Category Archives: Explore


ICP: Ellipsis Review

April 28, 2016

ellipsis review
ellipsis review

I’m still doing a lot of work from home, so a good work cafe is essential for getting out of the house. Ellipsis Coffeehouse strikes a good balance of inviting and productive work space. They have a great alternative rock playlist and really great service.

If you’re new to the blog or Indie Coffee Passport, hop on over to this post to see what it is, how it works, and how you can start your own coffee adventure.

ellipsis review

Out of all the ICP’s so far, this was the most no-frills. I wouldn’t go out of my way, but it’s still a cafe deeply committed to coffee & their community. Settle in with a baked good from Lovely Bake Shoand enjoy the neighborhood feel. If you’re doing ICP, these are the drinks your passport can get you.

  1. Tea Hot or Iced
  2. Coffee Hot or Iced
  3. Pour Over
  4. Latte Hot or Iced
  5. Espresso
  6. Cappuccino Hot

ellipsis review

What I had:
Pour Over (Counter Culture)
Chocolate Scone

They let me pick between 3 different Counter Culture beans. They have a seasonal rotating list, so be sure to ask about the options! The pour over was pretty good, maybe a bit sour. Couldn’t tell if it was my bean choice or the brewing.

I don’t know what their usual baked good section looks like, but the day I was there the selection was slim. Went with a chocolate scone that ended up being more of a dense cake, but still good. Service was A+.

Next time:
I’ve seen most of the ICP’s serving Rishi or Spirit teas. I love the Spirit teas, and would love to bring a friend to try the Rishi tea flight at Ellipsis.


The Sunday Spot 4.24.16

April 24, 2016

Sunday Spot

This is my last week as a freelancer! It’s an incredibly transit time right now and these little Sunday moment help me slow down. Or at least kick back with lots of drinking and shopping…

I’ve been working on a cocktail recipe, and Food52’s French press infusion  has me looking at even more kitchen gear.
Chicago peeps! Gather Home + Lifestyle is having a Spring popup shop with Foxtail + Moss TODAY 1-4.
I’ve made it over a quarter of the way through the Indie Coffee Passport Challenge! The Northside magazine from the photo was picked up at Heritage Outpost.

I’m also thinking of starting monthly mood board post- what do you guys think?


The Sunday Spot 4.17.16

April 17, 2016

Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy the weekend when you’re constantly thinking about what’s next. I know for me this weekend has been full spring cleaning & next week will be full throttle at work. That’s why I’m bring back “weekend links” posts.

These Sunday posts are a last pause before the next week. Panoply’s Happier Podcast discusses how scheduling relaxation, actually putting it on your to-do list, allows you to worry less about everything else and get a more rejuvenating break. So treat yourself to an hour of uninterrupted vegging- all the other junk will still be there.
PS: Series name still TBD, so if you have any ideas, leave them below!

Get out of the city for a weekend or test drive tiny house living.
Watch this music video once for the most amazing animation, and twice for the beautiful song.
See the design trends coming out of Milan’s Furniture Fair.
Chicago peeps, run your tax return funds straight to TUSK to update your spring wardrobe.
And if not in Chicago, Marimekko Target line comes out today!


ICP: Caffe Streets Review

April 16, 2016

Caffe Streets Review
caffe streets review

Last cafe review in Wicker Park- Caffe Streets. I still stand by my claim that Wicker Park has the cutest shops & coziest cafes. But, Caffe Streets had a lot to live up to after Buzz: Killer Espresso.

If you’re new to the blog or Indie Coffee Passport, hop on over to this post to see what it is, how it works, and how you can start your own coffee adventure.

caffe streets review

I might be doing too many of these reviews… The only time I go out for coffee now is for ICP and I’m finding a lot of taste overlap. Yes, they’re all coffee houses and a lot use the same beans, but some seem to only deliver that “coffee house sameness”.

Don’t get me wrong, the brews are still better and the coziness usually higher than your average Starbucks. I’d still sooner reach for an Indie cup. But… the cafes that stand out the most are the ones that do something extra to the coffee, really make it their own. I didn’t find Caffe Streets to offer anything different besides the well designed interior. If you’re doing ICP, these are the drinks your passport can get you.

  1. Double Espresso
  2. Cappuccino
  3. Latte
  4. Drip Coffee
  5. Chai

caffe streets review

What I had:
Drip Coffee
Cinnamon Chip Scone

Caffe Streets serves straight Metric Coffee, Time Machines Juices, but makes their baked good in house (from what I could tell). I feel like I paid a premium for the beautiful interior design instead of the coffee or scone.

Next time:
I’ll try a Time Machine juice. They’re coffee menu was very standard and the baked goods pricier than others, so I won’t be making a special trip for those.

Eat - Explore

ICP: Buzz Killer Espresso Review

April 5, 2016

Buzz Killer Espresso Review
Buzz Killer Espresso Review

I’m sorry Oak Park, but there’s a new Park in my life- I’m quickly falling for Wicker Park. Adorable shops & cozy cafes have stolen my heart. Last ICP review was for another Wicker Park spot, Bru Cafe, and I had debated doubling down cafes on the same day (though Buzz is technically Bucktown, Bru & Buzz are only a 10 minute walk from each other). I’m glad I gave Buzz: Killer Espresso it’s own day though. This spot has fast passed it’s way to 1st place.

If you’re new to the blog or Indie Coffee Passport, hop on over to this post to see what it is, how it works, and how you can start your own coffee adventure.

Buzz Killer Espresso Review

Buzz: Killer Espresso hit everything I want in a coffee shop: It’s a well thought out space with plenty of natural light, divided areas for silent work or socializing, music at just the right background noise level, & of course great coffee with the perfect pastries to compliment it.

Unlike a lot of the ICP cafes, they don’t try to be everything. Yes, there is still wifi, but their focus is more on good coffee and less “everything but the kitchen sink”. Their baked goods are from Vanille– a great French bakery that I now need to hunt down. If you’re doing ICP, these are the drinks your passport can get you.

  1. Black Diamond Pour Over
  2. Cold Brew
  3. Espresso Shot
  4. Small Latter
  5. Tea

Buzz Killer Espresso Review

What I had:
Black Diamond Pour
Apricot Cookie
Almond Cookie

The pour over was incredibly smooth and the perfect temperature. One of my biggest gripes with coffee houses is how their brews cool too quickly after being served. Coffee makers, please explain how this happens. Is it the cup the coffee is served in? The brewing temperature?

Whatever the technique, Buzz: Killer Espresso has it down pat. A lot of people compare it to Wormhole, another spot in Wicker Park, so I might have to do a cross comparison review later.

Next time:
I’ll get some loose leaf tea (they serve it in clear teapots!) & one of every pastry.