Kenny, myself and the kids spent the last 10 days in the Midwest visiting the Detroit Metro area and Chicago, IL. We had an amazing time with friends and family. Some of the Chicago highlights were going to the 31st Beach, The Lincoln Park Zoo, The American Girl Store, Giordano’ Pizza and Karyn’s Fresh Corner.
We enjoyed some great coffee in Chicago. Gaslight Coffee Roasters: Located in Logan Square is an eclectic cafe with very random decor and excellent service. We ordered many items from the menu and since I’m the “blogger” I got to taste everyone’s coffee and food! Pretty Sweet…right? Our friend Heather had a smooth Soy Latte and a tasty Bacon and Brie sandwich. Kenny and our youngest daughter (Dayley) had the Pesto Grilled cheese Sandwich. It was really good. Kenny also had a Cold Brew that was rich, full of earthy notes and had a great finish. Our daughter Dia had a breakfast bowl like no other! It was slightly spicy with rice, bacon, sausage, scrambled duck egg and topped with a fried duck egg. Now, I have to say that is the best breakfast bowl I have ever had. Yummy! I had a Brazilian Slow Bar. This is Gaslight’s version of a Pour Over. It was very good and I Iced it so that I could take it to go. So good! The doughnuts were some kind of good! Especially the cardamom glazed. It definitely takes the traditional glazed doughnut to another level!!
We ended our Chicago trip by going to Cafe Mushtashe. This cafe, lounge and music venue has a very chilled atmosphere and is also located in Logan Square. As I waited for my Peppered Fig and Vanilla Latte, I listened to Louis Armstrong and noticed that no one was interacting or talking to each other. I found the lack of interaction a bit odd but oh well? The room was dim and the overall feel was hipster. By the way, this has to be the most interesting flavor combination for a Latte I have ever had. It was pleasantly good.
Despite it’s slow come back, Detroit continues to have charm and promise. Beyond the blight, eye sores and homelessness there are good finds, beauty and chatracter for the whole family to enjoy.
Photo Cred: Great Lakes Coffee Company
As you may have read here before there are some really exceptional coffee houses in the Detroit Metro Area. On this visit we had the pleasure of going to Great Lakes Coffee located in Midtown. Can I just say this is my kind of place? I walked into this coffee and wine bar finding myself grooving to Regulate by Warren G and Nate Dogg. For the record, Kenny tells me that I haven’t listened to the lyrics of this song and that otherwise I wouldn’t like it. Probably not my thing but the music is amazing, so I’m going with it LOL!
Photo Cred: Great Lakes Coffee Company
We enjoyed Cold Brew, a Lavender Latte, Lavender Ice Tea and a Vegan Granola bar made by Avalon Bakery (also featured on this blog). All were very delisious but oh my goodness this Latte had an unexpectedly great flavor. I would have never expected to pair lavender simple syrup with coffee but it was Delish! It totally worked. The menu at Great Lakes is pretty extensive. One interesting item is a beverage made with half beer and half coffee. Different. Right? We will definitely go back there. So many things to choose from. Great Atmosphere.
We ended this trip with a bang by visiting Astro Coffee located in Cork Town. As we drove up, I immediately noticed lots of customers hanging out enjoying this Beautiful Sunday morning and taking in all that this House to bring. Something told me Astro would have the “It” factor! It did!
We enjoyed Cold Brew, Mocha Lattes (featuring Calder’s Dairy), Lemon Ginger tea, Polenta Plum Cake and Vegan Coconut Bread. To sum it up, I found myself in Coffee Heaven. EVERYTHING was exceptional. Just Delicious. Simply Spectacular! This chalk art was breath taking!
Put these places on your Midwest Bucket List! You will be pleasantly surprised.
On a recent trip to New York City I visited Bluebird Coffee Shop in the SoHo neighborhood located in lower Manhattan. This no frills coffee bar has limited seating and a simple decor. The barista was less than friendly but professional none the less.
Offering Lattes, Flat Whites, Cortados and brewed coffee, Bluebird appears to be purists when it comes to their craft. I believe this is in an effort to serve up a solid cup of coffee! A solid Latte is what I received at BB. I ordered an Iced Latte with an extra shot of esspreso. It was pretty darn good:) I didn’t purchase anything from the pastry menu. However, other reviews say they are really good.
Today my family and I visited Compass Coffee in the historic Shaw neighborhood in Washington, DC. It is clear that the proprietors of this establishment are serious about making good coffee. One distinguishing hint is that they roast their beans on-site in “The Lab”. Another good hint is that they choose their beans from various importers at the peak of freshness! This can only result into one thing…..”a real good cup of coffee!” How impressive is that???
Great customer service and a really good cup of coffee is what we received at C.C.! I had the Nutella Mocha- Iced and slightly sweetened. I seriously almost did a small dance when I took the first sip! Whoa, was it good. My husband had his new favorite, Nitro-slightly sweetened with caramel syrup. It had a very rich but smooth taste. We also had assorted cookies. My daughters said they were amazing:) Other interesting menu items are coffee cola, assorted teas and sandwiches.
If you live in or around DC or find yourself visiting, check out Compass Coffee (www.compasscoffee.com) where they are doing it good and right.
On a recent family reunion trip to “Beautiful” Hilton Head SC, our family had the opportunity to venture off to another lovely town: Bluffton SC. There we found a very cute and stylish coffee house:The Corner Perk (TCP). The Corner Perk is a locally owned coffee shop and cafe situated in the historic downtown Bluffton area.
TCP rates high on my list because they roast their own Organically Grown-Fair Trade beans! If you have read any if my post, then you know I believe this is a difference maker. Also, their customer service is A++. The staff is very friendly and they love explaining all of the cool things on the menu:)
I enjoyed the Hazelnut Truffle Latte. The flavor combination was perfecto! Our kids drank loads of the Strawberry Mint Lemonade:) The lemonade and the Peanut Butter Brownies were delish!!! My husband tried the brand new Cold Brew Nitro. This is a high caffeine “on tap” brew that pours like Guinness. He completely enjoyed this and the Chocolate Cupcake with cream cheese frosting!
If you ever find yourself in the Bluffton SC area, check out TCP ( www.cornerperk.com/). You will be glad you did!!!
It is a beautiful Saturday morning. Hanging out with the “Fam” at Vigilante. We enjoyed cold coffee brews with a splash of simple syrup and cream, peach blossom iced tea, hibiscus iced tea and assorted scones! Unfortunately, we missed the Sumatra Whiskey brew again but maybe next time.
As always Chris’ team displayed awesome customer service.
Treat yourself and visit Vigilante. You will quickly became a fan!
Have you ever been to Paradise? Hawaii is often described as paradise and one of the most beautiful places on earth. Well, I have to agree! A recent trip there convinced me that there is Paradise on Earth. From sandy beaches lined with emerald-blue water and palm trees under serene skies to rugged black volcanoes that continue to reshape the earth, the Hawaiian Islands teem with diversity, beauty and poise. Even beyond this, the islands are flourished with a variety of plants, animals and ethnicities. While God’s beauty is everywhere, I must say there is an extra special “something” in Hawaii. It is breath taking! Our Luau Cruise, swap meets, Farmer’s Markets and espresso trips made for an extra special visit to Paradise. Below you will find brief descriptions of our espresso trips in Honolulu.
ChadLou’s Coffee and Tea Lounge ~ Kailua, Hawaii
ChadLou’s is a very comfy coffee and tea lounge. It is very rustic and has adequate seating, books and chess tables. Our barista Natalia was very professional and clearly enjoyed her craft. She even creates what I call “ cup art.” Natalia and other staff members draw on coffee cups, creating the most beautiful pictures and designs. These cups are on display throughout the store and make for very interesting conversation (see picture above). We had some delicious drinks including fresh cucumber water and pastries at Chadlou’s. My husband had a Kona Affagato (pictured above)! Yummy!!! I had the Honu Latte. This is a decadent drink infused with Caramel and Mac Nut. Delish!!! Our son had Iced Green Tea and our girls enjoyed M&M cookies and Hawaiian Mud Pie Ice cream. My husband also had a “roadie”: ice tea infused with island fruits and lightly sweetened. We all enjoyed this spot very much. I wished I had stopped back by again before returning to the Main Land! If you are ever in Honolulu, give them a visit. www.chadlous.com By the way….the price was right too.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf ~ Honolulu Hawaii (Waikiki)
As some of my readers know, I do not blog about “Chain” Coffee Houses. I had no idea that Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf was a chain until we came back to the Main Land. So, in a sense I am going against my rule. However, after a bit of research I see now why they were appealing to me. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Company is the largest, privately held coffee and tea retailer in the United States. According to their website, they carefully hand craft their drinks and only select their beans and tea leaves from privately owned coffee bean farms and estates. They are so picky about bean selection that they only choose the top one percent of Arabica beans.
Conversely, an early morning stroll with my two little girls lead me to this place. It was an outdoor coffee stand with obviously something to offer because the line was pretty long. The girls and I decided to stop by anyway. As we approached the counter it became evident to me that people where waiting for good reason. They serve an array of coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, assorted muffins and pastries. I enjoyed the Dark Chocolate Iced Latte. Very smooth and refreshing! My oldest daughter, Dia had the Pure Chocolate Smoothie. My youngest daughter, Dayley enjoyed a Strawberry Vanilla Mango Smoothie. Now her drink was Delish! We shared a Turkey and Swiss Croissant and a Morning Glory muffin. Both were very fresh and tasty. Go ahead. Check them out and see for your self. http://www.coffeebean.com/
Blue Tree Café ~ Honolulu Hawaii
From the moment I walked into the Blue Tree Café, I knew I was in for a treat! Blue Tree is definitely for the “green” living and health conscience person. The décor is modern with in-door and out-door seating. All of the furniture and equipment are from recycled material. Their menu is extensive: offering coffees, teas, smoothies, juices, raw oats, salads, pastries, etc. All food items (with the exceptions of pastries) are raw. They make their own nut milks and cold press all of their juices. They also use organic ingredients!! One of their mottos: “It’s Life Changing” is so fitting. I felt “changed” just walking in the door. This place just makes you want to put the “right” foods in your temple.
I had and Iced Blue Tree Latte: Honey, house made almond milk, cinnamon and espresso. It was pretty good but not my favorite. My husband had the same beverage made hot. He did not like his at all. He also had the Almond Dream Smoothie. This drink went over a bit better than his latte did. Our kids had the following: Raw Oats bowl, Acai Bowl, House made Almond Milk, Very Verde Smoothie, Banana Bread Muffin, Zucchini Bread Muffin with cashew cream icing and a Blueberry Scone. All were very good. I know, because I tasted everyone’s food. LOL! My absolute favorite was the Acai Bowl. Topped with fresh bananas and crunchy granola, it was incredibly delicious!
This espresso trip was great but not because of the coffee drinks we had. They were pretty average in my opinion. Maybe on another trip we will try a different coffee drink. On the other hand, the food was really good and healthful. The Blue Tree Café is not easy on the wallet though. The total bill was a little over $50.00!!!!! Pretty pricey. Right? Well, do not let that deter you. Give them a try if you are ever in Honolulu. www.bluetreejuice.com Also, park in the parking structure. They will validate your parking.
Glazer’s ~ Honolulu Hawaii
Glazer’s is a cool, comfy and hipster coffee house. With a relaxing, “living room” like feel. It is a great place to meet friends or coffice. They also have unique photography on the walls, antique cameras and Barista magazines. Glazer’s is independently owned. They serves organic, shade grown, and fair trade coffee. Prepared in unique Seattle tradition, Glazer’s espresso drinks have a flawless creamy texture. The baristas are professional yet serious about the drinks they serve. You may even get some cool coffee art like we did on our visit (see our lattes above). We had Carmel Lattes and Blue Hawaiian Italian Sodas. The drinks were very good. The Carmel Latte was exceptional. It had a very bold flavor, aroma and crema. If you are planning a trip Honolulu, put this place on your bucket list. You will enjoy the atmosphere and your cup of Joe. http://www.glazerscoffee.com/
Island Brew is a coffee houses that focuses on fresh, organic and sustainable coffee, tea and other food products. They offer a wide variety of drinks, foods and pastries. I had the pleasure of enjoying a Malabar Latte. This is an espresso drink made with Mocha Cream, Caramel and Creme de Cacao. It was really very good. One of the most interesting things I noticed about this house is the method they use for brewing their cold coffee drinks. The barrista explained that it takes up to 12 hours to steep the coffee grounds for their cold coffee. This process only produces a small picture of coffee. Wow! I guess good things really do come to those who wait. Island Brew has a warm and cozy atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating. Check them out on your next trip to Hawaii. http://www.islandbrewcoffeehouse.com/index.html
Nic’s Island Coffee~ Aiea Hawaii
A visit to the Pealridge Farmers Market lead us to Nic’s Island Coffee. Nicole Symthe is the proprietor of this neat coffee stand. She was very personable and offered really great customer service. Nic serves up a good cup of iced coconut coffee. N.I.C. travels to various Farmer’s Markets around Honolulu. Follow her on Instagram at: https://instagram.com/nicsislandcoffee/
Green World Coffee Farm
Located on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii the Green World Coffee Farm provides a very unique coffee experience. Visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour on the 7-acre farm. There you will find approximately 2000 Arabica Coffee Trees. They roast beans everyday and offer a wide variety of coffee beans from other local farms around Hawaii. Customers can also sample many different types of coffee, teas, and chocolate covered coffee beans. Green World also has a coffee bar where they serve lattes, smoothies, shakes and pastries. Check them out on your next trip to Hawaii:)
Started in 1992, Common Grounds Coffee was the first official coffee house in Lexington, KY. This company has grown into the largest locally own coffee business in Lexington KY. They roast their own beans in their local warehouse. This warehouse facility also serves as their commercial kitchen and coffee supplier in which they provide freshly roasted beans to other Kentucky owned coffee shops. The proprietors have also partnered with Willet Distillery to craft their own bourbon barrel coffee.
My family and I had an opportunity to visit “The Original” site; located at 343 East High Street Lexington Kentucky 40507. The décor is reminiscent of their appreciation for the Music and Arts. They have Open Mic Night and display the work of local artist on their walls. There is also plenty of nice seating and is a good meeting place for those who just want to hang out and connect with friends.
My husband and I enjoyed a few of their specialty lattes. He had The Buckeye: a creamy blend of peanut butter and chocolate. It was simply delish. I had the Depth Charge: a very rich drink with 4 shots of espresso, caramel, chocolate & vanilla. I requested this drink to be lightly sweet. It had a very unique and lovely taste. Full of body and flavor. This drink is for an experienced palate for sure! No newbies here!!! Overall, the Baristas and other staff were very professional and took time to explain the menu. We also shared a slice of Triple Chocolate Cake. Yummo!
Sweet Donkey Coffee House is the best coffee shop I have visited in Roanoke VA. This Roanoke “house” was built in 1922. Its homey feel completes the experience that I have come to expect when taking an “Esspresso Trip”. I enjoyed it’s comfortable seating options, beautiful art and décor. Each sitting area has its own unique design and personality.
During my visit I learned that SDC serves Counter Culture Coffee, a Durham-based company that provides organically certified brews. They also serve local pastries and dairy from local creameries. In my opinion, this further enhances their menu of fabulous coffee drinks. They sell tea as well but this is a coffee blog:)
My Cortado from SDC
I had a Cortado: 2oz of espresso finished with 2oz of steamed milk. I would describe this drink as sophisticated with a rich and robust finish. It is definitely for the more experienced palate. My husband had one of their seasonal drinks: A Pumpkin Latte. It was absolutely superb. My girls had the chocolate butternut squash muffin. It was insanely delicious.
It is clear to me that the proprietors of this establishment love coffee, their neighborhood, and their craft. The staff and baristas were beyond pleasant and professional. They really understand how to make a coffee house visit an experience. I will definitely visit again!
My family and I were on a road trip and stopped in Williamsburg for a good nights rest. As usual, the next morning I began to think about my next Esspresso Trip. After reading the reviews for “A Common Ground Coffee Shop” I became very excited to experience what they had to offer. It appeared to me that the people where friendly, enjoyed their craft and ultimately enjoyed connecting with people. So, off we went to the coffee house. As we approached the location, it was discovered to be inside of a church! This made me even more excited because as a Christian, I like to support the work of the Lord.
Unfortunately, they were closed. The hours posted were “5:00-10:00 pm”. I just assumed that it was 5:00 am but after further research I learned that they are opened from 5:00 pm -10:00 pm.
According to Google+, their mission is to cultivate the environment of the community and to provide hospitality and deepen the lives of people they meet, all in Jesus name. Now what and awesome calling!
Although disappointed I missed the experience of this coffee house, it warms my heart to know that one can find their calling in Jesus and marry it with Coffee at the same time. Now that’s what I call Heaven on Earth:)
With coffee love,
PS. If you are in the area, check them out for me:)
A Common Ground-219 South 5th Street, Williamsburg KY 40769 856-707-6672