Category Archives: Coffee

Phoenix AZ – Provision Coffee

I heard about Provsion Coffee as I happened to run into Laurence when he came in to grab a cappuccino from me one night. He invited me to visit his new shop in Gilbert as he was having a soft open beginning the next day. 

 
  

  
I stopped in that first week, and was welcomed with warm hospitality and a free cappuccino by Laurence and his business partner Daniel. Provision Coffee definitely offers one of the top cappuccinos I’ve had in the Phoenix area.

 
Specialty coffee in Gilbert is a rare commodity. So, I was glad to see Provsion Coffee part of bringing just that to the East Valley of Phoenix, and happy to support by bringing awareness and friends. Me and my friend Michelle made a visit recently to try one of their specialty drinks from their nitro cold brew. 

 
 

On the concrete bar were portraits of the Burundi, Africa individuals who farmed the beans that Provision Coffee sources. On the back was the story of each farmer, bringing a more personal approach to the coffee we were drinking. The gorgeous portraits were from longmilescoffeeproject.com.

 
 

Me and Michelle loved spending our day off at Provision Coffee and recommend it to anyone wanting a good Phoenix coffee impression!
  
  

Phoenix AZ – Peixoto Coffee Roasters

(Featuring some shots in black and white that I loved by Perry Czopp of thecoffeechop.com.)

Just outside Phoenix in Downtown Chandler is a new crop to cup coffee shop Peixoto Coffee Roasters. Since I live in Chandler, I was just excited to have a specialty coffee shop in my area, but while talking to Perry about it, he explained the novelty concept of crop to cup even on a national level, which I’ll share further down. 

 
  
 

When Perry told me he hadn’t been to Peixoto yet, we made a day to meet so I could introduce him to the new spot. Perry is a passionate part of the Phoenix coffee community, so I was glad to enjoy this new addition to our community with him. 

  

 

Perry tries coffee shops my favorite way: he engages with the barista to hear their offerings, then orders just about one of everything. I think it’s the best way to coffee shop haha.

I recommend the cold brew (and now they also offer nitro cold brew) and their Arnold Palmer of cascara tea and lemongrass lemonade. 

I also recommend the pão de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread, and sensory memory of the time I lived In Brazil for eight months. 
  
 

After ordering, we met the husband and wife owner of Peixoto. They explained their crop to cup idea that had been a long time coming as Julia’s father owns a coffee farm in Brazil, and they had always had a desire to roast his beans locally and open a coffee shop in their home town of Chandler, AZ. I’ve learned that it’s a rare concept for a coffe shop owner producing the cup of coffee to also be in direct relation with the crop that they source their beans from. 

 

It’s exciting to see this shop gain so much local support in the East Valley of Phoenix where specialty coffee is rare, and to see so many in the local community come out to welcome them to the community. 

Portland OREGON

On a recent trip to Portland, I only had a couple days. I think it’s a doable venture even when short on time. My recommendation being to take a piece of the city that has a lot that it offers locally, like Downtown Portland or 23rd Ave. Both are popular walkable spots that give a good quick taste of the city. This post will focus a lot on the food and coffee culture of Portland since my time was limited and my focus was on coffee crawling the best spots.

DOWNTOWN PORTLAND

My first spot was completely unplanned. After waking up early and spending hours in travel without coffee, I stumbled upon Case Study Coffee outside the garage I parked in downtown. It was delicious and I found out later it’s a popular shop in Portland.

  

I asked the barista his recommendation for brunch and he said Tasty n Alder. It was downtown also so I walked there after coffee. On the way there were a lot of cute boutiques to browse in and out of. Tasty n Alder was a great local spot: I loved the atmosphere and the food was served tapas style. I got the baked eggs in a tomato sauce with peas and asparagus. It was reasonable at $11 for a small plate, but it could be pricey if you went for more of a tapas style brunch.

  

Across the street was what I had most anticipated in my visit to Portland: heart coffee. It had begun to drizzle so I spent the next hour inside sitting at the window people watching and sipping on my cappuccino. 

  

  

Another spot within walking distance that I was recommended to by a friend was Blue Star Donuts. I headed there. Their old fashion lemon poppy seed  donut was perfect.

  

  

I then met up with some friends – Perry, Nella, and Jeff from the Phoenix coffee community – to continue this Portland coffee crawl. Perry had heard of a brand new coffee shop for us to try: Good Coffee. 

  

I was hoping with Perry’s expertise on coffee and understanding of their offerings that he would order our coffees, so I was glad when he ordered all these coffees for us.

  

 

It took us awhile to figure out our next stop, but Perry didn’t disappoint: Stumptown at the Ace Hotel. I had completely forgotten about this downtown spot popular not just for coffee but it’s photogenic space. I loved how the day was spontaneous but unfolded in the best way possible. 

  

  

As I mentioned before, once you are downtown, you are close to all the local popular spots. While parking we noticed a Sizzle Pie, so after Stumptown we headed there for dinner. We got a large pizza split with two types and both were great.

  

  


HAWTHORNE 

On my second day in Portland, we went to Jam on Hawthorne. Their space is very eclectic and we all really enjoyed what we ordered, though we weren’t crazy about the drinks. Pictured below is the Florentine Eggs Benedict.


23RD AVENUE

Next we went to 23rd Ave for Salt and Straw. We were there on a weekend, so the line was out the door. I’d recommend trying to go during the week, but the wait wasn’t too long: we probably waited 30 minutes.

Across the street from Salt and Straw was a popular Portland coffee shop Barista. Probably my favorite coffee from all those we went to.

There was another Blue Star Donuts spot and a lot of boutiques. Overall 23rd Ave is a great place to walk around and get a good feel for the Portland culture. 

    

Phoenix AZ – Camelback Flowershop & Perry’s Popup Coffee Cart

I was recently invited by my friend Perry to visit his pop up coffee cart at Camelback Flowershop. 

Perry is well known in the local Phoenix coffee community for his coffee knowledge and push to develop our coffee community, so I definitely didn’t want to miss a chance to support his initiative and the chance to have coffee made by someone so passionate about coffee. 

I invited Madeleine along for coffee hangs as she knew Perry as well. The coffee and photography community in Phoenix is all connected, so it’s easy to have mutual friends interested in supporting our local art and community.

This was also our first time at Camelback Flowshop’s new space. They are now located on Indian School between 40th and 42nd. Their new space is gorgeous surrounded by windows that let in a lot of natural light. Me and Madeleine were obssessed with this shop. Here’s some shots to show why:

Perry was enthusiastic to make us multiple delicious coffee drinks, of which we were enthusiastic to drink. 

He also had a special for the day: a vanilla coffee shooter. 

It’s so fun to live in such a creative community where people are passionate about their art. Perry is definitely passionate about building the coffee community in Phoenix and it’s fun to support his coffee initiations. He is currently this week at Camelback Flowershop about 10AM – 2PM so check out his coffee cart while you can. Follow his Instagram for local Phoenix coffee events @thecoffeechop .


Jerome AZ

I’ve been meaning to visit Jerome for a few years. Finally did it this last weekend with Merrissa. 

It’s only a couple hours north of Phoenix, so we came upon it about 10 am. My first impression as we drove through the upward winding road was how cute this old ghost town was with all its old buildings set on the hills. We parked and made our first spot Flat Iron.

This spot came recommended by my friend for their brunch and coffee. We walked in the door to the tiniest room that served as kitchen and restaurant. It was the cutest. Their kitchen does not have a stove top or open flame: everything is cooked in a toaster oven, conventional oven or panini grille, and the eggs are scrambled by espresso machine steam wand. 

We both ordered iced vanilla lattes, that we loved, and brunch. I got the breakfast tacos: corn tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, red peppers and onions, and salsa. The green chile salsa was absolutely the best! Merrissa got the breakfast burrito that had scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, turkey sausage and green chiles in a toasted homemade tortilla.

Afterward we explored the town: hiking by the creek, antiquing, swinging in the park, and photographing all the historic architecture. It’s a cute town to explore and all the brick and metal walls make it a must for any photographer.

Southern CA – Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach

LONG BEACH

I recently went on a trip with Sarah down Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to her home in Long Beach.

By the time we made it back to Long Beach, we were exhausted and for about 24 hours, we did nothing but lay at her house and recover from out travels haha. Our first venture back outdoors was to meet her friend Luke at a new coffee shop: Rose Park Roasters. Before he arrived, we walked through the neighborhood and photographed.

So we met Luke at Rose Park Roasters and I loved the space. It had become his new spot since it had opened a couple, weeks before, and I was glad he was introducing us. 

Edit

I say this a lot, but my favorite part of travel is meeting new people and making friends. It was fun to meet Luke. He was definitely one of those people who makes a complete stranger feel comfortable. It was interesting to hear about his life in music and his desire to be a barista.

I got two coffees. First I started with their Ethiopian cold brew, and then I had their molasses, ginger and Rosemary latte which might have been a special for the day. Both were phenomenal.

Another thing I say a lot is always get a local’s suggestion on where to eat. Luke  mentioned that as Rose Park Roasters had become his go to spot for coffee, his go to spot after was Taqueria La Mexicana #2 down the street for their California burritos. California burritos (french fries, carne asada, cheese, salsa and guacamole) are my favorite, so we took the two minute walk to get some, and it could not have made me happier. 

HUNTINGTOWN BEACH

Later that week me and Sarah met our mutual friends Emma, Kristen and Lydia at Aosa for a reunion. It was really fun to be all together again. 

Loved that our friends took us to Aosa, one of their favorite local coffee shops.  It was super cute and they serve Stumptown coffee which is a favorite of mine.

SEAL BEACH

After Aosa, we went down to Emma’s hometown of Seal Beach. It’s a super quaint downtown right off the beach. 

Emma took us to a Mexican spot. Their shrimp tacos were delicious. 

Then we walked through Seal Beach. Amy met us there and it was nice to just be there laughing and catching up with old friends while walking through this adorable town. 

We went shopping through a couple super cute boutiques that I completely recommend if you visit: Stitch & Feather and Isabelle’s Cabinet. 

A couple other spots worth mentioning are the Italian grocer and The Crema Cafe, a brunch spot Emma grew up going to. 

The day in Seal Beach was absolutely perfect. I believe travel is never about where you go, but who you go with, who you experience it with. The moments and laughs you collect with those friends. Whether we are in Italy or Southern California, these friends are the reason the places I travel to mean so much. 

Tucson AZ

Spent my Sunday day tripping to Tucson with Cadence. It was a great way to weekend.

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Cadence had been craving prep & pastry so that was the excuse for the trip, which I was glad for as I’ve heard so much about this spot and have been wanting to try it. So upon arriving in Tucson, it was our first stop. As with most popular spots on the weekend, we were put on a 45 minute waiting list. Absolutely fine with us: we spent the time well exploring the area on foot and by camera.

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We arrived back to prep & pastry ready to brunch. I got the breakfast poutine based off seeing it on another table. It was a great choice: house made fries topped with pork belly, duck fat gravy, cheese and two over easy eggs. This spot does rich well. They have not so heavy fare as well: my friend got a sweet potato hash that she had drove all the way from Phoenix to get, so I assume that means phenomenal. And the rest of the menu looked like must try’s so I’m sure that’s more excuse to come back once again.

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After brunch we grabbed Cadence’s friend London. I always go by the rule “always always hang with a local” when traveling. London was one of those people you become friends with instantly. No awkward. And really, Traveling is all about the new friends you make, plus, the local knows all the spots and can give you perspective on the city. I learned the draw for locals to the grunge of the appropriately named “Dirty T.” I had never understood this before so it was absolutely fascinating to learn the Tucson culture.

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Our first stop was coffee, so we went to Cartel, which I was glad for as this was the last Cartel I had never been to. And now my new favorite from the wood, exposed brick, deer heads, succulents and lots of natural light.

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We grabbed our coffee to go and walked Downtown Tucson’s Congress Street for a photo adventure. If it hadn’t already been a favorite from the food and pretty spots, it now would be for the abandoned alleys and stumble upons.

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Afterward we went to Time Market. Another spot I heard a lot about and needed to visit. It was a neighborhood market grocer. Included in the building was a restaurant serving brick oven pizza, a coffee bar serving Verve espresso, and selling retail coffee greats such as Intelligentsia, Verve, Stumptown and Heart. We headed back to Congress Street for Diablo Burger. My favorite item here is the Señor Smoke: ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro and Sriracha mayo. Definitely a must try.

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We sat at the window with a view of Congress Hotel. (Another great spot for eating by the way.)

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We headed to the other Tucson Cartel location for more caffeine to energize our late night adventuring in Tucson with London and his friend Ian, and our drive home later that night.

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Phoenix AZ – Welcome Chicken + Donuts

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Welcome Chicken + Donuts has just opened by the owners of Welcome Diner, and I’ve been trying to find the opportunity to finally try it. Saturday morning with Cadence and Emma was the perfect invite.

The first thing I noticed was the super cute interior. While I waited in line, a local mentioned to me that the mission that is on the wall, is actually across the street. He pointed, and it was one of the views from the window.

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The donut selection was phenomenal. From Wisconsin cheddar apple fritter to chocolate rose pistachio to maple bacon. I got to chat with one of the guys who worked there on his donut input. He mentioned that there were a couple varieties that had just been created the day before. Such as the dark chocolate pudding filled with red wine glaze. We grabbed that one in our half dozen box, along with a half dozen wings in each if the three sauce options.

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We went outside to eat on the large patio with community seating. I love these two for getting the whole photo before you eat concept! You can check out their perspective on their post at: meekblog.com .

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We tried each of the three sauce varieties: Korean Chili, Vietnamese Herb, and Japanese BBQ. We all agreed that the favorite was the Korean Chile. Our favorite donut was the dark chocolate pudding with red wine glaze. Everything was so so good. Chicken and donuts totally go together. And Welcome does it so well. I definitely want to go back.

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UPDATE

I want Welcome Chicken + Donuts to be as much apart of my regular life as possible. So yesterday I paid another visit to introduce Kristine and Michelle.

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And while we were there, we had the pleasure of running into a couple other friends of ours, Ash and Bryan. Love when community supports local business and there is opportunity of having spontaneous hangs over meals with friends. Ash’s recommendation was to just get a dozen of donuts for yourself so you can try them all. It’s the best idea.

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The special for the day was ramen. So glad for it as I had been craving ramen this week after hearing good things about the ramen here when it had been a special here the week before. It was delicious, and as paired perfectly with my try at the salted key lime donut.

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Afterward we photo adventured in the nearby fields and neighborhoods of south Phoenix. It was all such a good morning.

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Pasadena CA

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On my last day visiting my friend Stephanie, she had me meet her at a favorite coffee shop of hers in Old Town Pasadena. I was glad for some more hangs… The whole trip was last minute and it was so nice to be welcomed into Stephanie’s daily life with her friends and her local lifestyle of her favorite coffee shops for a few days.

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So we met at Copa Vida, definitely a coffee shop with classic style vibes, for some last convos.

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Of course, I got coffee, and this Nutella croissant that the barista recommended to me.

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After coffee, we parted and I explored the area. I’ve come to appreciate exploring on my own in travel. I prefer experiencing a place with someone for the memories it makes, but a lot of time, travel means no alone time to have your thoughts to yourself and relax, so it was extremely nice to see this new place alone for a few hours.

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I found an Urban Outfitters… A favorite of mine. So I bought some “souvenirs.” Haha. I feel like during travel you have to pretend money isn’t an issue. It’s kind of nice to live like that for a few days before going back to reality.

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There were lots of great stumble upon spaces that day . Everything had great style, architecture and light. Like these shops with warehouse-esque style featuring high ceilings at Intelligencia, and her neighbor of various vendors selling pies, juices, etc.

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Before she left, Stephanie had recommended wandering the alleys, so I did. Down one of the alleys, this juice bar was hiding.

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And from this moment on, I was really into ginger lemonade. Seriously, the best, and I recommend it if you ever discover it somewhere. So glad I took that advice and looked through the alleys.

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Definitely loved Old Town Pasadena. One of Stephanie’s favorite cities became one of mine that day.

Costa Mesa CA – The Lab Anti-Mall and SoCo

I had come to town for a wedding of mutual friends of me and Emma. It was a great opportunity for a reunion with friends I had lived in Italy with. It was exciting to see Emma again since it had been six months since we were together in Italy. We started our few days together at The Lab: Anti-Mall. A small outdoor vintage boutique and restaurant mall.

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We ate lunch at The Lab’s Gypsy Den where my old roommate from Italy, Amy, met us. It was so refreshing to be with both of them again. I had missed all our travel memories together so it was so great to reminisce and laugh together. And I should have gotten the nachos like Emma haha.

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I love going to Urban Outfitters and can’t get enough of it especially on vacation. Definitely hit it up a couple times with Emma, including after lunch at the Gypsy Den, where it was next door. It was such a surreal experience to shop with these friends that I had met and lived with in Italy. Urban Outfitters is such an American experience I had missed in Italy, and it was fun to have this American experience with these friends I’ve never experienced American culture with.

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On Saturday, we did the best thing possible: farmers marketing. Emma was the best host and local to welcome me into her daily life for a few days and take me around to her favorite cute spots. For our morning, we went to SoCo for their outdoor farmers market and indoor boutiques.

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We went through the farmers market booths and bought plums since Emma is obsessed and shopped through cute succulents.

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Then we went indoors. A super cute space! We got coffee at Portola Coffee Lab, sat down to read for a bit (love friends to do that with!), and shopped through the boutiques.

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This vacation was the best for trying new pretty local craft coffee shops. Portola Coffee Lab was definitely a pretty one with good coffee.

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