Thursday, August 13, 2015

Greehouse Effect Coffee & Crepes, Salt Lake City, UT

I have been to Greenhouse Effect many times and it is possible I have even blogged about this location before, but that is because it is a wonderful spot to grab a coffee and chill alone or with friends... Speaking of spots, it comes up quickly if you are heading North on 900 East and is well hidden by lots of green foliage. There is a parking lot behind the building and access just to the North of the café. If you miss the turn, just park on the streets-it's probably the best option anyway as the parking spaces are tight. Luckily no one dinged my new Subaru after I parked it at the corner where the parking lot bends.

So I walk into Greenhouse Effect after passing a college aged man reading and smoking on the patio and a pleasant business man heading out the door and into a dimly lit entry . I have never ordered food here and so I asked for a recommendation for a savory crepe. The barista let me know that the Veggie and California are the most popular. She then let me know that her favorite (off menu?) is an avocado and black bean--I LOVE avocado and immediately chose this one. She said she'd check if she had the ingredients on hand...a moment later she came back and I was in luck :-)

Now, I am going to say something that may shock some of you, but I think I actually like avocados more than coffee... I know what you're thinking and although an avocado blog would be quite unique, I would then have to start reviewing busy lunch spots and then I'd have to find someone to tag along and then I couldn't tell you all about the books that I'm reading....

Anyways, so Greenhouse Effect features PLENTY of outdoor seating and about 5 indoor spots. I stopped in on July 28th at 11:30 am, when much of the patio was shaded with umbrellas and foliage which provided a comfortable atmosphere, even on a 82 degree day.

The plants are well maintained (applause here) and all over the patio. The interior wood floors squeak and the café currently features comic style art--though I was saddened to see that my favorite painting of a green alien girl holding a cup of coffee is now gone after several years of being on the back wall.

I do appreciate their "No smoking" sign on the door, though that did not stop 1 customer from living it up anyways.

The staff have always been friendly here. I have never had a complaint as far as service. But you should know it is a laid back, slower feel. Don't expect to walk in, pay, and get your double macchiato extra whip hold the espresso in under 4 minutes I would say.

As for menu, they've got a picture on their facebook page, but basically: coffee, lattes, chai tea, hot chocolate, and sweet and savory crepes. Speaking of, my crepe was very tasty and filling! When will I learn not to eat everything on my plate just because it tastes good?

Price: $9.10 total including $1.50 for a small 12 oz. mug of coffee ($0.93 refills available-not bad). Served in a ceramic mug and plate--real dishes :-)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Les Madeleines, Salt Lake City, UT

It always feels good to be out enjoying life when normally at this time of day I would be working.

Several weeks ago, I took a Tuesday off to get some errands done. First stop: the DMV. That alone is worthy of a day off and a treat.

Afterwards, I stopped at Les Madeleines, which is on 500 South, just across from The City Library, The Leonardo Museum and near the Matheson Courthouse. It is on the South side of the street and only has a tiny sign along the building, so watch closely for it or just park and trust me--it's there and worth the couple of dollars you'll have to spend for city street parking. Saturday features 2 hour free parking and Sundays are always free.

First, I will say that the staff was wonderful. While I was waiting in line, another staff member offered to get any pastries I wanted ready for me. After finding out I was staying, she placed my Kouing Aman on an actual plate (always appreciated) which keyed me to ask for my Chai Latte 'to stay' as well.

The cafe' is just the perfect size. It was clean, well lit and inviting with bar seating and several tables. As you walk in the entrance, to your left on the wall is a magazine rack with several options to peruse if you stopped by impromptu.  Water with floating lemons and ice, along with actual glass glasses, sit at the ready for your use.

The bathroom was clean and nicely decorated. The café also featured some neat pictures on the wall labelled by their city location (I perused the Seattle and Columbia pics).


I chose to sit in their outdoor patio area, which was well shaded at 10 am. 500 South was a little noisy with traffic, but there were also periods of calm, allowing me to appreciate the chirping birds and chime of the nearby clock tower from the courthouse.

Now for the best part--I ordered their signature pastry: Kouing Aman, which originated in Brittany, France. It has a crisp, sugary outside and a soft, flaky inside. Butter and honey flavours melt in your mouth.

The pastry was just under $5.00, which is typical for a Salt Lake City Bakery. 12 oz. Chai Latte, about $4.50. Rosemary cookies, $0.95 each.

Please post in the comment section what you think of this amazing pastry and quaint café after you've given them a try.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble, Sugarhouse, UT

Hello world! It has been quite a while since my last post, but I've decided to jump back in. I miss reminiscing about coffee shops and the quirky experiences that I sometimes encounter.

Today, Friday, July 3rd I spontaneously decided to stop at the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble in Sugarhouse. I realize that anyone who drinks coffee knows all about Starbucks--whether you are a lover or a hater. However, I love the atmosphere of a coffee shop inside a bookstore and I always love the atmosphere of Sugarhouse.

I ordered a Grande Iced Vanilla Latte, which took no time at all to receive, due to the bookstore being fairly quite this evening. I found a table alongside the windows. There is actually a four-person table in the Northwest corner that provides a nice view of the courtyard across the street. It was fun to see all sorts of people (old and young, clean and shabby) walking and driving by. I even saw a few joggers waiting at the stop light.

Cleanliness: Average. The tables were wiped clean, but the floor had probably not been cleaned since that morning. Crumbs, napkins and paper scraps scattered.

Volume: Fairly quite, four of the fifteen(ish) tables were taken, but most people were by themselves reading a book or paired up and quietly talking to their friend. There was a dull chatter from the store in the background, along with the occasional exclamation of an excited child running through the store.

Book: I am currently re-reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I read this book about eleven years ago for the first time and its funny how perceptions and interpretations can change. I remember absolutely loving the first half of the book and being so jealous of character Esther Greenwood's New York magazine experience. It seemed so glamorous and I thought Esther was living it up as a socialite. I did not quite enjoy her downward spiral of mental health, but still finished the book. This time however, I notice right away that Esther is not too happy: "I was supposed to be having the time of my life. I was supposed to be the envy of thousands of other college girls just like me all over America who wanted nothing more than to be tripping about in those same size-seven patent leather shoes I'd bought in Bloomindale's one lunch hour...."

I'm not quite so jealous of Esther this time around. I suppose this is a good example of 'we see what we want to see.' Anyways, for those who have not yet read The Bell Jar, I highly recommend this book. Although it is a classic, I would easily describe it as easy to read, but worth your time.

On a side note: It was quite nice to have an hour of reading without my little yorkie in my lap vying for my attention.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

High Point Coffee, West Jordan, UT

It's been a while since my last post and while I have visited many coffee shops between now and then I have no great excuse for not blogging sooner- I even took notes quite a few times, but never used them!

So last Thursday I visited High Point Coffee, a shop I had been to once before for my book club. I remember liking the shop. It has a very laid back and inviting feeling to it. While waiting for your coffee to be made they have about twenty little quotes scattered along the front of their counter, giving you a little entertainment while you wait.

I ordered a 16 oz. Iced Raspberry Mocha with whip cream- Oops, there goes my waist line!! Actually I always order whip cream when trying a new place just to check it out and see if it is quality and High Point Coffee's definitely is- very good, made with real whipping cream and a little sugar.

So for anyone who owns one of those Entertainment Coupon books, there is a buy one item, get one item free (up to $5 value or something like that) coupon in there, which is what brought me to High Point Coffee on this occasion. I hate to say it, but I'm glad I didn't pay for the pastry I ordered to go with my latte- a Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish- because I was not at all impressed. It tasted like something you might get out of the donut case of a gas station (not good). So I only had about three bites and threw the rest away.

As for the book I was reading- for pleasure/ preparation, mind you- it is called Operations & Supply Chain Management by Verma & Boyer. I was reading this rather than my typical novel because beginning in January I am headed back to school full time to finish my bachelor's degree. I'm very excited for this opportunity- I'll be working toward a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Supply Chain Management and should be done after Spring semester 2012! I'll be headed back to the school where I received my associate in general studies degree- Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. But fear not- I will still be working two days a week in Salt Lake City, so hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things and continue blogging about cafe's all along the Wasatch Front.


CLEANLINESS: Excellent. Did visit the ladies room to fix my hair, as far as I can remember it was clean.

SERVICE: Great. If anything, the gentleman helping me may have been a little too helpful- but I know he was only trying to help when he tried making suggestions. I said to him that I usually have a hard time deciding what to get because I could order anything and like it, to which he said was a tall order. I amended to say anything on the menu would be acceptable. He mentioned a former coworker who once made a suicide- a drink with a little of each syrup they had- which sounds horrible and to which he seemed to think as well- that would be much too sweet and probably not drinkable. He even offered to make something similar to a Snickers latte as I pondered the menu- very friendly.

ATMOSPHERE: Great. Very open and spacious with little nooks throughout the room. Each corner had a couple of chairs and tables. I chose to sit in a leather seat near the door which was also in front of a gas fireplace, very cozy. There is even a meeting room which offers a little privacy with glass windows, and a door. The music seemed to be of the employees choice- the first song I noticed was death metal, but it calmed down to various rock and christmas songs after that.

WOULD I RECOMMEND? Most definitely! The latte was great and the seating was comfortable.

High Point Coffee
1735 West 7800 South [Just West of Redwood Road]
South Jordan, UT

Espresso. Wi-Fi (easy to use, no password necessary). Biscotti. Pastries (though wouldn't recommend). Tea. Smoothies. Coffee. Frappes.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Starbucks, Riverton, UT

Yesterday was a perfect Starbucks day (work was another story, so coffee was definitely needed)...

I received an email a couple of days from Starbucks (I'm letting my true colors show now- I am a HUGE fan of Starbucks and while I'm trying new places, it's made me miss the known comfort of my first true coffee love) letting me know that their Pumpkin Spice Latte & Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino drinks are back, along with a new flavor Toffee Mocha. So I decided that Friday I would finally take advantage of their Summer Treat Receipt Promo (buy any drink before 2pm, come back after 2pm to enjoy any grande size cold drink for $2).

I actually stopped by their 90th South and Redwood store in the morning, ran in and ordered a Grande Toffee Mocha Latte on my way to work. It was really good! A sweet signature drink flavor that seemed similar to their other latte flavors.

On the way home from work I went over to their Riverton store, as this has become my favorite among the locations closest to my Herriman home. I ordered a Grande Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino with whip cream and sat outside on their patio. I love this location because they have 5 leather couches among the other seating in their dining area and then an additional 6 tables outside on their patio, which gives me plenty of area to pick that perfect comfy spot.


CLEANLINESS: Clean as far as I can tell. I was briefly in the dining/ordering area and then sat outside. The outside tables were clean. The bathroom was clean but needs a bit of an update.

Great. The barista even commented that she liked how I kept my card and receipt in my book (which I did so that I wouldn't have to bring my purse in).

ATMOSPHERE: It was a lazy time for the Starbucks crew as the entire hour I was there only 2 cars passed the patio area to order through their drive-up, which goes right past their patio area. I think my only complaint would have to be that I kept getting whiffs of french fries from one of the nearby fast food chains, and the occasional whiff of chicken from the nearby Wingers which made me hungry. It is a little off the main road, so the traffic noise was minimal.

Yep, as I said this is one of the locations I really enjoy. It's bright with lots of windows and has a very open and welcoming feeling.

134th South & Bangerter, Riverton
3728 West 13400 South
Riverton, UT 84065


Coffee. Espresso. Hot Chocolate. Pastries. Oatmeal. Breakfast Sandwiches. Tea. Smoothies.

I am currently reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins the third book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. The series follows Katniss and Peeta as they try to survive Suzanne's version of future United States known as Panem. The country has been divided into thirteen districts and the capitol. The thirteenth district was destroyed after they tried to rebel against the capitol, leaving only twelve surviving districts and the creation of a yearly event called The Hunger Games. Once a year two tributes are chosen from each of the twelve districts (one boy and one girl) and they are placed in an arena and forced to kill one another until only one victor remains. The citizens of each district are required to watch the event on their television as a reminder and punishment of the rebellion about 75 years ago. I don't want to spoil anything so I wont say what is actually happening in the third book. I LOVED the first two books as Suzanne really keeps your attention with her unforeseen story twists and even left us with a cliff hanger after the second book. The third book however, I'm not really sure about and want to complete it before I decide weather I love it or dislike it. I will say however that so far it is nothing like what I could have predicted or imagined.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Diva's Cupcakes & Coffee, Salt Lake City, UT. 2nd Visit.

Overpriced coffee cake + lukewarm latte + slow service = Nicole will probably not be visiting again anytime soon.

I visited Diva's Cupcakes again yesterday, this time with a friend from my bible study. I got a 16 oz. decaf hazelnut latte and a piece of blueberry pecan coffee cake which totaled $7.49 (versus about $6.04 at Starbucks, btw). I was a little surprised at the price and maybe should have taken the coffee cake off, but it is what it is. Service was a little slow because the same person who takes the orders also prepares the drinks and gets your pastries plated for you.

The biggest disappointment however was that my latte was not nearly hot enough, I'd say it was warm. Which means after about 2 minutes in a ceramic mug it was lukewarm. It tasted good, I just wish it had been served hot. The coffee cake was OK, a little dry. I did appreciate that it had fresh blueberries on it.

I would say the best part of this visit was my company. We were able to sit on the back patio for about 45 minutes to chat, before it was off to bible study.

Overall, I am still amazed with the back patio and it's feeling as if you've been whisked out of salt lake city and into someone's suburban back yard. However, I am just not impressed at all with their bakery- which is a shame.

Book Review:

On a side note, I do want to mention a book I just finished reading for all of you who can stomach a little more vampire culture. Blood Oath, by Christopher Farnsworth does have two vampires in it, who do avoid the sunlight, but this is where the similarities with Twilight end. Blood Oath is about the president's vampire who has been around for about 140 years. Cade does not sparkle and could care less if he is wearing designer threads. Instead he lives in a secret underground compartment below the white house and helps out in keeping the United States President alive in only the most serious of threats- those started by other undead creatures. I liked it despite the fact that there was no romance and more war action than dialog. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction novels and/or vampires.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

PERKS! Espresso & Smoothies, St. George, UT

So last week I went on a week long vacation to St. George, resulting in my first post from the road! (Well sort of, I'm back at home now since I had better things to do than spend 40 minutes blogging about a cafe when I could be in the pool swimming and relaxing).

So while in St. George I was in the mood for coffee (of course- I'm always in the mood for coffee) and hence I drove down the street looking for the nearest coffee shop. We chose PERKS! which had I been alone, I might have driven somewhere else. The place looked nice from the outside, but the sign for its' namesake was brightly colored with a little cartoon drawing of a guy all hopped up on coffee, if not something stronger.

I was actually just wanting plain old coffee, but didn't see it on the menu so I ordered an iced Almond flavored latte. My friend, who felt that three in the afternoon was a little late to drink coffee, ordered a strawberry smoothie. The drinks were good, no complaints there. They had a comfy couch next to a coffee table strewn with various magazines and a couple sets of dominoes, so we opted for the couch.


Cleanliness: Clean, but a disorganized feeling as far as decor and furnishings went.

Service: Great. The girl who helped me was very patient as I looked over the menu and tried to make suggestions for me.

Atmosphere: Not the best. The flooring was a beautiful, dark stone tiles. The walls were painted a nice, toned down light brown. The furniture was an eclectic mix and there was pottery on display in one area. They also had their multi-colored crazy sign inside the cafe, which did help in the attempt of a welcoming atmosphere. As my friend put it- "they seem to be having an identity crisis."

Would I recommend: Maybe, if you use the drive-thru. I don't think that I would be back to spend much time in their dining area. Also, as I was leaving, I noticed a bunch of aprons hanging near the door (presumably for the staff) as well as a tiny, super cluttered employee office to the right, and a cluttered hallway to the left.

I do have to say that I loved their cold drink cups, however. They were clear with little orange and yellow flowers on them, a nice touch.

PERKS! Espresso & Smoothies
1515 W. Sunset Blvd.
St. George, UT

Espresso drinks. Smoothies. soda. Kearns juice. bagels. muffins. chocolate covered espresso beans.