Viento Y Agua is one of those brilliant gems that make an urban neighborhood (especially in LA County) worth living in. Part coffeshop/art gallery/music venue/and restaurant, Viento Y Agua still manages to exude a down-to-earth vibe amongst the cultural clutter and local art exhibited on its walls. At nights a small stage comes to life, showcasing local musicians doing free concerts that make the famous Mexican mochas taste even better. Small enough to feel like home, but large enough so you won't get claustrophobic, you'll find yourself among Long Beach locals, from students to unemployed philosophers, all enjoying a great cup of coffee.
These days, when you're in Mexico, hot chocolate is usually, sadly, made with powdered Nestlé crap. The crumbling of pure dark-chocolate bits into a slow melt-and-simmer dance with milk or water is quickly becoming a thing of the past. But not at Viento y Agua (Wind and Air), where the coffee shop's purveyors have taken the old Mexican tradition to new heights with their Mexican Mocha, a sumptuous blend of crumbly Ibarra chocolate (okay, kind of mainstream for Mexican hard chocolate, but better than Nestlé), espresso, a pinch of cinnamon, and a thick, multiple-spoon-dip layer of foam. Take it slow—you won't regret it.