Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ninth Street Espresso

Ninth Street Espresso is a cute, simple spot that we discovered inside the Chelsea Market. It's a "no frills" coffee bar with a modest menu. Ninth Street first opened in 2001 in the East Village and now has grown to 5 locations all over the city. Their goal is to serve great coffee, and to remain genuine and consistent.

The menu is very simple and literally has 4 items: hot coffee, cold coffee, espresso and espresso with milk. They have made their menu simple and inviting for the non-coffee experts - and let's be honest, who out of us is actually a coffee expert (not me!)? I loved that I could order my latté without any confusion or judgement. They believe that good coffee should be simple and I couldn't agree more!

Ninth Street originally worked with specialty roasters and in 2016 they opened their own roasting facility at the Chelsea Market - where they now roast on a Loring 515 Falcon. I had a latté with Alphabet City beans, and it was so smooth and a little nutty - but perfectly balanced between the milk and the espresso. The Chelsea Market location doesn't have any seating but it's ideal to grab your coffee and stroll through the shops in the market or head to the Highline for a walk and a nice view of the city!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Double Dutch Espresso

NYC is filled with charming streets in every neighbourhood! This past weekend we explored South Harlem, and I loved strolling down the quiet, tree lined streets! It felt like a nice escape from the sirens and city noise in Chelsea.

We stopped at a charming café called Double Dutch Espresso on Frederick Douglas and 118th. It's close to Morningside Park and seemed to attract the academic and creative crowd! This spot is the classic neighbourhood coffee joint. They serve counter culture beans and my drip coffee was fruity but not overwhelming!

The coffee shop looks deceptively small from the outside but it's actually very spacious with plenty of seating, and a cozy antique vibe with exposed brick! If you walk all the way through the cafe you'll find a backyard patio outside. There is free wifi and some pastries and sandwiches to help you power through a few hours of productivity!

Travel Tip: Check out the famous Apollo Theatre, and grab brunch at BLVD Bistro to satisfy your craving for southern comfort food.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tisserie 55

Tisserie bakery is a wholesale bakery located in Union City, New Jersey. They primarily serve the hotel and restaurant industry in the NJ and NY area. In addition to serving hotels and restaurants, they cater to offices for breakfast meets or special events.

Tisserie has one retail location - called Tisserie 55 - in midtown, connected to the Park Central Hotel on 8th Avenue between 55th and 56th. We stumbled upon this café while apartment hunting! They have long hours and are open 7 days a week from 7 am to 8 pm.

I was immediately drawn to the antique lighted sign, and as soon as I walked in I was invited by the welcoming smell of coffee and freshly baked goods. I also loved the overhanging lamps which create such a warm atmosphere! The café is quite spacious inside with plenty of seating and free Wi-Fi. They serve all kinds of coffee as well as muffins, scones, pastries, empanadas, quiches and other savory treats. I also saw some soups and sandwiches on the lunch menu. We ordered a breakfast sandwich on a croissant and had some Stumptown coffee to get us fueled for a day of exploring our new city.

Travel Tip: Check out a show at Carnegie Hall which is just up the street, or grab your coffee to go and stroll through Central Park!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Variety Coffee Roasters

Variety Coffee is a Williamsburg-born roaster that has 5 locations in New York. They opened in 2008 and have since expanded locations to serve coffee-lovers in Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Chelsea and the Upper East Side. 

The first thing that jumped out at me was the vintage lettering outside the Chelsea location. The inside is a beautiful large space with leather booths, and plenty of tables conveniently located close to outlets. I love the high, curved wood ceilings, gorgeous tile designs and the natural light that floods in through all of the windows. The wood accents, gold trim and long coffee bar added such a nice friendly and welcoming feel.

The day we popped in the vibe was a mix of young couples, older individuals and techie-looking people hammering away at their laptops. The coffee menu is short and simple. I had a drip coffee and Alan got a cappuccino which were both delicious. I really loved the graphic design on their cups too. Everyone online leaves reviews saying that their coffee is consistently delicious and that’s why it’s their go-to spot!

You can buy hand-brewing equipment and also subscribe for bi-monthly deliveries. They also sell their coffee at Whole Foods – just look for the package with lips and you won’t miss it!

Travel Tip: Get your coffee to go and walk along The Highline for some great views of Chelsea.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Doughnut Plant

NYC is known for having some of the best food, dessert and coffee. I was so excited to discover a Doughnut Plant location right next door to me since it was referenced in a guide book of hidden gems that I received as a gift a few years ago!

The Doughnut Plant doughnuts are handcrafted every day, and do not contain eggs, preservatives, transfats or anything artificial . You can find so many different and original flavours and types so it’s a good idea to check out the menu online before you decide to stop by. You can find the following types of doughnuts:

Yeast doughnuts: light, airy, fluffy yeast-raised doughnuts with a slight chew

Cake doughnuts: Leavened with baking powder, the cake doughnuts have a texture somewhere near the intersection of a classic birthday cake and a buttery pound cake.

Filled doughnuts: Filled with their house made jams, creams and custards. Their filled doughnuts include flavours like Tres Leches, Carrot Cake and Black Seed (think chocolate on chocolate).

Doughseeds: Mini, filled doughnuts including flavours such as Creme Brûlée (the original), Rose (with a rose water pudding and dipped in a rose water glaze, topped with an edible rose petal), Hazelnut Chocolate, Matcha Green Tea, Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jam, Pistachio, Strawberry & Cream and Wild Blueberry & Cream.

Everyone who knows me well knows that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I have to say, I am salivating as I’m writing this. Coffee and doughnuts are the perfect pair and I’m happy to say that their coffee was also delicious. It paired perfectly with the coffee cake doughnut. (Can you tell I like coffee?) If you’re not a coffee person, they have plenty of other drinks including tea and plant juices. If I haven’t convinced you to visit, then browse through these photos or take a stroll past a store in the morning. Maybe you’ll be drawn in after seeing the long lines and adorable doughnut themed decor!

Travel Tip: Visit the Chelsea Hotel right next door (currently under construction). This iconic hotel housed writers, painters, filmmakers and musicians for over a century. This is the place where Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road, Bob Dylan penned Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Madonna photographed her book Sex, Leonard Cohen composed Chelsea Hotel #2, Arthur C Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey and Arthur Miller recovered from his split with Marilyn Monroe.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ultimo Coffee

Ultimo Coffee was opened by a couple (the Ultimos) who met working in a coffee shop in DC! They decided to open up their own café in the Philadelphia area and opened their first location in Newbold. Now this location shares a space with Brew, a specialty bottle beer shop. They also have a roastery and lab at this location.

Today Ultimo has three different locations, Newbold, Graduate Hospital and Rittenhouse. I visited the newest location in the Rittenhouse neighbourhood and loved it! The location was small but cute and had just he right about of tables and bar seating. I especially loved the natural light here!

Ultimo offers public coffee tasting on Fridays on Bancroft street. You can also purchase merchandise and coffee brewing gear for the house!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Good Karma Café

Good Karma is a small café with three locations around Centre City, Philly. I found myself at the newest location on Walnut Street in the Schuylkill Banks neighbourhood. They serve delicious organic and fair trade coffee roasted by a Boston-based worker owned co-op called Equal Exchange. Learn more about it here.

This café serves everything from hot and cold drinks to salads and sandwiches. It's a very cozy spot with plenty of bar seating and tables with easy access to power outlets for those of us addicted to their technology (like me!). I loved the drip coffee and stayed for a few hours while catching up on some work.

Good Karma Café features local artists at all of their locations, and their work is available for purchase! Swing by for a spot to work during the day or a place to unwind after work because Good Karma is open until 10 pm every night!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Paris + The French Alps

They say Paris is always a good idea! I spent an amazing week in Paris and the Alps working on my skiing skills, eating all the cheese and charcuterie I could get my hands on, drinking the best wine and champagne, and wandering the streets looking for crêpes and croissants! Cheers to la belle vie! Santé!

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Konditori is a Swedish café that first opened in 2010 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They have seven locations in NYC and opened up two locations in Philly just a few years ago. The Philly location that I went to is right in centre city by Rittenhouse square. It's a cute little spot that can hold about 10 people! They have a few counter top seats which look into the street so it's perfect if you want to people-watch.

Apparently Swedes drink twice as much coffee as Americans, so I was not surprised at how delicious the coffee tasted! Konditori fresh-presses its coffee and lets it steep longer which results in a bold cup. They also serve Swedish baked goods including cinnamon buns (kanelbullar), cardamom bread (mandelmassa) and coco balls (chokladboll).

Travel Tip: This café is close to the famous Di Bruno Bros shop. Stop in the sample their amazing cheese selection, or to just browse this high end Italian grocery store.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Café Chiado

Café Chiado has been on my Montreal café list forever! This is a Portuguese café located in the Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie area, inspired by the Chiado neighbourhood in Lisbon which crossesTram No 28. This neighbourhood in Portugal is very artsy and was traditionally filled with a various merchants. Today it's a popular tourist spot, filled with good restaurants, cafés and shopping. It also has a number of historic monuments and theatres.

I enjoyed an americano with my friend C. They serve Portuguese roasted coffee, and offer hot and cold drinks as well as pastries including the traditional natas. Chiado is a beautiful bi-level coffee shop where you can catch up with friends and pretend you're in Europe for a day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Café Le Falco

I finally made it to Cafe Le Falco with my coffee buddy C! This café has been on my list forever, but the hours make it really challenging for a working professional. They're only open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Le Falco is located by metro Laurier on Ave Gaspe in an industrial and artsy area. The café is a bit out of the way, but once we made it there we stayed for a while!

The warehouse set up is very cool - industrial yet modern with a large open space. I liked the giant world map mural and the bicycle hanging above the long table. Le Falco has food options like Japanese rice bowls, as well as baked goods and coffee.

They use a Syphon coffee maker which is essentially a vacuum coffee maker. It brews coffee using two chambers and is based on the expansion and contraction of water vapor. Read more here. I enjoyed my syphon coffee and lemon poppyseed loaf. While I probably won't get a chance to go back, I'd recommend a visit here if you can make the hours.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Vortex Cycling in Virginia

New year, same me. At the end of every year, I love to sit down with a notebook and reflect on the past year. It's also my favourite time to try to pinpoint items in my life that I want to improve on for the upcoming year. A recurring theme to improve on has always been health and fitness.

Over the Christmas holidays I had the pleasure of trying out an indoor cycling class at Vortex in Tysons. Hands down, this is one of my favourite fitness classes that I've ever tried! The music was so great, and the instructor we had was so motivating. It was such a fun hour of fitness! I felt like I was dancing on the bike, but we also took some free weights to work our arms as well.

At the end of the ride, we had a chance to sit down at the café with the owner. It was a great way to relax and unwind. I had a delicious filtered coffee, and Alan had a pour over. The coffee was from a local D.C. roaster and was so good! Vortex's café offers all sorts of coffee and healthy snacks to fuel up before the class, or re-energize after the workout.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My 2018 Book List

Happy New Year!! Wishing you all a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2018!

As some of you may know, I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2016 and continued that challenge in 2017. Unfortunately I was not able to finish 50 books last year but I did manage to read 39 great ones!

I've decided once again this year to challenge myself to read 50 books. My goal is that 25 of them will be from the Time's All Time Top 100 List. I plan to continuously update this post as I finish these books, and I'll mark the Time's books with as asterisk.

You can follow me on goodreads here in case you're interested to see my ratings! Thanks for stopping by!

1. Freakanomics by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

2. The Good Goodbye by Carla Buckley

3. I'm Fine...and Other Lies by Whitney Cummings

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey *

5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

6. What If? by Randall Munroe

7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

8. Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What they Got Out of Getting it Wrong by Jessica Bacal

9. Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro *

10. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison *

11. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

12. The Upstarts by Brad Stone

13. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

14. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

15. Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America by Samhita Mukhopadhyay

16. Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

17. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

18. Native Son by Richard Wright *

19. The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

20. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

21. In A Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donavan and Caren Zucker

22. The Royal We by Heather Cocks

23. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

24. Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

25. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

26. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Frederik Backman