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  1. Funny, I had an Americano (a large comes with four shots - they use a California roaster with a multi-syllabic name beginning with "D") in Del Ray just two days ago, at the pleasant Emma's Espresso and Wine Bar. I didn't try any of the baked goods, but the Americano was very well made, served in a ginormous (that didn't activate the spell-check alert?) mug, and was quite a good cup of coffee. The first few moments of service were addled, but instantly rectified themselves, and the staff there was as pleasant as can be. They have free WiFi, and Emma's is well-worth a visit if you enjoy independent coffee houses. They own the entire house, right off Mount Vernon Avenue, so there's ample parking.
  2. http://www.thegreydog.com/ Had brunch at The Grey Dog this past weekend. If you haven't been before, you go you stand in line, you order, the guy finds a table for you, you sit they come find you with your food. We had sandwiches and etc here. I had the grilled asparagus tacos with egg whites and romesco sauce and a cute salad. The menu had your typical bar food, sandwiches, some brunch items, etc. It was a good place to grab a casual meal that was affordable. Not anything to go out of your way for though... But not bad.
  3. A week or two after opening, I just tried Azur -- the new restaurant from Frederik de Pue (of Table) in the Cafe Atlantico space. We love seafood and had high hopes. Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed. I'll give it a few months and try again. The space is very nice. They've taken the old Cafe Atlantico and installed a french coast / St. Barts style, with medium toned woods, whites, and blues. I think the space is lovely, but found the music unpleasant at times -- a lot of loud, techno-ish music (picture a too-trendy, french nightclub). To start, I had a nice wheat beer, and my guest has a cocktail. Her first attempt at a cocktail was supposed to contain wasabi vodka, black pepper vodka, tomato water, tobasco, and caviar. (Yes, the caviar seemed strange, and the $20 price tag was not justified by the very tiny bit of it on the garnish). The drink was very disappointing. There was no detectable trace of wasabi, pepper, or tobasco. It basically tasted like tomato water, vodka, and fish (presumably from the caviar?). Bland and in need of salt. Upon asking the waitress if perhaps an ingredient was mistakenly omitted, my guest was offered a different drink and got a version of a bees knees that was pretty good. To start: We ordered a tile fish crudo with black lime, pickled cilantro, avocado, white asparagus, and espelette. The lime, espellette, and little blossoms not identified on the menu had nice flavor. But the crudo tasted a bit fishy (presumably not as fresh as a crudo needs to be, although I'm not familiar enough with tile fish to be sure). The avocado was turned into a paste that reminded me of guacamole though needing more flavor. We also had oyster croquettes with black truffle, micro celery, and old bay aioli. The truffle/celery combo was nice. But the croquettes themselves were a bit soggy and overbreaded. For entrees we had scallops with asparagus, pine nut purée, grapefruit sections, puffed red quinoa. The dish sounded very interesting, but I didn't really get how these flavors went together. The puffed quinoa provided nice texture. The scallops were underseasoned (or even unseasoned). We also had tubot with hakurie turnips, celery, grapes, broccoli, and roasted almond espuma. Here I understood the flavor combination (more or less). The turbot was cooked beautifully, well seasoned, and had great flavor. The accompaniments were a mixed bad. The almond espuma was great, and we remarked that we would have preffered a big layer of it rather than just a little dollop on the side. The grapes added nice bursts of sweetness. Some of the vegetables were a bit bland. The turnips, for example, desperately needed salt and acid. The celery and broccoli were a bit better. The best food, by far, was dessert. We had honeyed grapefruit with brown sugar meringue and prosecco granite. The genius of the dish was an ingredient not listed on the menu -- a chiffande of basil. We loved the savory basil flavor against the sweet but cold granite, the firmer meringue, and the softer fruit. The even better dessert was a "strawberry mint salad" with puff pastry crisps and balsamic gelato. The highlight here was the balsamic gelato -- terrific. The strawberries were solid, though had only a tiny bit of mint on it, so the dish was probably not well named. There was also an undescribed cream between the puff pastry crisps. Although the desserts were good, none of the four savory items were standouts, and three had noticeable flaws. I like the space and concept, and I'm really hoping the place hits its stride.
  4. Have you tried the espresso at Misha's? I am not a big coffee person, but didn't see it on your list.
  5. Open only since September, Kafe Bohem (KB) totally deserves its own topic here on dr.com. I begin with this just because there already is a topic for the associated restaurant, Bistro Bohem, which is under the same ownership and shares a wall. Coffee shops are culturally rich for many reasons and this is just one part of their attraction. Most obvious is the coffee/product. We discuss that alot here on the site. Sometimes other beverages or foods. The venue itself. The historical or regional background of the owners or guiding philosophy, including (but definitely not limited to) the various policies in place guiding everything from laptop usage to whether a small glass of water is served with an espresso. And, as important as anything else, the people who frequent the shop. Why start out a topic with the stuff above? Because just when I find myself slipping down the slope of believing we may be approaching coffee shop saturation in DC soon, I come across something that makes me realize the silliness of that notion. We're not even close. HEADLINE A wonderful place to sip, munch, work or talk, all packaged in a way fundamentally different from the many other great coffee shop spots in Washington, DC. VENUE Kafe Bohem is located in Ledroit Park right where Florida, 6th and T (all NW) converge. The coffee preparation area and checkout are on the left at the entrance and are relatively small relative to the generous amount of square footage devoted to smaller and larger tables. The amount of space (and thus ease of getting a place to sit, talk or work) rivals anything in the city. And, when you also add the 40 or so seats in the restaurant (also available to cafe patrons during the day), this is about as spacious as it gets with maybe only Coffy Kafe in Columbia Heights close on a pure square footage basis. The cafe has a a darker (but not dark) feel befitting its eastern European orientation. Dark woods, exposed brick, beautifully darker stained wood floors. Outlets have been thoughtfully located to allow connection from most any cafe table. Free encryptied wifi. While the password is printed on the bottom of any receipt, seems now that they may be using an unchanging phone number :-) While there's a definite seriousness to the coffee and baking (more on that to follow), there's a professional and capable casualness to the service and general vibe. Music nicely completes the feeling of tranquil third-placedness without at all being too loud or interfering with conversation in any way. COFFEE KB's coffee program is exclusively based on Julius Meinl coffees. Julius Meinl is a 150-year-old coffee purveyor from central Europe, headquartered in Vienna. Their US presence is new and limited with three Julius Meinl shops in Chicago and, as far as I know, just Kafe Bohem representing them here. The coffees are of high quality and sourced from the familiar regions in Africa and Latin America. As notable, roasting for the US market is done in Chicago so no issues with freshness. Consistent with German/Austrian thinking on coffee, coffee drinks are made with medium roasted and not dark beans. The latter are used for espresso. I had a "Melange Viennese" which, at KB, is identical to a wet cappuccino. Different from how some define the drink in Europe, where it can also be called a Wiener Melange and made with coffee in addition to the espresso and milk or foam. More on that for coffee geeks here. My capp was very nicely made with perfect balance of milk to espresso and served very warm to barely hot (versus scalding). A pour-over bar is planned and well underway and will feature single origin coffees. I was told this should reach fruition by the end of the year. By the looks of things, they seem to have a good variety of quality looseleaf teas on offer as well. PASTRIES Simply stated, the pastries here are better than those I've had or seen at any other coffee shop in the area. I didn't ask about the baker or learn more about what they're doing but, based on a wonderfully fresh, flaky and moist apple streudel and a surprisingly generous (maybe 1.75 inches thick) slice of apple cake which also managed to be very light, someone here knows what they're doing. BOTTOM LINE Kafe Bohem is a wonderful addition to the DC coffee/cafe scene, proving there's still much that can be innovated and enriched when it comes to places to get a cup to run, hang or something else. I've never tried the restaurant but, based on this visit to the cafe, will soon. If you like good coffee and/or are looking for a good place to connect with someone or get some work done, you can't do too much better than coming to Ledroit Park for KB.
  6. Independent, super hip spot serving all things Stumptown and little else. This is one of the more buzzed-about independent coffee temples in ultra-hip Williamsburg. Nice hipster barista dudes. While hands down way better than chains and serving excellent stumptown coffees, not as engaging as some other spots with less choice of beans, no pour over option, and no real foods or baked goods. And, a vibe making no apologies for any of that. But, if you want to have a doppio and be very chic doing it when across the river, this is the spot for you.
  7. Culture Espresso is a single location, midtown-based, very high-quality, coffee shop staffed by friendly hipsters. I know, contradiction in terms: friendly NY hipsters. Address: 72 W. 38th St Go figure. Among a sea of Starbucks in the coffee desert of Midtown is an oasis called Culture Espresso. Small shop with super beans rotated frequently. All the majors: Intelligentsia, Counter Culture. Stumptown, etc. Pour overs and a focused menu. We were told 3 or 4 different espresso roasts per week. Probably reminds me most of Filter in DC but even smaller than Filter. Also, unlike Filter, Culture allegedly has some excellent baked goods including some supposedly life-changing donuts from a Brooklyn producer called "Dough." Allegedly and supposedly because, since we tried it late in the day, they were out of nearly all the baked goods. American owned but the opening manager was Australian, which is why they have an excellent flat white on the menu. The cortado is one of the better ones I've had outside Argentina. Most amazing given the general New Yorker stereotype, the dudes working this place are both seriously knowledgeable and genuinely nice. We ordered a double espresso which came out at maybe an ounce or ounce and a half because it was a properly made double ristretto shot. When we asked about this, they immediately offered to pull another one for us without charge. Huh? In NY? When they did nothing wrong??? I'm sooo confused...in the best of ways. We didn't take them up on the offer. Wouldn't have been right. But damn fine joe made expertly in a part of the city not especially known for this.
  8. You really need to visit the Java Shack. Small shop. Independent owner. Good coffee. Friendly staff. Green practices. Strong community involvement. What's not to love? I drive past a Starbucks at 1/2 the distance at least 5 or 6 times a week to get to this place. It is exactly the type of business I like to support.
  9. I'm surprised there hasn't been a thread for Caribou before. They just started using Guittard chocolate to make their hot chocolate and mochas. I got a dark chocolate mocha this morning, and it is incredibly rich and tasty. You also have the option to get milk or white chocolate, and the medium is only $2 on Mondays. This is pretty amazing given that their previous hot chocolate tasted and looked like muddy water.
  10. Northern Virginia Magazine reports on Liberty Tavern's plan for the old Murky Coffee space: Chef Liam LaCivita will oversee the kitchen. The article also has info on their new restaurant, Lyon Hall.
  11. I really like the espresso at Big Bear Cafe, although I mostly drink it as a machiato. It is Counter Culture Coffee, same roaster as Murky's. First and R Street NW. My favorite coffeehouse in DC. Simple, friendly place -- dark wood interior, LOOOONG espresso bar, huge windows, good sandwiches.
  12. Highland Origins a newly opened coffee place across the street from Addis Ababa. They seem to specialize in Ethiopian coffees (no surprise there) and have free WiFi. I had a pretty good drip coffee today.
  13. Buzz officially opened its doors this morning at 6 AM. The cupcakes, chocolate bombs and pies look amazing in their shiney new cases, and the morning pastries were hard to resist! I'm looking forward to several morning stops in on my way to work (even if it's not on my way). The shop is open every night until midnight. If you don't want to make dessert for Thursday, stop by and pick something up (or call & place an order!). The website is www.buzzonslaters.com.
  14. Metropolitan Coffee House and Wine Bar is great. Federal Hill, not Inner Harbor, but close by. Casual, coffee shop atmosphere, but nice friendly spot with good breakfast foods. 902 South Charles at Henrietta.
  15. I made my second visit to Busboys and Poets tonight. I foresee more visits for many reasons and for different occasions--just like what the owners must have thought of when he opened this place. Conveniently located in my neighborhood (14th and V), this is a place for: (1) food: i am so glad to see decently priced and well-prepared food in the neighborhood where all things on the new-and-hip U St. are expensive regardless of the quality (think of Alero). All under 10, the chicken pizza w/ mushrooms, spinach, and roasted red peppers would shoulder next to pies at Coppi's, and the spinach salad w/ grapes-covered-in-goat-cheese-and-rolled-in-crusted-candied-walnuts was definitley memorable. I saw juicy-looking burgers, golden catfish, and more pizzas passing by me, and all looked pretty delicious. (2) drinks: The beer selection is pretty large - both tap and bottled: tap including magic hat #9, magic hat hocus pocus, delirium tremmens, amstel light, and two local microbrews. I can't remember too well, but it had a mixed bag of domestic and imported (one German and one French) bottles. There is also a full bar + wine. It's a nice to see this place continuing the trend in the neighborhood where bars offer a wide and interesting beer selection (e.g., the saloon, saint ex, and bohemian cavern). and (3) couches + wireless: this place is huge, airy, and full of couches and a handful of work tables. When are they going to start brunch on weekends? I can't wait to swing by with a book and grab a cup of coffee and a croissant. I sense that Busboys and Poets will become the U Street's Tryst (there were definitely a bunch of people w/ books and lap tops among diners). Anyone else who checked out this new spot?
  16. Driving home this evening, I spied a place just off Georgia Ave in Silver Spring on Bonifant called Gelato! (Yes, the exlamation point is part of the name) I've either been napping every time we pass by this place, or it is relatively new. Not even sure if it's open yet--anyone know anything about it? Good, bad, indifferent? Feel free to add to the list other places that you've spotted and may be wondering about...
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