Coffee Shops on the To Do List

I think I speak for both Sarah and I when I say that we are pretty picky when it comes to where we go to get our coffee house fix. It takes a lot to impress us. Atmosphere, patio, views, employees, chair comfiness, pastry selections (gluten free, please for Sarah..sufficient sweetness for me) and of course that coffee taste are all equally important.

Ascension Coffee
Ascension Coffee

My favorite coffee shop in Dallas is Ascension in the Design District. It’s my go to. The coffee is so delicious, and for me it was one of the first boutique coffee shops I knew about in D-town (having come from the land of Starbucks corners). Their perfectly sized small coffees are everything I need to turn a bad day into a great one.

But, I have a wandering eye. There are two new(ish) specialty shops in Dallas that if I don’t try in the next month I might die.

Houndstooth
Houndstooth

Houndstooth opened up about a week ago by Knox/Henderson. Originally from Austin, this shop has found its way North and I couldn’t be more thrilled! One thing I love is that they host frequent public coffee cuppings at their Austin N. Lamar location. This gives you the opportunity to try new coffees and learn more about their flavor, something I actually really enjoyed while working at Starbucks. At first you’re just like ‘ummm yeah this one tastes like coffee too…” but when you start trying several coffees and pairing them with foods, you start to notice the different flavors in each cup. So, Houndstooth. I’m hoping to see you tomorrow morning.

Davis St Espresso
Davis St Espresso

The second place I’m hoping to pay a visit to is Davis St Espresso in Oak Cliff. They just recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary, so I’m super late hoping on this train. Davis St. also hosts cuppings – a quality I think defines a dedicated coffee shop…just saying. Unfortunately this one is a little out of the way and difficult to get to and it’s closed on Sundays. But I’m determined! I’ll see them very soon.

Need my fix

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Usually, I have a cup of coffee in the morning and then that’s it for the day. Since Christmas and the exciting moka (similar to espresso) maker and milk frother I received from Santa, my cup of coffee got a little sexier in the form of a cappaccino with just two shots of moka.

But now… *sigh*… with the addition of lunch time workouts, I finally have to admit… I want need bit more coffee after lunch. Which hard for this coffee snob who resents the mere presence of a Keurig machine, so having to drink out of one is really just offensive. It looks like my portable french press (also from Christmas, my family Santa knows me well) needs to be getting some regular TLC. Or maybe, Ascension can you start delivering?!

Although I hate having to have more than one cup of coffee in my efforts to live a healthier lifestyle, I certainly can’t be expected to go find tiffany’s if I can’t keep my damn eyes open. 🙂

Perks of trying something new

On sunny days in Dallas all I want to do is go to Ascension. Their patio is a frequent host to my and Lydia’s blogging, drinking, caffeination and story swapping.

It’s slightly sunny and barely above 60 degrees today, so naturally I set out to make another such afternoon happen. I was mid-Google mapping when one of my new year’s goals came to mind, reminding me to try new things and places.

So I swapped my Google activity to search and began looking up a new coffee shop instead. Drip Coffee caught my eye, and after reading Yelp reviews criticizing the shop’s environment as too industrial (this Yelper would hate my wedding) and praising their fresh-roasted coffee, I was sold.

drip coffee dallas

And I’m in love.

I’m no expert when it comes to coffee terminology, but I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to taste. Their iced coffee is 100% my favorite in Dallas now. It is dark, rich flavor, slightly nutty and chocolatey, and – my favorite – has a smooth but thick texture. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but I can actually taste the coffee, you know? I hate when it’s a thin, almost syrupy-textured liquid.

inside drip coffee dallas

Music can make or break a place, and their’s is just the right style (good) and volume level (subtly audible). Nothing like the true aural hideousness that is Mudsmith. Don’t ever go there.

The baristas also actually know or want to know every customer and ask real questions about their lives, which is just awesome.

Regardless of whether my coffee description made any sense, you should definitely try Drip Coffee. Bonus, it is surrounded by a lot of shops with serious cute-potential. Apparently I should make it to the Park Cities side of town more often.

Inspiration: Role Models + Caffeine

This week at Gaia Flow Yoga (you should know upfront, I drank the punch and am addicted to everything about this place), our yogi practice was focused on tapas; fiery discipline. So far this has been my favorite niyama we’ve had and I worked to apply it to my week. When I made my inspiration list this week, I realized that tapas played a big role in the three people I listed as inspiring me this week. My role models tend to be creative people with the initiative and drive to make their vision happen. And to follow in their footsteps, I think practicing fiery discipline every week is the first step.

John Fullbright.

I saw him in concert almost by accident last weekend and am fully obsessed. Into Americana? You’ll be into him. He’s also pretty funny and a fellow Okla-homie. So now when he becomes huge, you can be like “Oh I knew him way back when.”

Saul Leiter

He’s going to be featured in a documentary called In No Great Hurry  at the Thin Line Film Fest in Denton. Watch the trailer, I don’t have much to add. He just seems amazing.

Bob Dylan.

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I’m currently reading his book and am inspired each and every day by his writing, ambition and his seriously overall profound-ness.

Cappaccinos.

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I worked for Starbucks for about 10 months. Since then, I’ve discovered what a cappaccino actually is and I’m a tad obsessed. I love the little tea cups they come in, and my caffeine high afterwards. So far, the best is Ascension Coffee in the Design District but I want to try every cappaccino in Dallas. You wish I was kidding. To fuel my addiction, my roommate recently purchased an espresso maker and a milk-frother – but an old fashion version that feels more like cooking. It is delicious AND I can have a free cappaccino whenever my caffeine addicted heart desires. Since I have been practicing my fiery discipline and actually waking up when I want to, I’ve enjoyed quite a few cappuccinos this week.

Austin, in short.

This past weekend, Sarah, myself and two of my very best friends headed south to Austin. This town is my town. Literally.

It really was  a blast. Everyone is so friendly, and it’s easy to strike up a casual conversation while waiting for a latte or for the “walk” sign to cross the street. I know both Sarah and I have so many things we want to share, so I’m going to TRY to limit myself to the top four. This. This is a challenge.

1. Summermoon Coffee Bar

I discovered this little nugget last time I was in Austin. I woke up too early one day, so I drove here to read and have some green tea. On my way out, I picked up lattes for myself and the rest of my friends. Best decision of my life. The lattes are seriously heaven. They use some kind of sweet milk… but they don’t tell you what is in it… not that you want to know how many calories are in there. Regardless. It’ll be worth it. (not to mention the place is adorable)

2. The Parks.

The first on the left was amazing and conveniently located next to a botanical garden. There were people playing frisbee, soccer and dogs running around off leash. It took every ounce of self control I have not to steal one. I survived and am not currently in jail, so the trip was definitely a success. The park on the right was kind of a funny story. We had mentally prepared ourselves for at least an hour or so hike. The walk up the “mountain” was about 10 minutes – Google search let us down. Ha! The view was amazing. We all picked out our future homes fully equipped with their own boats, filled with our hopes and dreams!

3. Record Store.

I have a record player… but it’s currently in storage and has been there for about a year. I never fully committed to living at home, but regardless I purchased three new vinyls. If you’re a professional vinyl collector – don’t hate. I’m no expert. I like to purchase vinyls for bands I know I won’t ever be tired of. Or bands that have unique, powerful sound. Especially older bands who originally published their music on vinyls, it feels like that’s how it was supposed to be listened to. I am DYING for a Louie Armstong vinyl. To get a good one it’s like $40-50, but I know I’ll eventually make this plunge.

Anyways, how could I resist buying vinyl in Austin?

I ended up choosing Sufjan Stevens, Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan. There were about 10 others I NEEDED. But I suppose there are other vinyl stores… I guess.

4. Art.

Do I need to even introduce these? It’s everywhere in Austin. Store fronts, store walls, random alleyways… the personality of Austin is art in and of itself. I love street art more than anything. It’s like the urban version of stopping and smelling the roses.