Top 12 Coffee Shops (Right Now)

Most people who know me know that I tend to exaggerate when I talk about the things I love and hate.  With that said, my favorite thing in the world right now is a latte.  In the words of Dorcas Lane, they are “my one weakness”.  Seriously.  So much so, that I plan trips based going to my favorite coffee shops.  So, here is a list of my top 12 places to get a latte right now.

Chattanooga:

Velo Coffee Roasters –  a local roaster here in Chattanooga, TN and where I got truly addicted to drinking lattes.  This is where I was weaned off having any sugar added.

Copacetic Coffee –  Paired with The Farmer’s Daughter, this is a must visit in Chattanooga.  And my go to place to get a latte (as it is just right across the way from Addiah at 1307)!  I love how pure, simple, and straightforward their approach to coffee is.  Their passion is evident and you cannot help but get excited too.  Always delicious and delightful!  Eventually I will try their cappuccino.

Camphouse – great for doing work or for taking a break from work.  Love the atmosphere and location.  (It brings back memories as it is located where I took sculpting lessons/did an apprenticeship of sorts with Cessna Decosimo.)  Plus, it is a great place to see a show or go to an event.  They have a constant line up of events that are worth checking out.

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Knoxville:

Old City Java – a latte paired with their almond croissant and a good book or the latest Kinfolk – perfect!  And an awesome stop along the way on trips up North.

 

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Nashville:

Crema – my favorite place to bring work and sip a latte while spending the weekend in Nashville.  Plus, they roast their own coffee which makes it all that much better.

Barista Parlor – totally awesome design.  There is not much that needs to be said here.  You just have to visit for yourself if you have not; and if you have, you know why I love it.  I tend to leave with a smile on my face after coming here.

Atlanta:

Octane Coffee (and the Little Tart Bakery) – love, love, love sitting outside at a German beer table at the Grant Park location enjoying a treat from The Little Tart Bakery and sipping a coffee, or latte rather. Definite recommendation:  the Earl Gray Shortbread cookies.

Charleston:

City Lights Coffee – loved the people!  Seriously, I was sold.  Plus, my favorite latte while in Charleston.  Cannot wait for my next trip to Charleston and to swing by for a drink.

Washington D.C. area:

Patisserie Poupon – I will admit that I actually get a latte macchiato here.  But, oh, are they good!  Most everything is though!  A great stop for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon treat.  Just be warned they are closed on Mondays.  If only my sisters and I could remember!

Baked and Wired – love their iced lattes!  They make them extra creamy and delicious.  I honestly go here just for lattes (but their quiche is pretty good too).  My sisters and I love to bike the Capital Crescent trail and then come here for a latte.  It makes the perfect afternoon.  The atmosphere is very trendy, and is not quite our kind of scene.  We are good with just getting drinks to go.  And be warned, their desserts are super, super sweet!  Definitely need a coffee if you get one!

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Modern Times Coffeehouse – old school type of coffeehouse.  It is housed downstairs in Politics and Prose (an awesome independent bookstore).  It definitely has that type of vibe going.  The food is good and worth a stop.  There is always an eclectic crowd, everything from students to families.

Philadelphia:

La Colombe – oh my goodness!  What a find!  While visiting Philadelphia months ago, my sisters and I stumbled upon this coffee shop.  Although they have locations all over, and are not based just in the Philadelphia area, I LOVE it.  The atmosphere was charming – I mean, literally – it charmed us with the simplicity and character of the place.  I felt transported back to Deruta while sipping my latte out of a mug and enjoying a most delicious biscotti at a tiled table.  They did not go over the top with their Italian design/influence, which I really appreciated.  Everything had a purpose, yet was beautiful and of obvious quality – I mean it was imported from Deruta.  We loved it so much that we could not wait to go back the next day!  We tried both locations while there and were not disappointed with either!  I am so looking forward to working Philadelphia into a trip this year just to go back and visit.

Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza

So one of the best things in the world is coming home from a long day and having a delicious meal cooked for you.  Earlier this month I did the Porter Flea in Nashville with Love Virginia Ruth and stayed at my aunt’s for the weekend.  (Who is one of the most gracious hosts.  She knows how to spoil a girl!)  We had talked about going out to eat Saturday night (I mean food in Nashville is tempting…) but decided to stay in since she had food she could whip up for dinner.  And that she did!  For dinner, we had Spaghetti Squash Baby Cakes with Crispy Sage from My New Roots along with Sweet Potato, Feta, and 
Shiitake Packets from Vegetarian Times Magazine.  For dessert, Ginger Lemon Trifle, also from Vegetarian Times Magazine.  While eating the Sweet Potato and Shiitake Packet, I couldn’t help but want to make a pizza out of it.  So pizza it became…

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Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza:

  • Thin crust pizza dough from Cooking Light
  • Sweet Potato, Feta, and Shiitake mix – I made a couple of ever so slight alterations.  One being that I substituted kale for Swiss chard.  I used one bunch of kale (a lot more than 2 cups), 6 oz feta, and doubled the garlic.  I did not opt for the mint, and although I did use dried oregano, I would have preferred to use the fresh from my garden.  If you follow the instructions from the recipe as I did, you are going to have a ton left over.  I went ahead and made the packets in addition to using the mixture for the pizza.  It made 5 good-sized portions.  Also, make sure to slice the sweet potato REALLY thin so that it will cook.  I think it could have used a bit more lemon personally.  (Not for the pizza, but in the packets.)

Follow instructions for making pizza dough.  However, I do a couple of things differently.  I do preheat the baking sheet while the oven is preheating, but I never precook the dough.  With this recipe, I found that it makes it tough and chewy.  Just not good.  Also, I use olive oil to coat the bowl instead of cooking spray (which works too).  I do not use the cornmeal.  If you like the taste or have some on hand, feel free to use it.  I just never have.

After the dough has chilled for an hour, remove from the fridge and roll out on floured surface.  Roll to fit the sheet being used, whether round or rectangular.  Remove baking sheet from the oven.  Drizzle olive oil to thinly coat sheet.  Transfer rolled out dough to hot baking sheet – just remember it is hot!  (I cannot tell you how many times I have burnt my hands in the past.)   Begin by drizzling a little bit of olive oil on the dough.  Then cover pizza with the sweet potato mixture from above.  Try to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Bake on middle rack for 10 minutes at 500, until the crust is starting to brown.  Cover the pizza with aluminum foil and bake for another 4 minutes or until the sweet potatoes seem cooked.  Enjoy!

Best thing in the world…at this moment

The best thing in the world….well, maybe not quite.  I tend to be over exaggerative with the things I love.  I have a lot of “favorite” things based on a surge of emotion at a specific moment.  For anyone who has seen “Larkrise to Candleford” I am a bit like Ms. Lane.  Her “one weakness” tends to be like what I love most.  I have a lot of things I love “most”.

This morning I fell in love with overnight oatmeal.  I LOVE it!  Not that it is a new concept, as I make it on a regular basis, but I was just hit with how it really was the best thing in the world at that moment.  It is so easy to make…nothing more than measuring and mixing…but the best part, besides how good it tastes, is how amazingly wonderful it is to be able to pull it out of the fridge in the morning and just add some fresh organic berries to it.

Here is my go to recipe.  I use crystalized ginger, unsweetened coconut, and pecans and omit the black pepper and maple syrup.  As for the milk, I just use whatever happens to be in the fridge…cow, soy, or any other non-diary milk.  That is the beauty of this recipe…you can really put in anything you like.

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