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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Yoga Shopping Coffee

Yesterday I started my day off right – yoga, shopping in West Hartford Center, and a coffee date with the lovely Amanda (and then more shopping)! We met up at It’s A Grind in Blue Back Square in West Hartford, CT.  We got a mocha for me and a tea for her in cups the size of our heads. Here is what I thought of their mocha latte:

Taste: 3

At first taste I thought they had mistakenly made me a vanilla latte instead of a mocha latte! Why does this taste so sweet? This ‘mocha’ was basically 90% milk and 10% coffee. I would have liked to taste more chocolate and more coffee, especially because this small cup of milk mocha latte set me back a whopping $3.40.

Appearance: 3

I am a sucker for BIG coffee cups. 1 point. I also appreciate it when a barista makes the extra effort to make my mocha look pretty – notice how the pretty steamed milk takes center stage. 1 point. And lastly, the simplicity  in the white cups plus the rich mocha colors compliment each other so well. 1 point. 🙂

Store Ambiance: 5

This place was busy. There was a great mix of people – students, parents, young adults – and a great mix of seating options – comfy couches, tables with chairs, and some sneaky tables in the way back. There was upbeat music playing softly in the background and there was lots of laughter to be heard. By the counter there was about a half dozen choices of flavored coffee that you can pump yourself. Basically, this is a place where I would have come to study if I went to school around here; however, I would probably have just ordered a regular coffee instead of a mocha.

  

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Connecticut

 

America Runs On…

On Thanksgiving Day I went to Dunkin’ Donuts on the Berlin Turnpike in CT. Now, as you may already know, I am more of a Starbucks gal than a Dunkin’ gal.  At Starbucks I believe the quality of ingredients is superior, their atmosphere is calmer, and there is a DIY bar full of milk, soy milk, and nutmeg (oh my!).  However, for the sake of research, I opted to try Dunkin’s mocha lattes on for size. Lucky for me I had a coupon for a free latte. Unlucky for me this was one of the grosest mocha latte’s I have ever encountered…

Taste: 1

I could not even finish this. It was like drinking chocolate syrup, the super sweet kind. Ugh, it was oh so sweet. If you ever want to try a mocha latte at Dunkin’ Donuts do yourself a favor and either ask for half the syrup or just do not order one.

Appearance: 1

This mocha was nothing special. I ordered my mocha in my standard fashion – for here cup, no whip cream. And that is exactly what I got… plus an extra cup of chocolate syrup. On another note, I promise I will keep trying to perfect my novice photography skills 🙂

Store Ambiance: 2

This place was empty. Granted it was Thanksgiving Day and people were not out for coffee, but this place was eerie quiet. The chairs look so uncomfortable I could not picture myself sitting here, mocha in hand, studying or reading.  Perhaps a big comfy chair would make this place more of a hang out than a drive through. I must commend DD for being so clean and colorful – not many people can pull off a pink-orange combo!

    

Are you more of a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts kind of person?

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Connecticut

 

We All Have Favorites

Over Halloween weekend in Boston I went straight to one of my favorite spots – Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, MA. Sofra serves up modern Eastern Mediterranean goodies and is the sister restaurant to Oleana, by faaah (Bostonian for ‘far’) my favorite restaurant in Cambridge (2nd best falafel I’ve had in the U.S.). And now I am drooling just thinking about that… focus, Kate! Ok, so not only was I lucky enough to dine at Sofra, I was also dining with my beautiful childhood friend Billie! Two for one! Here is what I thought of their mocha latte:

Taste: 7

While not as weirdly flavored as I had remembered, this mocha still has a little something different to it. Some smoky flavor! Some spicy something! Maybe it is their espresso… not sure what it is but the subtle differences make a big difference in this mocha quest! One way I knew this place was for me was when I ordered my mocha in a ‘for here’ cup with no whip cream and the woman behind the counter stated that they do not serve their mochas with whip cream! Finally, someone that understands me (hate whip cream on mochas!)

Appearance: 6

This mocha was kind of cute. Not sure if this was done on purpose (but assuming it was because this place is amazing) but my little mocha appears like a delicious piece of modern art. Perhaps some more obvious art might be better next time for a higher appearance rating.

Store Ambiance: 9

I need to start taking pictures of the stores! Sofra makes me feel like I have stepped out of Cambridge and back into Istanbul (‘Ikke kahve lutfen!’); the Persian rugs, the silver trey table tops, and the CROWDS really transport a girl. This store is tiny and seating is tough so you basically have to order your food then stalk every little table to see who will leave first. Not only can you eat and drink here, but there is a tiny refrigerator that holds lots of delicious treats made by Sofra and others that you can take to go. On top of all of this, Sofra is connected to a small wine shop of some sort. You can grab a mocha and browse the wine selection! I love the music, the feel, the decorations. I only wish this place was a little bit bigger to accommodate everyone.

  

Behind photo number 2 is a glimpse of Sofra’s heavenly selection of baked goodies! When you go you simply must try their chocolate hazelnut baklava with cocoa honey. I know.. sounds too good to be true.

Have you ever been to Sofra before? What do you think of this hidden little gem?

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Massachusetts

 

Salted Caramel

Last weekend I went to, yup you guessed it, Boston! In Boston I found myself needing a boost of energy after a day of shopping! I had been eyeing the new Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha and went to try one. As the impending winter snow/rain/wind/everything storm was beginning, I sought refuge at the Natick, MA Starbucks across from the Natick Collection. Here is what I thought of the mocha:

Taste: 5

This tasted… just like a regular mocha. Maybe a teeny bit different… I could taste the slightest hint of salt and caramel but only because I knew those flavors were in there. If someone had told me this was a regular mocha latte, I would not have believe that there were any other ingredients in the drink. And come to think of it, I am not sure I would like to drink a salted caramel mocha that predominantly tastes like salt and caramel. Lets save this combination for salted caramel chocolates! This drink was a good dollar more expensive than a regular mocha so I think I’ll stick to my usual order from now on.

Appearance: 4

Look at the pretty swirls! This little bit of effort says to me that someone cares about her job as a barista… or perhaps she is just a bored art student (or both?!) Either way, a little swirl is better than no swirl in my book. I like pretty things 🙂

Store Ambiance: 4

This store was packed with people! I liked how this Starbucks had one very large table with what appeared to be 6 strangers sharing a space. Other than this fun little extra, this Starbucks looked exactly like all of the other Starbucks – dark brown furniture, boring art on the walls, average music selection. It would be great if there was a local guitarist or perhaps a Barista walking around offering samples of drinks and food to people.

    

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Massachusetts