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.