself in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Coffee Date at Caffe Luxxe and Shopping at Brentwood Country Mart
Brentwood Country Mart is a fantastic neighborhood spot to shop, eat, chill and people-watch. Don’t let the 1940s barnhouse look fool you; there are amazing chic fashion shops mixed in amongst daily services (shoe repair, barbershop, an amazing independent bookstore, etc.) as well as some original food places like Reddi Chick. This is also where Caffe Luxxe has a location—right next door to Sweet Rose Creamery.
Local Insight: Grab a scoop of ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamery and bring it to Caffe Luxxe, and we can pull a shot of espresso onto your scoop to turn it into an affogato—then sit and enjoy our outside terrace while you people-watch.
Lunch at Baltaire
An elegant experience without pretension is lunch at Baltaire. Their main focus is beef, however, I like to come with my wife and sit at the bar and share a shrimp cocktail with a glass of champagne. Here is where I learned about shrimp sizes, which use a “U” code. For example, standard shrimp is typically around U-16 (16 shrimp per pound) or U-21 (21 shrimp per pound). At Baltaire, they serve a shrimp cocktail with U-4 shrimp! That’s four shrimp per pound, or in other words, each shrimp is a quarter-pounder!
Take a Stroll
Take some time to enjoy the LA sunshine and walk on the center lane of San Vicente from the city to the coast. I love this walk, and it gives me a chance to appreciate the beauty of the city.
Short Trip Up to Malibu for a Late-Afternoon Cocktail and Small Bites at Nobu
If you aren’t able to score a reservation at Nobu in Malibu, visit in the mid-afternoon just before dinner time and sit near the water in the bar area. They serve the full menu here, and seating is first come, first served. Not to mention, they serve Caffe Luxxe coffee here!
Staycation at Nobu Ryokan
A Malibu staycation is good for the soul! I like the Nobu Ryokan—a super chill and exclusive hotel with only 16 rooms—all of which are right on the beach. After dining at Nobu, it’s the perfect spot to unwind in luxury.
Rapid Fire With Gary Chau:
3 Favorite Coffee Drinks at Caffe Luxxe:
-Gibraltar (for those days I’d like a hot drink, but not as hot as a cappuccino)
-Shakerato (espresso with milk, slightly sweetened and hand shaken)
Favorite Part About Owning Caffe Luxxe?
I get to work with my best friend, Mark Wain! Most people may not know that part of the reason we created Caffe Luxxe was because we wanted to be in business together to spend time with each other. The business is grounded in our friendship, and we wouldn’t want to do it without the other person.
What Do You Love About Your Role and Why?
With thousands of people walking through our doors every day, we have the opportunity to meet so many different people from all walks of life. In a normal setting, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to socialize with people. At our cafes, however, we’re all brought together by coffee as a social connector, which gives us an opportunity to talk with one another.
Caffe Luxxe | Brentwood
11640 San Vicente Blvd, Ste 101
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!