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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Cupcakes and Coffee

What are your New York City ‘must do’s’?  A Broadway show?  Central Park?  Favorite restaurant?  All of the above? One of my new must do’s is to stop at Crumbs Bake Shop for a delicious cupcake. Last weekend in the city with my lovely friend (and best 4th grade teacher!) Andrea, we stopped at Crumbs near Grand Central (420 Lexington Ave) for cupcakes and coffee; a mocha for me and a skinny 3 pump iced latte something or other for Ange.  After trying their mocha latte’s, I have decided I will only stick to their cupcakes from now on. Here’s the skinny:

Taste: 5

Another mocha that tastes like hot chocolate. Blaachh!  I want to taste the espresso, people!  I’m starting to reconsider my mocha order – perhaps go with reduced fat milk instead of my usual order of whole milk.  I have found that I taste more milk than anything in my mochas, so perhaps opting for a lower fat milk might make the taste more equal – equal parts milk, chocolate, and espresso. Or maybe try a mocha cappuccino instead of a latte?? I just wish Crumbs used a better quality, more bitter chocolate for their coffee drinks.

Appearance: 3

I can make a mocha latte look like this!  Obviously coffee drinks are not a priority at Crumbs.  I give it a 3 because it looks warm and inviting, the white cup brings out rich mocha color, and the was no spilling around the sides of the cup <— yes a clean cup is worthy of one appearance point! Again, ugh, forgot to bring my travel mug with me.  Sorry Earth!

Ambiance:  4

Besides me and Andrea there was only a handful of people, all of whom looked at me like a crazy person as I did my mocha photoshoot.  I got a quiet and serious vibe from this Crumbs.  Yes there are tables and chairs but no there really were not many people sitting and enjoying their coffees.  I would have loved to hear some uplifting music, see some comfy chairs, and even taste some samples of their delicious cupcakes.  I suppose Crumbs is more of a grab and go cupcake shop.

Have you been to Crumbs?  What is your favorite cupcake?

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in New York

 

Studious

Ahhh Yale.  I feel instantly smarter (and more stressed) when I walk around the Yale campus.  Last week I met up with a fabulous friend who goes to Yale and she had a few coffee shop recommendations.  We stopped for a mocha (a skim latte for Altair) at Blue State Coffee in New Haven, CT.  Very ‘me’ in some ways.  Here’s why:

Taste:  4

Hello bitterness! I cannot remember a time where I tried a mocha and thought to myself: ‘Wow this thing needs some sugar!”  It was like drinking baking chocolate, you know, the extremely bitter kind you just don’t eat? Well I was so wrapped up in our conversation that I forgot to grab some sugar; by the time I had finished my ‘mocha’ I had already developed a stomach ache.  Perhaps you might want to try some sweeter cocoa next time, Blue State!

Appearance:  4

Well I was disappointed in how plain this mocha looks! Especially because the stranger sitting near us had a beauuutiful design on her coffee concoction! Hmmpf.  Major points lost for inconsistency with steamed milk designs.  I’ll give the presentation a few points here because I love how the white cup brings out the mocha color. AND a cup and saucer pairing makes any coffee drink taste better 🙂

Store Ambiance:  8

YES this is a great place to study, people watch, and catch up with friends.  Lively classic music at a perfect volume, framed Polaroid photos lining the tan walls, and lots of space.  There were people of all ages sitting at tables and chairs and on big comfy leather couches.  This place was totally packed, but it is large enough for everyone to eventually secure a seat.  Blue State also has a great community board with a list of all the goings-on around town – I love that.  AND last but not least they use locally made dairy products and have a bunch of cafe-esque food options (chocolate croissant anyone?) If I had to make any recommendations for how to improve it would have to be some cooler tables and lights; just too bland for my taste.  Other than this, I recommend Blue State to anyone 🙂

MAJOR brownie points for being good to our Earth 🙂

What is your favorite New Haven java place?

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Connecticut

 

Whole

I think I could live at Whole Foods.  It makes me so happy to walk around the store and sample see all the good-for-you goodies.  Just yesterday I went to Whole Foods in West Hartford, CT to grab a dark chocolate mocha. Full disclaimer: I love this store.  While going into this edition of my mocha research with such a bias may not be fair, I simply can’t help myself.

Taste: 6

A DARK chocolate mocha? Why don’t they have this option everywhere? As a matter of fact, replacing dark chocolate for milk chocolate in any coffee shop is a sure way to boost sales!  There’s got to be some research done on this somewhere… I digress.  So I could taste almost equal parts espresso – cocoa – and milk, and I like this; however, it was almost like the milk and chocolate taste took up 80% of the flavor. I wish I could have tasted more of the espresso.

Appearance: 4

Aww Whole Foods I suppose you can’t be the best at everything.  This mocha does look warm and inviting, but it simply does not compare to the artsy mochas I have tried in Boston and NYC.  It might have looked nicer if there was some whip cream on top but I am a strict ‘no whip’ gal when it comes to my mochas.  Also, as some of you might notice, I am drinking out of a ‘to go’ cup.  Ughh, I’m sorry Earth.

 

Store Ambiance: 6

As I previously mentioned, I love this store.  Great vibes, great food, great selection.  Rarely do I ever check out the architecture or the decorations at Whole Foods, but this time I happened to stop and look around.  I was somewhat disappointed with how wharehouse-y this place looks – every wire and beam is exposed, all red and light wood. It would have been great to see some local anything in this place – a big community board, some art, some cooking demonstrations.  Who am I kidding, I still wish I could live here 🙂

Took my mocha and my new Iraqi hand bag out for a walk!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Connecticut

 

Bourbon… It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

What says Happy New Years quite like a beautiful mocha latte? Not much 🙂 With the spirit of the new year, I am making a Del Mocha Vista resolution: I will have a once monthly guest sample a mocha and document his/her review right here for your viewing pleasure!

But for now, allow me.  I tried my first 2012 mocha in Cambridge, MA at a new coffee shop in Porter Square called Bourbon.  This place just opened in December 2011 and of all places it is located in the same building as my old graduate school! If only they had opened this great little spot a few years ago… Here is my review:

Taste: 4

Oooh this was a bit too sweet for my taste. The added chocolate syrup on top of the mocha gave every sip an extra dose of sweetness.  I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that this place is brand new and they have a few kinks that need to be worked out… in particular, their choice of cocoa. I would have loved to taste more espresso and a bitterrer (it’s a word now) chocolate.

Appearance: 6

How cute is this little spider web? I so appreciate the barista’s efforts. He put a lot of time into creating this unique design.  This design is easy enough for anyone to do, thus the 6 rating (difficulty is low). Perhaps placing a steamed milk spider in the web might be worth aspiring to…

Store Ambiance: 6

This place is beautifully designed – modern, dark wood, metal appliances, rich colors, stone accents; I semi want this place to be my house.  There were only a few groups of people studying in this massive coffee shop.  I found it hard to get a ‘vibe’.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Pier 1, but when you furnish an entire store with their decorations it makes me think a little less of an organization.  This is Cambridge, people! Get artsy!

Me enjoying my mocha!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Massachusetts