phillip and kelsey do boston – day 3

okay, i know, you’ve been on the edge of your seat, waiting to hear how our trip to boston ended (now two months ago).  well, i’ve been a little preoccupied with work and becoming an aunt and everything, so i think the delay can be excused.  🙂  our last day in boston did eventually arrive, so we packed up our bags and wandered around the financial district in search of some coffee.  since our flight didn’t leave until dinnertime, we had a lot of time to kill and ended up posting up in render coffee for a couple of hours.  true to form, phillip ordered a sweet mocha and i ordered a frothy latte and we enjoyed reading and just watching the locals.  it was pretty chilly outside, so the cozy mugs and soft leather chairs warmly welcomed us to stay, which we did.

all hopped up on caffeine, we were ready to put some food in our stomachs, but not before we snagged a couple more classic boston pics.

now, had we had pizza the night before?  yes, but this next pizza place we went was meaningful to phillip.  when he and his family lived around boston, their parents would drive by regina’s to grab a few pies for the kiddos and scarf them down, and since phillip could eat pizza pretty much any day of the week, that is where we had lunch.

thank goodness we had the baby suitcase with us, because there is not a lot of extra space in regina’s.  tables are crammed together, booths line the walls, and the bathroom stalls are quite little.  regardless, it’s clear that regina pizzeria has been a boston institution for some time (since 1926 to be exact), so we ordered some beers and sat back and enjoyed.

the waitress recommended the giambotta pizza and the meat lover’s pizza, so that is exactly what we ordered.  i remember very specifically loving the crust and could easily picture myself ordering regina’s weekly if i lived anywhere nearby.  these pies were a good size, and with the appetites we had, only one slice remained.  but don’t worry, we took it to-go and ate it at the airport for dinner.  🙂  waste not want not!

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unfortunately, our visit to boston was coming to a close, so with our pizza in tow, we hopped on the blue line to the airport.  we were only a couple of quick stops away, and before we knew it, we had our boarding passes and were though security in no time at all.

but wait!  we had a surprise!  we couldn’t leave boston without one more trip to mike’s, so we had stopped there quickly after regina’s and took with us to the airport one peanut butter chocolate cannoli and one cookies’n’cream cannoli.  i savored every single bite as we watched the sun go down, the airplane arrive at the gate, and the line of passengers start to form.  although i would have loved a day or two more to explore some more, i thoroughly enjoyed our quick boston visit and highly recommend you give the city a try if you haven’t yet had the pleasure.

The Adventures of Kiwi Kyle | Part 4

With my work trip coming to an end soon, I’m very much looking forward to getting back to Atlanta.  My family, my house, my bed, chicken tenders, etc…However, I will miss some things about New Zealand.  The traffic (or lack thereof), the pineapple lumps, and the coffee.  “But Kyle, isn’t the coffee in New Zealand the same as in the States?”  Well, yes and no.

In New Zealand, they don’t have the concept of drip coffee like we do in the States, as everything is espresso based.  When I ordered a coffee for the first time, the server asked if I meant a “long black.”  I said “Sure!”, having no idea what a long black was.  Well, after a little research on YouTube, I figured out what a long black is.  Check out this video so that if you ever find yourself in New Zealand you’ll know what a long black is right away!

february 15th – nyc

monday in new york arrived a little quicker than we probably would have liked because monday meant we were halfway through our trip – oh no!  well, even though we’d spent the last couple of days lounging in bed until the early afternoon, we couldn’t allow ourselves to just sit around on our hands three days in a row.  no, sir!  not while in new york!  so phillip and i bid au revoir to natalie for the morning and, you guessed it, hit up hot & crusty for more bagels!  i think at this point our bagel count was nearing ten.  um, should we be embarrassed?  wait, on second thought, let’s all keep our comments to ourselves regarding our bagel consumption on this trip.  yes, i think it’s safer that way and at the end of the day we’ll all still be friends.  🙂

we ordered more fresh baked bagels and hot coffee and, because we couldn’t resist, a boulder-sized chocolate, chocolate chip muffin.  well, if we’re gonna be bad, we may as well do it right!  phillip and i leisurely munched on our treats at a table inside as we people watched all the locals in their monday morning routine.  a gentleman to my left with lox and the newspaper, a couple beside him sharing a croissant, the local delivery man stopping by to get to-go bags (i’d bet good money one of them was for natalie!).  through the window we saw gentle snow flurries beginning to fall, so we figured if we were going to do some walking we’d better get to it.

it turned out that phillip and i pretty much had the whole day free to ourselves.  as much as i would love to have gone to the public library to curl up with a book, we decided to stay in the area.  since we’d already gone to the met on saturday, we decided to venture to the west side of town to see what we could see.  now, despite the fact that the snow was beginning to pick up, phillip convinced me to take a stroll with him along the sidewalks of iconic central park.  i must admit it was quite a lovely idea.  we saw several bundled pups dragging along their owners, couples arm in arm, and joggers aplenty.  the grounds were mostly quiet and although it was getting colder with each step, the scene was nothing short of picturesque.

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san francisco – day 3

another early morning arrived for brian and me.  he wanted to get a good start so that he could leave work at a more reasonable hour for some friday fun, so we whisked out into the already windy day and took the truck over to 24th and folsom for brian’s favorite cup of coffee at philz.  he said this spot was his daily hangout once upon a time, so if it’s good enough for him, it’ll work for me, too!

when we walked into philz, i was instantly reminded of the east side jittery joe’s back in athens.  it’s artsy and eclectic, and i loved every ounce of it.

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it’s quite the menu they’ve got here, so i trusted brian to do the ordering for us both.  he got us each a small philtered soul, a lighter medium blend of hazelnut and chocolate.  um, yes, that sounds amazing!  we took our cups to-go and had our first sips out on the sidewalk.  although a little on the sweeter side, the coffee was flavorful, a lovely treat to wake us up at just a quarter past the seven o’clock hour.

gah, he's just the coolest!

gah, he’s just the coolest!

we then headed east on 24th to find dynamo donut shop.  my friend mike had heard good things about it, so i felt it was my personal duty to see if the fun was warranted.  this little place is actually a walk-up counter serving up homemade donuts and coffee.

i was in the mood for something chocoately, so i gladly let the cashier recommend the chocolate rose.  brian went for a saltier selection with the maple glazed bacon apple.  she popped them into a to-go bag for us so that brian and i could enjoy them in a nearby park.  we plopped ourselves on top of the artful sea serpent because that seemed the most obvious thing to do.

we decided that sharing the donuts was the perfect thing to do.  brian bit into the chocolate rose first, and his face said it all:  he really didn’t care for it.  whoops!  i took a taste to see if i agreed but found i felt differently.  i actually quite liked its bittersweet flavor and cakey texture.  brian did come around to admit after a few more tries that it wasn’t so bad after all.

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even though i was a fan of the chocolate rose, i might say the maple glazed bacon apple that brian picked out was pretty awesome.  the glaze was just the right thickness to coat the donut but not take away from the subtle and sweet syrupy-apple flavor.  oh, and let’s be honest, no breakfast is complete without bacon, right?  ah, yes, how american of me!

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it was about that hour for brian to head out to work, so he dropped me off back at cafe st. jorge.  i just couldn’t stay away!  i snuggled into the booth with a sesame bagel and organic cream cheese and wrote the morning away.  all of philz coffee went straight to my head and got me uber focused.  i knocked out a whole day and a half of san fran fun in a short couple of hours.  booyah!

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san francisco – day 2

thursday morning honestly arrived a little too early for my liking.  although brian’s bed is extremely comfortable, a few more hours of shuteye really would have done wonders.  well, there’s no room for whiners on this vacation, so we were up and at it by 7:30 a.m.  an early day indeed!

brian was going to take the later bus to work so that we’d have a little morning time together.  our first destination of the day was cafe st. jorge for a little caffeine and munchies.  this place was all kinds of adorable, and i’m sure i embarrassed brian with all my question asking and picture taking.  hey, there comes a time when one must be a shameless blogger, and that time for me is now.  this type of coffee shop is right up my alley, and if i lived here, i bet it’s where i would go to write and read.

brian went for a large black coffee and i had a small cafe au lait.  it was a solid au lait, a good thing since it is my favorite coffee beverage.

my cousin is such a stud!

my cousin is such a stud!

for eats i had the banana bread.  i didn’t want anything too filling since i was planning to eat practically all day long.  i wish it had been a little more moist, but the flavors and density you come to expect from banana bread were definitely there.

'naner bread.

‘naner bread.

brian went with his usual in the small granola bowl.  it was the cutest and most homey bowl i’d ever seen in my life, and i’m lucky he let me have a couple bites.  the yogurt wasn’t overly sweet, and the homemade granola was stupid good.  the fruit was fresh, and everything together in a single spoonful made for a very tasty breakfast.

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we grabbed lids for our coffees and began our morning hike.  brian had warned me about the hills, but, yeah, i quickly felt out of shape, and i run half-marathons for goodness’ sakes!  slowly my layers were stripped as we continued upward towards the heavens.  all that was running through my head was miley cyrus’ hit “the climb.”  remember folks, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

brian promised me the effort would be worthwhile, and after we were atop the city, i realized he was absolutely right.  the view from this high up is just gorgeous, a sweeping scene of san francisco and all its neighborhoods.  the breeze was cooling, and the ultimate feeling of relaxation set in as we took in everything.  ah, thank goodness for vacation days!

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a selfish morning

i’ll be honest:  i’ve been quite the time hog this month so far.  july is my birthday month (ah, 26!), and i have spent my days doing just what i want.  we ran the peachtree on the fourth, spent last weekend in athens for a friend’s wedding (congrats, sam and nathan!), and i now find myself with a lazy weekend.  we’ve got more birthday celebrations tonight, but this morning was all for me.

although i’ve used the afternoon to catch up on cleaning house and tending to other domestic chores, i treated myself to an indulgent morning.  first, there was a haircut with the lovely master stylist karen at balance salon in dunwoody.  she’s just so great!  i then skipped right on over to an open table at café intermezzo.

café intermezzo has been around atlanta since december 1979, and it has created quite a reputation for itself in the many years between then and now.  this place is one where you can come for whatever reason.  to catch up with someone over coffee, to share a spoon and dessert with someone special, to spend time pondering and wondering about all that is (yours truly).  all are good and sufficient reasons to find yourself here, and café intermezzo is someplace that, when i leave each time, i hope to be back there again very soon.

this morning i had some writing and thinking to do, so i started my visit with a café au lait, a classic coffee creation.  i forget how delicious they are, and this one may have been the best i have ever had.  it didn’t need sugar.  it didn’t need anything except to be consumed in fast fashion.

the lovely view from my terrace table.  relaxing and serene, yes?

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food was in order as well, and i figured i needed something substantial to get me through my busy day.  i was in the mood to get something out of my ordinary, so the salmon and cream cheese omelette was delivered in no time.  i had never tried lox and cream cheese.  there is no time like the present!  i took my first few bites, intrigued by the interesting flavor mixes.  the sweet cream cheese with the fishy salmon proved to be too odd a combination for me, especially so early in the day, so i was unable to finish it all.  but!  at least now i have tried and now i know, no lox and cream cheese for me, please.  i’ll probably stick with something more traditional next time.

wait, who am i kidding.  the next time i come i’ll probably get a huge slice of cake…and a bowl of gelato…and at least two cafes.  eh, par for the course!

on an unrelated note, it seems i like to take pictures of things of different heights.  like, all the time.

my morning was relaxing and inspiring and carefree.  sometimes we need to make sure we take care of ourselves so that we can pour into others as we are able.  treat yourself.  and if anyone asks, you can tell them i said it was okay.

oh, oprah

mom, clark, and i rolled through the starbucks drive-thru recently to grab some refreshing treats before the braves game.  after placing our orders, i pulled forward to the window and was pleasantly greeted by the employee.  upon returning my card, she asked if we would like to try the oprah chai tea, a new creation made possible by the crafty hands at teavana.  never one to turn down a new experience, i cheerily replied, “why not!”  the employee recommended it over ice since the sun was out and warm that afternoon.  the chilled drink was sweet and spicy, just how i like my chai.  i highly recommend you give it a try in place of your usual double, skinny, sugar-free vanilla latte with whipped cream and nutmeg.

along with oprah-inspired chai, your cup will be hugged by an inspiring sleeve.  the sleeves are a part of oprah’s steep-your-soul movement, one that encourages us to pause and reflect during our day.  to no one’s surprise, i was hooked.  i’ve held onto the three sleeves we were given for nearly two weeks now because i like them so much.  here are the wise words that were shared with us:

“the only courage you ever need is the courage to live the life you want.”

“know what sparks the light in you.  then use that light to illuminate the world.”

“live from the heart of yourself.  seek to be whole, not perfect.”

whether it’s a stroll around the block or an actual mid-afternoon frappuccino break, take some time in your day to pause, reflect, and give thanks.  sometimes the days are so beautiful that our busy lives cause them to pass by.  inhale.  exhale.  smile.  repeat.

my name is kelsey, and i love coffee

in high school and college, i had the fortunate experience of working in a coffee shop.  during high school it was at cambridge coffee in the lee branch shopping center of birmingham.  through my junior and senior years of college it was in the student learning center’s jittery joe’s.  i wouldn’t trade those shifts for the world, they were such a blast.  some of my best memories are when i played barista.  there’s a special camaraderie forged among you and your coworkers and the customers, and whenever i find myself at a coffee shop, i often reminisce about those days that seem so long ago and so far away.

at a coffee shop, you have several kinds of customers.  the people who like the smell of coffee but not the taste, so they order hot chocolates or mochas without espresso (hint hint, they’re the same thing); the people who only drink black coffee because they are “coffee purists;” the people who order fat-free, sugar-free lattes but absolutely want the whipped cream on top (they might be my favorite); the people who pronounce it “expresso” (there is no ‘x’ in the word!); the people who think a starbucks macchiato is a real macchiato (i promise you that it is not); the people who order large coffees five times throughout the same day (what do you DO?); the people who have been waiting in line for ten minutes but still do not know what to order when they arrive at the counter; the people who, after you announce a drink, repeat it right back as a question, as if you might be wrong; the people who order soy cappuccinos (i just, i can’t).

yes!  it’s true!  these people actually exist.  and in all honesty, the only reason i get a kick out of some folks is because i have the knowledge and expertise of what it is like to work behind that machine and counter, cranking out lattes and frozen, blended drinks for hours on end.  i hold nothing against coffee drinkers who don’t know what i know; i just like to smile to myself when they come by the counter.

regardless of what customers are ordering or who they might be, working in a coffee shop is an absolute pleasure, and if i could make a decent five-figure salary as a full-time barista, i’d be signing up tomorrow.  there is something special about seeing your regulars and calling them by name, catching up on their whereabouts and recent life events.  you have this strange, exclusive connection with the customers that they might not even share with the people closest to them.  believe me, if you will listen, people will talk.  but, considering that i am quite the people person, i have no qualms about it whatsoever.

someday i hope to start my own coffee shop or bakery or combination of the two.  i love coffee but would not call myself an expert; i’ll let someone else in the business handle that.  i want to be head baker at this establishment, deciding that morning just exactly what we are in the mood to make that day.  i want to be up in front with the patrons, sharing a friendly smile as they start their day or wind down their evening.  it’ll be an eclectic place, local art on the walls, a community bookshelf for the readers, funky tables and chairs that, although they do not sit quite level, are incredibly comfortable.

the staff will be warm and friendly, happy to have you in our shop and not irritated that you just had to stop by before that 10:00 a.m. meeting.  you’ll be able to bring your friends for a catch-up date but also spend alone time here as you read or write or people-watch.

is this a place you would come?  does it sound nice and inviting?  i hope so, because i keep my fingers crossed each time i stop for a cup that i’ll get to create that kind of space for my family and friends.