Thursday, October 18, 2018

Madman Espresso

Madman is a NY coffee house that opened in 2012. They have two locations - one close to Penn Station and the other in Greenwich Village. Their motto is life is good and they do serve mad good coffee.

I stopped in for an afternoon pick me up and almost couldn’t find the entrance! I looked like a silly tourist dodging the business people rushing to pick up their lunch. The midtown location is hidden between fabric stores and restaurants. Once I finally found it, I stepped inside and greeted by a calm and welcoming feel!

The café has a rustic chic interior with soft lighting. I love the large wood table and the bar stools nestled against the front windows. It wasn’t too loud either and I felt like I had briefly escaped from my workday. My chai latte was delicious and was ready so quickly! The baristas were kind and knowledgeable too - no rude coffee snobs over here. Great spot for no fuss coffee and snacks including pastries and quiches. Stop by for an afternoon pick me up if you’re in the area or if your office is close by! 

PS The lids on their to go cups are so nice and sturdy! No spills for clumsy old me with these bad boys!

Travel Tip: There is the Renaissance Hotel right next door and I had to take an obligatory fall photo with my coffee and some pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Birch Coffee West Village

Birch Coffee was started by two guys named Paul and Jeremy who were looking for a change. They wanted to make a difference. In a world overrun by smart phones and news feeds, they wanted a business where people came first! These guys have now translated that dream into 10 successful cafés around New York.

We stopped by the West Village location on 7th and 14th, and I noticed that the Birch baristas go out of their way to know your name and order. They are welcoming and friendly and make it so easy to order great coffee! They even asked me what kind of milk I wanted in my (drip) coffee and poured it in for me behind the counter! They really prepare the coffee for you all the way -  now that’s service and simplicity! A got a chai latte and of course I took a sip of that as well. It was delicious and so flavourful! 

The seating is great here too – a few tall tables with stools and counter seating along the windows. I noticed that they had a mini library where you could take books and drop books off as you wanted! They also had some “conversation starter” signs that you can put on your table if you want to start a conversation and potentially make a new friend! I loved that concept!

Birch roasts their coffee in Long Island City and sells their beans wholesale as well. They offer coffee classes to anyone who wants to learn more!

I really loved this place and want to check out their other locations around the city as well!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Xanadu Coffee

Xanadu Coffee is a cute little spot in Chelsea. It's nestled between a dry cleaner, barbershop and an AT&T store right on 23rd street. I love the lighting and the cute décor inside! The subtle flowers on the backsplash was definitely my favourite detail. The spot is small and doesn't have a bathroom so I wouldn't recommend setting up camp here for hours on end to study, but they do have free wifi and the mirrors add a nice touch and make the space feel more open. 

They have many flavours of gelato which you can enjoy outside, and their coffee is delicious as well. It was recently re-opened by new owners who are Turkish – so of course when we found that out we decided that we had to try their Turkish Coffee! I decided to try their cappuccino as well. Both were good but a bit bolder than I was expecting. The menu includes hot and cold coffee, teas, smoothies and plenty of food items as well like sandwiches, sweet and savoury crepes and waffles! 

We didn’t have much time to sit and enjoy your coffee so we got our to go. This place is not fancy but the coffee is good and the barista was super friendly! Would definitely recommend paying them a visit if you’re in Chelsea. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Three Brothers Coffee

Nashville is such a cool city with great music, delicious food and of course lots of great coffee shops! During my research for our trip to music city, I came across so many great cafés to visit, but ultimately landed on Three Brothers Coffee since it fit well with our itinerary and of course, because of the picturesque alley!

Three Brothers was created by the owners of an outdoor/adventure store (right next door) called Cumberland Transit. They brew a rotation of coffee from around the country. Check out what they are currently brewing here.

This café is located close to Centennial Park, right by Vanderbilt University and attracts a ton of students. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the coffee shop is spacious inside with lots of large tables allowing the students to spread out and study alone or in groups. The menu is extensive will all kinds of coffee as well as some loose leaf teas to choose from. We grabbed an iced coffee, rested for a bit and enjoyed the awesome art in the alley outside. The café features Nashville based artists and the displays rotate every month or so, and is a must-see if you find yourself visiting Nashville.

Travel Tip: Visit the Parthenon located right in the Centennial Park, just a short walk away form this coffee shop.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nashville, Tennessee

Hey Y'all! I've had Nashville on my travel wishlist for a few years now and I finally had a chance to spend an awesome weekend with family exploring the state which is home to so many legendary country music venues!

So I have to admit that am not a huge fan of country music but I really loved learning about the history and hearing all of the music on the streets. We explored a few different neighbourhoods including downtown, The Gulch and 12 South. Some of our highlights included all of the murals (I stopped to take sooo many pictures!),  visiting the Parthenon, shopping at Reese Witherspoon's store - Draper James, strolling across the John Seigentaler Bridge and eating BBQ at Martin's and hot chicken at Hattie B's. The Country Music Hall of Fame is nice and very picturesque too. We had a great night at The Big Bang - a dueling piano bar too!

The only stop we sadly weren't able to make was The Bluebird Café. If you're planning to visit make sure to reserve tickets online the week before! The Grand Ole Opry is also super famous so if there's a show that's in line with your visit you definitely look for tickets!


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel is a one of the most famous bakeries in Soho, New York. They are known for inventing the cronut! A cronut is a croissant-donut hybrid pastry that was invented by the famous pastry chef – Mr. Dominique Ansel himself. The pastry itself looks like a donut and is made from croissant-like dough in layers, and filled with flavoured cream. The flavours change every month and we were lucky enough to try key lime dulce de leche in August.

I’ve heard that the line can be super long so your best bet is going during the week or on a rainy day. We waited around one hour starting at noon on a rainy Sunday but it definitely didn’t feel that long. Sometimes the bakery also runs out of cronuts so be prepared! Once you’ve ordered, there is a bit of seating in the back either inside the café, in the enclosed garden or outside in the backyard terrace. All options are great and make a great background for a photo shoot!  

For those of us who are impatient – you can always skip the long cronut line and head straight inside to the bakery to order any of their other delectable goodies. We’ve tried their mini madeleines, chocolate croissants, ham & cheese croissants and the signature item – the DKA. This stands for Dominique’s Kouign Amann and is a small version of the traditional Breton pastry with is similar to a caramelized croissant. The DKA is crispy with a caramelized crust on the outside with a tender flaky inside. 

This bakery has made its way across the country to LA, and even across the ocean to London and Tokyo. They also have Dominique Ansel’s Kitchen and UP (Unlimited Possibilities) in the West Village where you can try dessert and wine pairings. The hype is definitely worth it because it’s so unique. As someone without much of a sweet tooth – this was definitely a treat I enjoyed although I’m sure this is highly dependent on what the flavor of the month is. If you’re visiting NYC and find yourself walking around SoHo, try to spot by and wait out the lines for this unique experience! Your taste buds will thank you!

PS Their coffee is really good too!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth is a cute little beach down in Delaware, and only a 3 hour drive from New York. We had a great weekend visiting family friends. The Dogfish brewery is in Rehoboth (my favourite beer is the seaquench ale), there are a ton of cute shops in Penny Lane, and the boardwalk has great fries and carnival games! I did not get a good shot of the beach but we definitely soaked up some sun! Great spot for a getaway and very family friendly! Bonus: I get to check off another state on my bucket list!