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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Lulu’s Coffee

My favorite place to study in CT has got to be on Yale’s campus. I immediately feel more studious and somehow can concentrate longer than ever! I have always been one to study best in a noisy coffee shop.  I find that the surrounding noises center me, whereas studying in a quiet library leaves me looking for distractions.

Walk by any great coffee shop in New Haven and you’re bound to find an eccentric mix of students and professors typing essays, grading papers, or engaging in a heated debate over the ethics, technology, and the environment ( 😉 ). Yet at Lulu’s Coffee on Cottage St it is only conversation you will see; the owner, Lulu deCarrone, has banned laptops and Wifi from her shop. With upwards of four tables, this tiny shop is always busy and great for people watching.  Just don’t drink the mocha.  http://luluscoffee.com/

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Taste: 3

There was some young college student preparing my drinks. I hear the coffee tastes better when prepared by Lulu. Lets hope that’s true because my mocha latte was nothing special. It tasted more like watery chocolate syrup. It would have been better if you could actually taste all three ingredients. I was pleased to see that Lulu’s uses local ingredients, including The Farmer’s Cow milk prepared right in Lebanon, CT! I happened to try a cup of the Lulu’s blend coffee on another trip and I have to say this was much better than the mocha.

Appearance: 1

The OED defines aesthetic as: “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.” It’s like they don’t care about aesthetics at Lulu’s. My mocha maker did not even attempt any latte art. And I don’t need latte art necessarily, but at least prepare a decent tasting mocha. Plus, do they even have ‘for here’ cups and saucers? I for one do not recall being asked if I wanted a ‘for here’ cup. If Lulu’s is so adamant about no laptops in an effort to boost community and face-to-face communication, why is their default a to go cup?

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Ambiance: 5

Nestled among the quiet homes on Cottage St stands Lulu’s. I would have walked right by this place had I not been strolling with a trusty guide. I prefer buying most anything from an independently owned shop, trying to support local business. Lulu’s bans computers, so don’t come here to type a paper. There is outdoor seating during the warmer months but I’m not sure if you can get away with using your laptop outside. Either way, I’m on board with this policy. If you can find a seat inside, you’ll feel as though you’re at some B&B, or having coffee in a friend’s kitchen. The menu is small but it includes some small cafe staples, including coffee, tea, sandwiches, and pastries. There was a great mix of locals when we stopped in, some reading a newspaper and some grabbing a treat after a soccer game. I am eager to try some of the treats at Lulu’s and encourage you to do the same next time you’re walking around Yale.

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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Connecticut

 

Dollop

My good friend Betsy has been on my mind recently. Betsy and I met in grad school, and she stayed in Boston after we graduated while I moved away. When I would visit Boston, I loved staying with Betsy for so many reasons, but one reason in particular was her coffee.  The gal knows the importance of being a gracious hostess, of making a strong cup of coffee for her guests.  Betsy recently relocated to Chicago, and I was lucky enough to see both Betsy and our lovely mutual friend Sarah during a trip to Chicago earlier this Spring. Betsy was kind enough to host us and play tour guide, so thanks to Bets, I was fortunate enough to try a mocha at Dollop. Dollop is a beautiful coffee shop located in downtown Chicago on E Ohio St.  I knew this place would be good when I walked in; we had Lauryn Hill playing in the background, and in the foreground stood bags of Q’s Nuts for sale (Q’s is made in my old home town of Somerville, MA!).  http://www.dollopstreeterville.com/

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Taste: 5

As always, I opted for the regular mocha latte; however, the list below indicates only a few of the more lively mocha choices. My friend Sarah tried the Mexican Mocha, which was far better than mine. But let me tell you about my mocha. I tasted mostly the espresso and the milk flavors, while the cocoa flavors emerged during the last two sips only. From experience, I should have known to stir the mocha if the first ten few sips taste more like a latte than a mocha. While this mocha lacked a flavorful balance of the three ingredients, I could have very well asked for a spoon to evenly distribute the three.

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Appearance: 7

The mocha glowed a rich espresso color, in perfect harmony with that of the steamed milk. The mocha to the right is mine, to the left is Sarah’s. I love how crisp and clean the cup/saucer look, especially as it relates to deep color of the mocha. This contrast in colors brings out the richness of my mocha as well as the mocha-art-heart in the middle. I wish this was served with a spoon, but we just established that I need to get better at remembering to both ask for a spoon and use it when my mocha tastes not of cocoa.

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Ambiance: 7

Dollop is so aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I walked in and was WOWed by the natural light; we are talking floor to ceiling windows. Despite the minimalist decor, Dollop felt quite comfortable. Betsy, Sarah, and I located some couches and made ourselves at home. The variety of seating options was impressive, ranging from cozy leather chairs to community tables. The vibe was lively, with a mixed crowd of business men in a meeting, students studying, and women reading on the e-readers. Lauryn Hill seamed to be on repeat, which was fine by me. I particularly enjoyed the eye catching wall art, some of which is captured in the below picture (Hi Sarah!). I was most impressed with the educational materials floating around Dollop, including the photo that shows four distinct ways of brewing coffee. A bit more color throughout Dollop would have been nice; but perhaps, much like the stark white cup/saucer, Dollop strives to be free from ostentation, and lets the quality speak for itself.

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IMG_0314 St Paddy’s Day in Chicago!

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Illinois