Coffee Lovers and Stocking Stuffers

Well, we’re here. We’ve made it deep into the holiday season, and halfway through our cheap, chocolate filled advent calendars. If you’re like me, you’re still (stressfully) shopping for the people on your list. Bearing that in mind, I give you my final 2016 holiday gift guide! This one covers your coffee lovers and your stocking stuffers. Enjoy!

FOR THE ALWAYS-CAFFEINATED

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Just like last year, I’m obsessed with the idea of coffee being delivered straight to my mailbox (instead of realizing I’m out at 6am and pouting for 10 minutes before I settle for a cup of old tea). Coffee subscription boxes allow you to try different beans from all over the country, and sometimes from all over the world.

Driftaway Coffee is a customized coffee subscription service that bases their selections for you on your given flavor profile preferences. First, they send you a box FULL of different kinds of beans (my favorite so far is the Brazil. SERIOUSLY one of the best coffees I’ve ever had). Once you’ve had a chance to try them all, you enter what you liked and didn’t to the Driftaway app. From there on out, the beans you receive will be chosen by the experts at Driftaway based on what they think will perk you up the most, allowing you to discover new beans and roasts that you never knew about before.

Learn more here!

Of course, it’s not just what you brew, it’s how you brew it! I like to keep it simple with my coffee setup, but also enjoy experimenting with new brew methods.

  • Bodum Pourover Set — I saw this at Target the other day and freaked out! This pourover set up is a) aesthetically pleasing and b) has a built in filter. HELLO. This is great for your friends who are having trouble coming to terms with their strained relationship with Mr. Coffee.
  • Hario Skerton Coffee Mill — This hand grinder allows the brewer to have ultimate control over the grind of their beans, while also getting a sufficient bicep workout. Probably best for the experienced coffee drinker, and not your friend’s mom who is going to mistake this for a ~ swanky pepper grinder ~
  • Bodum Travel Press — ALERT ALERT! YOU CAN NOW MAKE A FRENCH PRESS WHILE YOU TRAVEL. Easiest decision you’ve made all day.
  • Aeropress Coffee Maker — This simple piece of brewing equipment has completely changed the game for my At Home Coffee Routine. The coffee produced by an aeropress is clean, and full of flavor. It also takes less than 5 minutes (if your water is hot) and you’ll look really cool prepping it in your office’s kitchen. Seriously, do recommend.

    [Also the aeropress kit literally comes with everything you need to brew, with the exception of beans. Have I sold you yet?]

  • Turkish Coffee PotWatch this video and then tell me* you don’t have a hip, home-barista friend who doesn’t need this in their life.

*ADMITTEDLY  I’ve never had Turkish coffee, but I hear that it’s some of the most aromatic and richly flavored around. PLUS THE POT IS COPPER!! Who doesn’t love copper in the kitchen?


Looking for something small and (possibly) snackable?

See below for my compilation of food-and-drink-centric stocking stuffers, all produced by small businesses and local makers from across the U.S.!

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And that wraps it up for holiday gift guides! I hope that everyone has had a fabulous holiday season so far, and that it only continues to be great.

SO looking forward for what’s to come in 2017 (and what’s to enter my stomach).

For the Craft Beer/Cocktail Companion — A Gift Guide

As a kid, I loved crafts. I truly couldn’t get enough of popsicle sticks that were dripping with Elmer’s white, runny glue and glitter. There was so much potential. So much whimsy.

It turns out that as an adult I continue to foster a love for crafts: craft beer, craft coffee, and craft cocktails, for instance. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. I, like many of my friends (and yours, I’m sure), aspire to have a flourishing home bar with many tools and trinkets and bottles to boot.

Giving gifts to craft beer and cocktail lovers doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some of my recommendations:

Let’s start with some literature, shall we?

  • The Complete Beer Course – Do I need to type a description here? I think the cover saison you need to know (that was a bad beer pun).
  • The Canon Cocktail Book – Canon is one of the BEST bars in Seattle, not to mention the U.S., and they’ve just put out a cocktail recipe book! If you want to step up your game then THIS is the way to do it.
  • The 12 Bottle Bar – Buy this book and make a night of it! Stock the bar. Learn to make cocktails. This is a great pick for those people in your life who are bound and determined to get into home bartending but juuuuuust haven’t found the time to start yet. (Spoiler alert, the time is now.)

[Side note: this book is great because it not only teaches you about the basics of a home bar, but also how to maximize those basics. My boyfriend and I have been making our way through it this year and it’s been awesome!]

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Another good place to start with gift giving is with the essentials, and for a home bar, bar tools are just that. Whether you are giving to someone who is looking to beef up their tool kit or perhaps someone who wants upgrade their collection with pieces that have more personality and pizazz, there are a lot of options out there and plenty of places to look.

Specific individual tools could include:

  • A muddler (customize it!)
  • A strainer for a cocktail shaker
  • Jiggers
  • Bottle openers
  • Etc.

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Beer Brewing Kit from Midwest Supplies

Home brewing is America’s new favorite hobby, but how does your Lager-loving dad get started? With a beer brewing kit of course! While I’m not an expert in the topic  THESE GUYS are and they can help you find the kit you need. [Pictured above is their top recommendation for a beginner].

For both the traditional and adventurous mixologists in your life, bitters make great gifts and also great stocking stuffers. What even are bitters? Bitters have a lot of purposes, but for the sake of this post: Bitters are punchy, flavorful liquids that are made from herb/botanicals. Just a few drops can drastically change the taste of anything they are added to. For example, and Old Fashioned would not be an Old Fashioned without bitters (Angostura, to get specific).

These from Scrappy’s, a Seattle brand, are some of my favorites. [Their website is down right now, but just do a quick internet search for “Scrappy’s Bitters” and you should find what you need]

And finally, a few trusty gifts for the ones in your life who just like to kick it with a cocktail in hand. Any of these will be phenomenal additions to that stylish new bar cart:

  • Cocktail Shakers* – These are everywhere, for everyone.
  • Unique barware* – Cocktail glasses come in many shapes in sizes, but all serving the same purpose: to make your drink taste its best. They also come in many different patterns, colors, and with different metallic rims (did somebody say rose gold?). Think about which cocktails are most popular with your buddies and start with some glasses made just for that.
  • Cool coasters* – Guys, where there’s a drink there’s a risk for a cup ring! Coasters, obvi. Everybody needs more coasters (especially cool ones).
  • Interesting ice molds – Ice plays a huge role in the cocktail world. The shape and cut of ice can determine the way a drink tastes, looks, and lasts. Molds are available in traditional shapes as well as quirky shapes—like Death Stars — and even in kits that allow you to manipulate the ice into whatever form you need.[While the kit above seems a little bit superfluous, I think we all know that we have a friend who will be MAJORLY STOKED on it. The crew at Wired seems to think so, too.][Why didn’t you include any of those trendy stones? While the stones and rocks available are less likely to dilute your drink, my friends have found that they are also less likely to get as cold as you might like.]
  • Decanter* – Because bar carts look even cooler when the booze is on display in sleek glass bottles. These are great for liquor or wine (see, I haven’t ENTIRELY neglected the winos).
  • Import booze from abroad — Maybe it’s the specialty of a country that your person is dying to visit, or maybe it’s from their old home town. Either way this is a thoughtful option and your friend will appreciate it (and likely get a good, heartwarming buzz courtesy of you.)

*Go vintage! A lot of this stuff is easy to find at thrift stores and online. Hot tip: search for “MidCentury Barware” on Etsy and feel your heart take flight.

None of these are givin’ you that post-cocktail buzz? Why not plan a cocktail bar crawl in your city or a city near by?  Or maybe find a cocktail class to take with a friend? Like I’ve said before, some people would rather receive an experience than a gift. Have a drink and think on it.


That does it for this gift guide! I’ve got one more up my sleeve and that one is a little more high energy (spoilers: it’s coffee-centric!).

If you’re still having trouble thinking of a gift, I am totally game to help you brainstorm. Shoot me a comment or an email and we can figure it out together.

Happy Holidays!

Consume | Austin•TX (Food + Drinks Want-To-Do List)

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If I let my mind wander to Austin it skips the plane ride completely and instead takes a shortcut right through my insatiable appetite for all things Tex-Mex. I imagine the types of Taco-centric lunches I’d indulge in; what kind of spicy mimosa I might stumble across on a brunch menu; and how long my eyes would be closed during my first bite of Texas BBQ.

Eating and trying new things is a part of traveling that really deepens the experience, and while I’ve never been to Austin before you better believe that I have a list that I’ve started compiling for when I get the chance to go. It covers all the bases from morning to night and even a little snacking in between. Check it out:

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And after all that I’m just here at a coffee bar eating a cold chocolate pastry and dreaming of doughnuts…

If you have any suggestions for Austin please let me know in a comment or email!

Speak to you soon,

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Metropole | Cincinnati Ohio City Guide

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While I was in Cincinnati last weekend I had the opportunity to try out a lot of new food and drinks. By far my favorite restaurant that we visited (and the only one we went to more than once) was Metropole. Metropole is located inside the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.

Conde Naste Traveler Readers Choice Awards put  21c in Cincy as the number one hotel in the US right now (and 11th in the WORLD), so needless to say I was anxious to pay it a visit. The building is in the art district of downtown, next to the Contemporary Arts Center and adjacent to the Aronoff Center for the Arts, and used to house the Metropole Hotel which opened in 1924. The hotel doubles as an art gallery and houses rotating exhibits on several of its floors. So cool.

Walking in I immediately knew we were in another one of Cincinnati’s restored 1920’s buildings by the mesmerizing terrazzo tile flooring and colorfully carpeted spiral staircase that corkscrews through the center of the hotel. Though I didn’t see one of the rooms, I can only imagine how fantastic they are.

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The restaurant in the hotel, keeping the namesake of the landmark, was just as spectacular. Natural light poured through the arch-framed windows and spilled onto the dark wooden table tops and illuminated the golden, bell jar lanterns hanging from the ceiling. We went for brunch and menu was simple, but the flavor profiles were incredibly interesting and the dish presentation was immaculately executed. We went for the olive oil poached tuna, avocado toast and the burnt carrot salad.

Spoiler alert: we had to keep taking pauses during lunch to talk about how good everything was. Or to just exclaim, “YUM,” or just  “MMMM.”

But onto more important things: the cocktail menu. Not only was the food exquisite, but the cocktails are what we returned for in the evening. I tried the Phil Collins and the Annie Hall (both Bulleit bourbon based), and also had a sip of the Vespa (gin+vodka with a hint of cucumber and lavender). The Phil Collins was my favorite. Must have been the notes of cilantro or the guava bitters. I wish I could drink one every day (without having a problem).

If you’re in Cincinnati I definitely recommend checking 21c/Metropole out. Not only is it an award winning hotel, but Metropole just won best restaurant in Cincy as well. Get going!

I’ve got so many more photos/places to share, but it wanted to break it down into digestible bits. Be on the lookout for more.

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Sunday Brunch | Sangria Edition

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via: AnthropologieKitchen TreatyDesign Sponge • not pictured: Smokey Beer Sangrita via Stir and Strain

In the spirit of returning from Spain (and needing a break from photo editing) I’ve been hunting down Sangria recipes to help me: a) continue pretending I’m seaside in Barcelona and b) survive through the hot summer months ahead. Sangria is a refreshing treat that can be as sweet, fruity or tart as you like it. You can make it with red or white wine, or pretend you’re still 10 and at a soda machine and mix them both together at once (note: that makes me nervous, but hey wine not.)

Spain photo diary continues soon! Get excited about a new playlist this week too.

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Nashville Guide: 12th Ave. South (Eats & Drinks)

12Smap_2HELPFUL INFOOne thing I can say, with confidence, about Nashville is that there is no shortage of places to get amazing food and drinks (beer, coffee, cocktails–everything). Another thing I can say with confidence is that there are a lot of different neighborhoods; trying to compress all of the them into one city guide would’ve been an overwhelming whirlwind that you never would’ve forgiven me for, so instead I opted to break things down into more digestible bits.

You can take that entire last sentence as a pun, and I won’t be mad about it.

I wasn’t really sure where to start with this tour-de-food, so I opted for my own neighborhood of 12 South. This area is located super near to Belmont University and Vanderbilt, and is about a five minute drive from downtown. I feel like every time I walk down the street there is a new restaurant, coffee shop or food truck parked on a corner that I didn’t notice the day before, and you don’t even need to think twice about if it’s going to be good. It just is.

Something cool about this street in particular is that there is such a wide variety of styles and types of cuisines. From Lebanese to pizza to BBQ–it would take a damn picky eater to not find something that made their stomach grumble. Most of the restaurants around here thrive on being farm-to-table, a lot of the product being sourced locally, and you can definitely taste the difference.

12 South feels a lot like the show Cheers–feeling at home usually only takes about one visit. Don’t be surprised if your second time around people already remember your name.

Unless it’s because you did something shameful. (We’ve all been there.)

 

Speak to you soon

 

 

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