It has been well established on this blog (and my Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram…) that I am a huge “Gilmore Girls” fan. And this past weekend, my mom and I got to partake in something pretty special: the Gilmore … Continue reading
Well, it’s been a long time.
As to be expected, life started interfering with this little ol’ blog around a year ago. And when I say life, I mean the sheer amount of grading I was dealing with on a daily basis. And while I still have a whole lot of grading to deal with on a daily basis, I have managed to discover a slightly better work-life balance over the past year. I’ve figured out how to make time to read (for pleasure), to see friends on a regular basis, and to basically take some “me” time. (And, of course, I continue to have the time to watch the 130454234 shows I’m usually watching on a regular basis, which I always made time for. Priorities, y’all.)
Anyway, to get to the point, I’ve been feeling the urge to write lately. Ever since getting my MFA two years ago, this urge comes and goes in waves. Not being “required” to write for workshops anymore is a double-edged sword: on one hand, I don’t have to pressure myself to finish a story in time for others to read it. And then, on the other hand, I don’t have the pressure of needing to finish a story in time for others to read it…in other words, I have discovered that I seem to operate well under pressure. (Cue Queen.) This doesn’t come as too much of a shock, as most everything else in life that I consider myself successful in involves pressure in some way. I grade on a schedule because my students need their papers back. I run on a weekly basis in order to do well in whatever race I’ve signed myself up for (side note: I’ve noticed that running long races is probably the craziest thing I do). I even turned re-watching “Gilmore Girls” for the 1234983520954 time into a thing of pressure–I pushed myself to re-watch the whole series before attending the Gilmore Girls Fan Fest and by golly, I did it.
Anyway, the point of this post is to be open about my writing and how I find myself yearning to write. I find myself still creating characters and stories and listening to conversations around me for inspiration. However, when I sit down to actually put these ideas on paper (or rather, computer), I face a brick wall. The process breaks down. I don’t feel a sense of pressure; therefore, it becomes easy to continually put off something that is usually such a large part of my identity.
Last Fall, I had pretty much decided that my blogging days were over. Blogging was taking up a chunk of my time and not that many people were reading it, so what was the point? But now, as I harness this desire to write, I see that readership and receiving a million comments is not the point, especially when you are blogging because you love to write. So I’m hoping if I return to blogging, I’ll not only be writing, but perhaps find that sense of pressure that is apparently a necessary part of my writing process.
Plus, at least I’ll be writing in some capacity .
The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series.
I popped into The Wydown one summer morning after spending a few hours at Slipstream. The weather wasn’t insufferably hot yet and, even though I had forgotten my sunglasses (a travesty!), I decided the walk from Logan Circle to U Street would be a nice addition to the day and also (hopefully) prepare me for my third round of coffee.
Upon spying the open garage door entrance, I was immediately a fan. I love these kinds of open spaces, which is probably why I’m such a fan of Qualia. For The Wydown, the open door helps brighten up the space, while also making it feel immeasurably larger. The space inside is a bit small–only a few communal tables and a couple of booths. The open door helps open up the space, while also making it more inviting. Not sure what the place is like in the winter, though–guess I’ll have to pop back by in a few months to see.
The barista behind the bar was immediately friendly and let me use my debit card, even though I didn’t meet the price point with my latte purchase. Win! We then shared a casual conversation on how the problem is not so much taking out cash (so then you have some for such occasions), but more so keeping the cash long enough to help you when faced with such situations.
Um, wow. The mind is incredible. I did not realize I had that memory until I started typing this post.
The place is very relaxed and trendy, without shoving their “cool” factor in your face. I love their mix of light wood and white furniture against the black walls and chalkboard like signs. To me, this combination is very fresh and inviting. Plus, their coffee stained art, while being très chic, adds a simple, original addition to the place. Plenty of people stopped in while I drank my latte and wrote, and many of them were clearly friends or regular customers. The barista making the drinks seemed to be somewhat of a celebrity, as several people spoke to him–and I mean actual conversations, not just “oh, the coffee looks great, thank you kind sir.” (Umhmm, me).
Lastly, I’ll add that a man that looked EXACTLY like Milo Ventimiglia drifted in at one point and I definitely stared at him for five minutes until I determined that it was, in fact, NOT Milo V and instead a stranger. He chatted with the popular barista for a bit before spending five minutes putting cream and sugar in his coffee. Okay, maybe my people watching has gotten a little out of control…
What I ordered: I ordered a latte, obvi.
Latte grade: The latte helped me understand why the barista is some kind of coffee celebrity–it was delicious and beautifully presented. The latte was hot upon arrival, which was a nice change from the sort-of-warm latte at Slipstream. The flavor was delectable, with the strong espresso flavor dominating the milk. Perfect combo, in my book! As an added bonus, the delicate heart design in the froth remained as I drank the latte, still present even halfway through! I was extremely impressed. Overall grade: A+
What I’ll get next time: I’ll probably try another coffee beverage, like a cappuccino or mocha, as the coffee flavor was so great. Maybe just even a regular coffee! I’m definitely interested in trying their flavored scones, and kind of wish I had sprung for one on my first visit. Oh well, next time!
Best time of day to go: I popped in around mid-morning and the tiny place was packed. Many people drifted in and out pretty quickly, but there definitely wasn’t a lull moment. Luckily, I missed the morning rush, which made the place a bit more relaxed while I was there. I’d say mid to late morning or early to mid-afternoon in order to miss the crowds.
The ambiance: As stated above, the place has a refreshing, trendy allure. The blend of light and dark makes The Wydown feel homey and comfortable. The friendly baristas and regular customers makes this place seem relaxed and welcoming, even for a first-time customer. The only downside is the close quarters–when a few others joined my communal table, I quickly left soon after because the accidental elbow-brushing and unintentionally overheard conversations made the spot a little uncomfortable.
Good for: As stated above, most people drifted in and out, only sitting for 15 or 20 minutes. There were only a couple more people working on their laptops, like me. The place definitely seems laptop friendly, but since it’s so small and popular, I can see the appeal of stopping by for just a few moments instead of camping out. I don’t think I would have stayed if the place had been any busier. I know some people don’t mind taking up space with their laptop when a place is packed, but it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I’d recommend this place for a spot to grab coffee to go or catch up with a friend.
Will you need a jacket? Not in the summer when it was blazing hot. Probably now as it starts to cool…not ready to accept that Fall is almost here.
Other things to know: They had coffee, coffee makers, and other paraphernalia for sale. Nice touch! Also, no wifi.
What I did: I wrote for a little bit. The no wifi thing can be a huge bummer, but also helped me stay focused on what I actually needed to do…who woulda thunk!
I apologize for the pictures in this post, which don’t really portray the beautifulness of the coffee shop itself.
The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series.
I’ll be honest in that I visited Slipstream almost two months ago. When I had more time on my hands, I knocked as many of the coffee shops off my list as I could. I metro’d into DC with Rahul one July morning and visited Slipstream and Wydown back to back, which made for a very jittery afternoon–so much coffee!
Luckily, I have an excellent memory (most of the time) and took some notes.
I was a bit nervous about visiting Slipstream, because it’s not “just a coffee shop,” and I’m always a bit nervous to visit these places with my laptop in tow, afraid I’ll be shunned for occupying a table by myself. Luckily, no shunning occurred. It was early enough that there were plenty of open tables and there were a few other laptop people, which put my mind at ease.
Slipstream’s space is long, providing an awesome variety of seating. The tables in the front face the street, natural light brightening the space. The coffee/drinks bar separates the front seating from the back, where tables rub up against abstract art work. There’s a little something for everyone here, table wise–two-person high tops, long communal tables, you name it. The place is polished and trendy without feeling too calculated or perfect. It’s not quite cozy, but it’s definitely comfortable enough to sit and chat/work for a few hours.
As far as their menu goes, the key terms are “experimental” and “thoughtful.” (I’m teaching key terms to my new English classes right now, so it makes sense that it would bleed over into my blogging). They offer classic food and drink, but with a twist. Many reviewers online have commented on their selection of food and drink being TOO wide (as in you can’t be a coffee shop AND a lunch spot AND a happy hour place, etc) but I don’t see that as an issue. If Tryst can do it, why can’t other places? Plus, their playful approach to coffee and cocktails will keep them on the map.
What I ordered: I ordered a latte and the poached egg on brioche bun (with bacon!) I felt rushed while ordering (not by the barista, but by my own awkwardness) and wish I had taken more time to explore the menu in full. I had read about their toasts online before visiting, and was confident that this would be my order. However, poached egg jumped out and me and I had to follow my instincts. I was not disappointed–while the bread was a bit much, the poached egg provided a delightful reason to literally wipe my plate clean. The bacon was thick and wonderful, which means a lot coming from me as I’m more “meh” about bacon than the rest of the Internet.
Just like with their seating options, the menu provides a little something for everyone–avocado toasts, experimental coffee cocktails, breakfast bowls, nitrogen infused coffee, cashew milk, and tons more. If you’re into experimental coffee and cocktails and you’re looking for something more than mimosas/Bloody Marys, I recommend this as a brunch spot.
Not that there’s anything wrong about those two drinks…after all, I love a good Bloody Mary with brunch.
Latte Grade: I loved the presentation of the latte, and that it was served in a glass instead of a mug. Delicious flavor, but was warm to begin with, which meant it was ice cold by the time I was done drinking. Normally I order my drinks extra hot, but on this coffee shop adventure, I’ve just been ordering “regular hot” (I don’t actually say that) to see what the temperature of their latte is to begin with. Next time I visit, I’ll definitely have to ask for a little more heat. To me, the good flavor eventually became overrun by the low temp. Overall grade: B+
What I’ll get next time: I’m SUPER INTERESTED in their coffee creations (espresso, lemon, and tonic water looks delicious and refreshing!), as well as their many cocktail options. Hoping to return for another visit when my timing is cocktail appropriate.
Best time of day to go: Like I said above, there was plenty of seating when I arrived, around 8 AM. I sat near the windows, which provided for some nice people watching and work distraction. The place was more crowded when I left, around 10 AM, and I’m sure is even more crowded in late afternoon/early evening. If you’re hoping for a window seat, I say the earlier, the better–most of them were occupied by the time I left. I will say, for how uncrowded it was, it took a little bit for my latte to arrive. The food service was speedy, however.
The ambience: As mentioned above, Slipstream is trendy and artistic. There was good music playing–a very “Chuck” like soundtrack–which I’m now listening to as I finish this. The noise level was manageable, and the service was friendly enough. I’ll say that it definitely did not seem like a neighborhood place, even though it in’s a prime location. Unlike other coffee shops, where I’ve overheard the baristas and customers chatting amicably, everyone here seemed to be minding their own business.
Good for: The majority of people were chatting with friends or conducting business meetings. Only a few other people were laptoppers like me. With the seating variety, it seems that this place is good for all three. However, I did visit very early on a weekday morning–I imagine it’s a completely different story on the weekends.
Will you need a jacket? IT WAS FREEZING.
Other things to know: They take care in selecting the best coffee, and rotate their blends.
What I did: I wrote on my laptop.
Stupid thing I read online: I can’t remember, but I can speak to the stupid things I’ve read this week, which mostly revolve around the Nicki Minaj/Miley Cyrus thing. I could care less about this feud, yet I somehow continue to read articles on it…
Things have been busy around here! Between wrapping up the last two weeks of teaching the 6-week summer program, day trips and weekend activities, and a girls’ trip to Nashville, I got a little behind on my blog. I really try to stay on top of the posts, but sometimes real life gets in the way, whether it’s in the form of a grading marathon, or a relaxing afternoon at a winery, or endless lesson planning. All three, plus many more, present good reasons to put the little ol’ blog on the back burner until more time opens up. Don’t fret: next week I will return with the next coffee shop post on Slipstream near Logan Circle. But this week, I am planning and gathering my materials for the Fall semester, which starts on the 31st.
The whole planning process takes a lot more time than expected. There are so many layers. First, you have to decide what’s due when. Then what reading to do on certain days. Then what overarching activities and objectives you want to accomplish. Then what you will actually do to accomplish those activities and objectives. It’s borderline overwhelming. In many respects, it feels exactly like this:
At the same time, I love organizational tasks, so I don’t really mind.
With summer drawing to a close, I’m sad about the impending coldness and weekends full of grading, but glad that I was able to make the most of my summer over the past few weeks. Also, there are fall leaves already. WTF?!?!
Having Rahul here PERMANENTLY is amazing, because we not only get to see each other every day, but we can enjoy our weekends together. We’ve explored our city a bit more, drunk wine and “listened” to a 90s cover band with friends (the band was far away and mostly illegible), visited the beach for our engagiversary, celebrated multiple friends moving away (with joyfulness and sadness), saw “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center (so funny!), and much more. In doing so, I’ve marked off a few things from my DC area to-do list, which included going to the beach in Maryland, going wine tasting in Virginia, and seeing as many plays as possible at The Kennedy Center.
I also enjoyed a fabulous weekend with some of my dearest friends in Nashville. The weekend officially kicked off our wedding countdown–less than 100 days to go! It was amazing to spend some quality time with my best gals, while also dancing it up all over Nashville. Country music everywhere! We stayed in a house for the weekend, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the Nashville area. We were in East Nashville, which is an easy and cheap Uber ride to the city. Plus, we had space to spread out and hang during downtime.
Now that I’ve entertained you with details about my fabulous life, I promise to return to my regularly scheduled programming next week.
…is that you’re always hoping for a miracle.
I’m not talking like John Green’s Paper Towns, where Quentin believes Margo is his one miracle in life. I’m talking, “crap-I-left-10-minutes-later-than-I-meant-to-why-I-am-surprised-by-that-oh-here’s-hoping-I-still-get-to-work-on-time” kind of miracle.
I will say, though, that I’ve had several trips to Target/CVS/Safeway/ etc that were exactly like the Paper Towns’ characters’ speedy trips to gas stations, except with one crucial difference: my trips were speedy because I was making them before class when I really didn’t have time.
As a chronically late person, I’m constantly hoping for some kind of time miracle where I miraculously get to work five minutes early, even though I left 10 minutes late. I’m constantly hoping that some kind of time warp thing will happen and I’ll get to my class with plenty of time to spare to leisurely look over my class notes for the day, or write on the chalkboard. I’m constantly hoping that time will play its tricks, as time does, and I’ll be able to walk to class at a normal pace instead of an awkward mix of speed walking and hopping.
As a reminder, this awkward mix of speed walking and hopping is exactly how I fractured my leg this past February. While walking to my first class. While (sort of) late. I’m definitely doing this to myself.
As I constantly route and reroute my travel to and from work, looking for the quickest and easiest drive that day, I’ve begun to realize something: as a 28-year-old adult, I still don’t understand how time works. I’ll usually set a goal leaving time and, even though I know I have to be out the door in thirty minutes, or 45 minutes, or whatever, I lie to myself about the time. I let myself eat lunch slowly, or prep dinner for that night, or try to finish grading a paper, forgetting that a leaving time of 1:20 means out the door by 1:20, not “oh crap, it’s 1:20, let me run around the apartment like an idiot to collect my stuff so I can leave.” I’m usually out the door five to ten minutes after my goal leaving time. Three on a lucky day.
Then, because this has happened before (not a lot), I hope for a time miracle as I drive to work. I hold out hope that ten extra minutes will pop up somewhere, forgetting that all of this is contingent on traffic, other cars, and other people in general. Which all points to one very simple thing:
I’ve got to slow down.
Even though I can lollygag with the best of them, I usually jampack my day with to-do lists. I really try to prioritize the to-do lists but, on some days, I have a hard time keeping an order straight and try to accomplish several things at once. This morning, I let bleach soak in my shower while I vacuumed and checked my email. I’m often on my phone (even if it’s just Instagram or WWF) during a movie or TV show, trying to get two things done at once. I multi-task and try to soak every second out of every hour to make sure I’m not wasting time.
And then I drive to school like an idiot, hoping that extra time will appear.
Anyone struggle with the same problem? Do you have suggestions on better time management? I’m not talking like “lay out your outfit the night before” or “just leave earlier, dummy.” Like, for real advice on looking at time realistically and not Katherine-ally.
Using planners and to-do lists has started to organize my mind a little and help me manage my time in a more realistic way. I’ve loved Erin Condren planners for YEARS, even though they’re a bit pricey. The “get it done” zebra notepad is a new purchase and I LOVE IT. Every time I look at it, I chuckle at the little zebra essentially telling me to get my shit together.
Rifle Paper Co. // Erin Condren
The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series. Number seven on DC Eater’s “25 Essential D.C. Coffee Shops” is Peregrine Espresso. I’ve visited Peregrine Espresso a few times, at both 14th … Continue reading
Oh, man! I kept meaning to post this review and then kept forgetting. Life! I’m in the middle of a fast-paced six week summer course and the grading is for real. So today I took a mini-break to post this and order some audiobooks so I can cancel my Audible subscription (too expensive and also Lena Dunham’s book was way more boring than I expected).
A few other life updates:
- Saw Magic Mike XXL and then overheard a conversation where someone was trying to explain the first movie from an intellectual POV. Like, really? Such a DC move. Let’s just all be honest and admit that Magic Mike is not a movie you watch when you want to expand your mind or grow as a person. It’s a movie you watch when you want to turn off your brain and hear other women in the theater ooh and ahh to Channing Tatum.
- Rahul and I crossed some big wedding stuff of our to-do list: finished our registry, ordered our invitations, ordered his suit, etc. Plus we’re now less than 100 days away!! AHHH!
- Summer is somehow almost over…what?? School starts back in one month! How did this happen? Time to do some last minute summer things…I’m dying to go to the beach, just need to find the time to make it happen!
- My runs have gotten a lot better! I’ve found the magic secret to productive runs in the stupid, stupid summer heat: running indoors! OK, I know that’s not a new idea, but it is for me. I’ve always hated running on treadmills because it’s so BORING. But I’ve discovered that “Parks & Recreation” comes on TV weekday mornings at 10, which works great with my afternoon teaching schedule. Watching that show while running has finally gotten me through up to 4 miles without stopping, and on a pretty good pace too, considering I had a fractured leg earlier this year. Pretty ironic that “Parks & Rec” is the show that saved my runs, considering what I wrote a few weeks ago. Other things work too: Crazy, Stupid, Love got me through 6 miles on Sunday. About halfway through half marathon training and I’m finally pretty good about it, finally!
- I made a few additions to the apartment, namely a new chair and lamp to our desk that has reinvigorated my interest to sit there.
I’m in love with the chair. Plus, the view’s not bad either:
Next home improvement: a new piece of wall art for above the bed. Any suggestions for places to look? I’ve browsed Society 6 and some of the free downloads on Pinterest, but haven’t found anything I’m absolutely in love with.
Okay, now on to the coffee.
The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series.
I’ve visited Qualia Coffee once before, and always meant to go back. You know what happens when you “always” mean to do something…it never happens. In any case, I live a little closer to the place now, so might try to stop by more regularly. WE’LL SEE. It was an easy drive, so that was a plus, and I scored a parking spot right across the street. Double plus. The place is within walking distance of the Georgia Ave metro, which also helps.
I loved Qualia when I first went (in 2011! ahh) because the barista was super friendly, talked to me about the different coffee options, and didn’t make me feel rushed as I ordered. It probably helped that I showed up so early that there was hardly any one else inside. I also remember liking the space and feeling productive because of the warm atmosphere. I wasn’t let down on my second visit. Even though they had more people inside, I didn’t feel rushed as I ordered, and the staff seemed friendly. They have GREAT coffee (as evidenced in my last visit), which I believe they roast in house.
What I ordered: I ordered just a latte, even though I was tempted by their snacks. I went to Qualia on a very hot Tuesday morning and was already a bit frazzled from a terrible, terrible run earlier in the day, followed by my apartment’s water being shut off for maintenance (which I knew was happening, but still annoying). In any case, all I could focus on ordering was the coffee, and I was almost too hot to even drink that.
Latte Grade: The art on the latte was so-so, and I even overheard the barista talking about how his latte art is always a bit shoddy. I think that’s okay, dude, because latte art can probably only get you so far in life. The latte itself was hot and delicious, which was no surprise. As I said above, I’ve visited Qualia once before and their coffee was AMAZING then and is still amazing, as evidenced by the great latte flavor. You definitely get a strong coffee taste, which I love. Again, another place with a good mix of coffee and milk. Overall grade: A.
What I’ll get next time: They had a wide selection of cookies, which I wish I paid more attention to when I was there. I mean, peanut butter, dark chocolate, white chocolate cranberry…yes, please! I’ll also probably get the iced coffee, as I overheard a bunch of people ordering it. It’s either really good, or it was just freakin hot, or a combo of both.
Best time of day to go: They have a lot of seating options–two patios, indoor seating, and an upstairs too, I believe (although I could be making that up). Point is, there seems to be plenty of seating, and the space inside was pretty sparse while I was there, but the back patio seemed to be hopping. Again, I would say a safe rule of thumb is in the morning or early afternoon, before people descend upon the place post-work or school.
The ambience: One thing I really liked about my second visit to Qualia was how open the space was. When I visited the first time, way back in 2011, it was a bit colder, although, according to my blog post, they had the door open then too, so I guess it’s a thing they do? IN ANY CASE, I really loved how the open door made the space seem super open and welcoming and airy. While the inside space is rather small, the open door space helped quite a lot. Right when you walk up, you spot people chatting on the front patio, a chalk board sign welcoming you, the whole nine yards. It seems to be a neighborhood joint, as I overheard several people who knew the baristas (I am such an OBVIOUS people watcher, it must be the writer in me), and I would definitely make this my neighborhood spot if I lived in Petworth. It’s quick, accommodating, and welcoming. Plus, as added bonuses, they had art for sale on the walls and free condoms in the bathroom. So, hey, anything goes.
Good for: Again, another place that seems accommodating for all things. I sat at the communal bar (again) and was sitting right next to another girl working on her computer. I visited Qualia the day after TCB–at TCB, I asked someone to watch my computer and at Qualia, I got asked to watch a computer. I don’t really know the purpose of this story other than to say not all people are jerks? I don’t know. In any case, they have a variety of seating, including some couches.
Will you need a jacket? Um, no. I actually realized on the way over there that I had forgotten a sweater, which I realized I did not need at all. They had the front and back doors open, so it was pretty steamy inside. Let’s just say I was sweatin’ a bit. BUT the open doors made for a nice, open space, as discussed above.
Other things to know: Fresh off the Roast brews and sales their own coffee here, in drinkable form or in coffee bean to-go form. Several people came in while I was there just to buy coffee beans. Also, as discussed above, they seem to have an open door policy (as in the doors were open), so it might get pretty humid and hot during these summer days.
What I did: I worked on a story I’m trying to write–key word is TRYING. It’s going pretty well, though. (knocks on wood)
Update on this: it stopped going well. UGH! My current plan is to reread my MFA thesis and finish writing it. I know I can do it!
Stupid thing I read online: I don’t remember, but I loved this post where Buzzfeed edited Katy Perry’s nonsensical tweet, even though I found the whole Katy Perry-Taylor Swift-Nicki Minaj debacle to be SO DUMB. At the end of the day, you are all successful artists, so GET OVER yourselves.
I will say that Taylor Swift seems like someone I would NOT want to be friends with. You’d have to watch everything you say and do around her in an attempt to not offend or upset her! No thank you.
My reaction to how often the radio show people talked about this “fight” on the air:
I was too distracted by how much I loved this place to take a picture of the outside…oops!
I’ve known about Soho Tea & Coffee for a while, but only visited for the first time on this very visit. Upon entering the place, I knew immediately that I was going to love the place. Not only was it not packed, which was a treat in and of itself, it has the very obvious appeal of being created over time. While some of the coffee shops I’ve visited are very clearly crafted to give off a certain aesthetic (cough cough La Colombe), Soho seems to be a place that has evolved over time, and has let itself evolve in whatever direction the wind has taken it. Of course, this is all based on my impression and not on actual knowledge, but based on the mix of colorful art, mismatch of tables (some with lamps, which I love), college flags, and lottery machine, it seems that this place chose to be whatever the hell it wanted to be, instead of one calculated thing. And the thing that place turned out to be was a combination of coffee shop, lottery ticket taker, college hang-out, lunch spot, and drinks. I love this effortless combination; it’s a place that has just kind of fallen together, producing a great result.
Soho is located in between Dupont Circle and Rock Creek Park and is equally drivable and metroable. It seems to attract an assortment of people, ranging from college kids (who all somehow knew each other?) to families to working professionals. For the twoish hours I was there, the following people sat next to or near me: a mom and college-aged son, a middle-aged man working on his laptop, a middle-aged woman working on her laptop, a couple college kids on their laptops, you get the picture. Basically, a lot of laptops.
What I ordered: I ordered a latte and an oatmeal raisin cookie. I ate the cookie over the span of two days (I know, weird), but I drank the latte in house.
Latte Grade: I loved the presentation of the latte. The glass jar was a nice touch, and the lack of design seemed fitting with the place. The coffee is straightforward, no fuss. The latte was hot for about half the drinking time and probably would have been for the whole drinking time if I had drank it really fast, but I wasn’t in the mood for an intense coffee drinking session. Overall grade: A/A-
What I’ll get next time: If I go back for coffee, I’m getting the Sami’s Choo Choo. I don’t really know what it is, but if it really tastes like a peanut butter cup, as the menu promises, then I KNOW I WILL LOVE IT. If I go back for food, I’ll probably try the chicken salad, as the sign outside the shop spoke of its deliciousness.
Best time of day to go: I arrived around 10 on a Thursday morning and there was plenty of seating. The place filled up a bit near lunch, but there was still plenty of seating and I didn’t feel like I was annoying anyone by taking up a two-seater table, as there are plenty of them. It does seem that the place is a favorite college hang-out, as it’s 1) close to GW and Georgetown and 2) I saw mostly college kids while I was there, so I imagine it can get busy during the school year, or exam crunch time.
The ambience: As I said above, the place has clearly evolved over time instead of being carefully crafted, which I love. They played some GREAT music—Bohemian Rhapsody and then a bunch of songs I only know because of movies, like this song from Pitch Perfect, this song from Mamma Mia (I guess technically it’s from ABBA), and this song from The Family Stone. What can I say, I’m a movie person. In any case, the fun music gave the place a nice upbeat feel to it, which I loved. I didn’t love when one of the employees turned on the TV, because it was loud and the local TV was talking about a body pulled out of the Tidal Basin, which was too “Scandal” for me. I’d prefer not to live in Olivia Pope’s Washington, D.C.
Good for: The majority of people there were working on their laptops. With the mix of tables, and large selection of seating, meant I actually got to sit at a real table!! I was very excited about this. With the many tables and other computer-goers, I’d say visit this place if you want to go somewhere where you’re not going to get rushed out.
Will you need a jacket? Another day of me forgetting a jacket, another day of me not needing it.
Other things to know: The place did get sort of loud when more people started showing up close to lunchtime. Also, with the arrival of more people meant momentarily losing wifi, which was annoying, but not a dealbreaker.
What I did: I worked on a story and sent some emails. I also looked up the body being found in the Tidal Basin after hearing that on the TV…yikes.
Stupid thing I read online: I’m pretty sure I looked up Pitch Perfect trivia after hearing the song they performed in their first movie. Another example of Katherine filling her brain with useless shit that does not help her in anyway. In any case, I loved this scene from the second movie, especially 1:47-2 minutes.
The fourth coffee shop on the list, Tryst, holds a special place in my heart. When I did a “study abroad” semester in DC in undergrad, one of my classmates discovered Tryst. How, I can’t remember. All I know is that we visited this coffee shop at least a handful of times to write, drink coffee, and people watch. My god, was this a fun place to people watch as a 20-21 year older. Since most of us in my journalism program were from small, religious based schools, we found the people that visited Tryst, especially at night, SO entertaining. Now, 7 years later (wow, time flies), I’ve come to understand that most of what we were seeing was normal DC Adams Morgan nightlife (aka, lots of drinking and loud noises). However, I’ll never forgot the time Ashley (my program and real life best friend) and I got stuck in a giggling fit after watching a very drunk couple sloppily make out at the bar, go outside to smoke and continue to make out, before returning back inside to, you guessed it, make out some more. At the time, we thought this was hilarious and also appalling.
BUT this story does ring true with this description of Tryst I found on another “coffee shops in DC” list: “They’re as welcoming to the dude that drops 50 bucks on cocktails and dinner as they are to a single cup-buying law student who plans to camp out for as long as it took to film The Firm.” So true, as my program friends and I would visit at night to work on our homework, all the whiles real adults drank and fraternized. At night, it’s an interesting mix of characters and activities.
This time around, my mom and I visited Tryst on a humid June morning, when it’s definitely still packed, but with a different crowd. Most people were on their computers and the place had a steady stream of customers come to get drinks to go.
What I ordered: I ordered a latte and the savory ham & cheddar waffle. OH MY GOD that waffle was freakin’ amazing. The waffle itself was spiced with basil, chives, scallions, thyme, rosemary, and mint. Um, what!?!?!? I did not previously know such a delicious creation could exist. The description alone was enough to entice me, but the dish itself put me over the moon. The waffle alone was delicious and would have made a fine breakfast (the spices added a wonderful flavor and were not overwhelmed by the waffle batter itself, if that makes sense), but the addition of the ham/cheddar/arugula really pumped up the flavor. It was so good that I felt eating the fruit was cheating the dish.
My mom ordered an Irish coffee and the ham & cheddar croissant. The waitress misheard her and brought a large coffee, which my mom happily drank even though it was sans whiskey. The croissant sandwich was delicious as well, but not as good as the one we love at Politics & Prose. She said an egg would have made the croissant sandwich better, but that it was also fine without it.
Latte Grade: Their coffee is great, which was evidenced in both the latte and the actual coffee. It has real coffee flavor, and you can tell it’s brewed by people who know what they’re doing. The latte itself was delicious. Not only was it pretty on top, but the strong coffee flavor shined through, making for a great mix of coffee and milk. The latte stayed warm for about half of the drinking time, which is passable in my book. Overall grade: A
What I’ll get next time: There are so many options, it’s hard to choose! I’m definitely interested in trying a sweet waffle next time (maybe with nutella?). I also think I’d try the banana, strawberry, and pineapple smoothie, as this is the smoothie I’m constantly making myself. Might be kind of nice to see how the flavor holds up when it’s made by someone else!
Best time of day to go: From past experience, I know this place can stay full any time of the day, but especially at night, when it doubles as a coffee shop and a restaurant/drinking place. My mom and I got there around 8:30 AM on a Thursday and found plenty of open tables and seating. They have a good mix of 2-4 person tables, as well as communal tables and couches. I’d say the morning is a safe bet for this place, especially if you’re not in the mood to fight for seating.
The ambience: Tryst is a balanced hodge-podge of mismatched tables, colorful artwork, furniture, books, and wall art. The lighting is low, so everything kind of blends it together instead of overwhelming the senses. It has the feel of an eclectic place that is also organized and functional, which I love. Even though the place was full of people, the volume (in the AM, at least) was manageable and enjoyable. Plus, it’s a bonus that you can visit this place anytime of the day for coffee, drinks, food, you name it.
Good for: Most everyone there the morning my mom and I visited was working on their computer. However, there have been other times I’ve gone when there’s more people there chatting and catching up with a friend (read about a past experience here). The good thing is if you go in the mornings, when the place isn’t packed yet, you can spread out and talk without worrying that you’re bothering anyone there trying to get some work done. Again, since they have a really good mix of tables, this is the perfect place to individually get some work done, or to meet up with a friend over a cup of coffee.
Will you need a jacket? I was fine in a 3/4 sleeves shirt and shorts.
Other things to know: They sell their own coffee and packaged tea, which is awesome.
What I did: My mom and I were together, so we chatted over breakfast. I told her some stories of visiting the place in 2008 when I lived in DC as a student and she nicely obliged and listened. : )