Café Love: Artisan Roast

I did it! I finally took some pictures of the best place in Edinburgh to get a cup of coffee (says the girl who doesn’t drink coffee).

So I’m no expert, but Will’s favorite coffee in Edinburgh is Artisan Roast. Hands down. It’s the highlight of his week when he buys his beans. They’ve had a bit of a reputation for being a serious place for coffee—maybe too serious… But they’ve been re-vamping their style. Before it was a bit too hipster, if you know what I mean. Like, there were burlap sacks decorating the walls—which you can still see in their back room—but it’s toned it down some. It’s much more welcoming to us normal folk. ;) There’s a location in Broughton, but usually we go to Bruntsfield. For us it has a neighborhood feel and is a great place to meet up with a friend over a really good cup of coffee.

Both shops are pretty cozy, but they have an open-plan vibe for more space, and you can watch the baristas at work. And if you’re lucky, or if Cambell’s working, you can get a lesson on how they brew your coffee just right.

Another cool thing about Artisan Roast is that they care about sustainability and creating long-term relationships with farmers. Their beans are fair-trade, organic, and/or part of the Rainorest Alliance certification scheme. Everything’s appropriate for the season and fresh throughout the year. Or that’s at least what Will tells me. ;)

138 Bruntsfield Pl, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH10 4ER

57 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3RJ

Café Love: The Chocolate Tree

For chocolate lovers in Edinburgh, or visiting Edinburgh, you have got to visit The Chocolate Tree! It’s such a wonderful cafe AND a wonderful company! The Chocolate Tree not only provides locally made Scottish chocolate but also strives to “better the lives of the farmers and promoting biodiversity” (their words).

I’ve been here a handful of times and just love to indulge. It’s one of those places where you have to. It’s hard to pick between any of their hot cocoas, gelato, macarons, cakes, truffles, and of course, their chocolates. Good luck trying.

I love their white chocolate hot cocoa and Aya and I couldn’t resist trying some of their macarons.

I first discovered The Chocolate Tree a couple of years ago at one of the weekend markets. Will and I bought some chocolate from them to bring back home to our families… which, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna do again. If there’s something the UK does right, it’s chocolate… and sweets in general really.

So, if your’e looking for a little chocolate indulgence, you’ve gotta hit up The Chocolate Tree.

You’re welcome.

Café Love: Piecebox

It’s been too long since I shared with you a cafe here in Edinburgh so let me tell you about Piecebox.

Piecebox  is actually one of the closer cafes to me but I don’t find myself going here as often as I feel like I should. It’s seriously so close and a great cafe. They supply Artisan Roast coffee (which is a must-drink for all of you coffee lovers out there) and Jenier Tea (I love the mocha chai). All of their food is homemade and made that morning; and if it’s not made my them it’s made by someone who’s local.

Another bonus is their seating. There’s a lot of sofas and comfy chairs and it doesn’t feel over crowded. It’s also a great place for parents with strollers because there’s enough space to maneuver around with one (not that I know from personal experience…). Space is a big deal for me because I don’t like feeling in the way and some cafes will litter the floor with tables and chairs thinking that’s how to get the “cozy” feeling. Wrong. Piecebox has got it down right.

And that’s Piecbox for you! I really do need to take advantage of how close this place is (it’s just a five minute walk!). The food is delicious (you’ve gotta try the pancakes!), great hot drinks, and cozy seating! Perfect for Scottish weather!

Café Love: Loudon’s

Will update: Everything is going so well for Will! He’s feeling more and more comfortable in Tubingen and making great friends through his hall mates. He’s planning a Thanksgiving dinner with them for this weekend and I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

 

So, whenever Will and I are home and thinking about going to a cafe together that’s close by we always end up at Loudon’s. It’s right down the street from us and has everything we’d want from a cafe: really good teas for me, artisan roast coffees for Will , and fresh homemade treats for the both of us! Oh, and they offer a delicious breakfast you’ve got to try! I love Loudon’s atmosphere. It’s a family business, welcoming, and it has massive windows for a ton of natural light. Loudon’s also has space for everyone from the student studying for finals, the business partners talking business, to the mom taking her kids out for an afternoon treat. AND it’s open until 6:30pm, which is a bonus!

I really enjoy going to Loudon’s and love that it’s close by. I’ll meet up with friends there and work on the blog there and edit pictures and read and knit there. It’s a great cafe!

Café Love: Brew Lab

This week’s cafe is for all of you Coffee geeks out there: Brew Lab. Now, I’m not a coffee drinker in any way, shape, or form, but we had heard that this new cafe opened up that was serious about their coffee and was THE new place to go for the best coffee in Edinburgh. Apparently, Artisan Roast has some competition?

Now, my theory is that Artisan Roast is where coffee is made by hipster artists and Brew Lab is where coffee is made by hipster scientists. Both make really good coffee (according to the coffee expert of the fam… Will) but just go about it with their own style.

I know that some of you have no clue what Artisan Roast is but I’ll put it on the list of places to check out and share so we can further this discussion!

Café Love: Lovecrumbs

Will and I love going to cafes! We love settling into a cozy corner with our laptops or books and making ourselves at home with a hot cup of tea (or coffee of you swing that way)! Especially when it’s one of our favorites. So, with this love for cafes I thought I would highlight my favorite cozy cafes and some new ones I try out.

I’ll kick start this little mini-series with  Lovecrumbs! Oh man, oh man I looooooooove Lovecrumbs! I know I’ve said this a ton of times before but it seriously is my most favoritest cafe ever. With it’s friendly staff, welcoming atmosphere, and delicious desserts it’s become my go-to cafe. I actually went there twice this past weekend to meet up with friends.

Lovecrumbs started off as two women who are bakers and decided to open up their own cafe (probably to show off their amazing baking skills). All of the staff are really nice and I love asking what they recommend. That’s how I got hooked on their lemongrass and marigold tea! Anything I’ve ever eaten of theirs has had me in dessert bliss. They make tarts, flapjacks, cakes, brownies, cheesecakes, scones, and other sweets. Their talent knows no limit.

So, if you’re in the neighborhood, check out Lovecrumbs! You won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and if you decide you need a whole dessert for yourself, they still take orders. They just need 48hrs notice. I might be ordering a rose and pistachio cake (pictured above) in the near future!!

The Big 3-0

Will update: Will got a tour of the library in Tübingen last week and hasn’t left! He literally told me that all he needed was me and then he’d be in Heaven! So, I’m glad to know I still beat out library mecca. But, seriously, Will has started his classes and so it’s helped to provide a little more structure and socializing.  And thank you, Will’s friends, for keeping in touch with him. You guys are awesome!

 

I’ve done it. I’ve stepped into a new decade… my thirties.

You know, I’ve never thought about my thirties. I had always imagined I’d go straight from 29 to 40 and be this wise and patient woman. Um, yeah, this is going to be a looooooong decade.

I will say that Will helped me to welcome my thirties the right way… with breakfast in bed and my happy birthday songs! And can I say that those hash browns were the freakin’ best hash browns I had ever had!

After breakfast there was second breakfast! My friend Olivia hosted me and some of my friends for a birthday brunch! And yes, this is the Olivia of “Olivia and James” and she is back from Africa! And I love love love having her back! And, yes, her and James are still dating! Go Team James!!!!!!

After the tea it was time for this year’s New College Women’s Tea.

After the tea, I met up with Will and we walked home together. Then, we got ready for dinner. A fancy dinner! We went to Kyloe where we had the best steaks we had ever had in our lives. Seriously, the. best. And those flowers in the back are sunflowers Will had arranged with the staff to put out for us. They’re my favorite: sunflowers.

It was such a wonderful day! It really was!

Ok, now down to some business… my 29 year old to-do list.

1. Run a race in the UK. I ran a 10k down in London for a company charity event.

2. Read some books. Let’s be honest, I’m not a reader. I’d rather watch it than read it #sorrynotsorry . But I did get through Anne Frank’s Diary and enjoyed it.

3. Learn how to use my sewing machine. Nope. No sewing was learned on my sewing machine that is now back with its rightful owner (it was on loan).

4. Better cooking and meal-planning. I think that’s up for Will to decide but I’m actually pretty happy with where I’m at in my culinary skills. And I’ve done a pretty good job of staying in budget but having decent meals to eat. Go me!

5. Be a pet owner. I don’t want to talk about it.

6. Get to know our neighbors and have them over. Well, I’ve met 3 out of 7 neighbors and when I offered to have them come over for Thanksgiving, uh, they didn’t. But I baked them all cookies and shortbread last year so I think they like me.

7. Improve my photography. I think I’m getting better but now I have a lot more learning to do. What do you guys think? Have I gotten better?

8. Learn how to surf. November is not the ideal time to do this, but that’s when we did it… and it was awesome! I’d love to go again. But maybe during a warmer time.

9. Make the flat more like how Will and I want it. I love our flat! I need to do a post on some of the things I love about it.

10. Knit something complicated. I made this ear warmer… twice!

So, there you have it. It was a productive final year of my 20’s. Bring it on 30!

Expat To Expat: August/September

Clarendon Crescent

I just discovered Expat to Expat from My Life In Scotland so I’m linking up with a couple other expats for the months of August and September. I’ll be doing these monthly to be able to give you a little more insight into my “expat” life.

What is your favourite food store?
I don’t go there often (and it’s more expensive) but I love going to Waitrose! The store is always clean and the food packaging is beautiful and they have everything – food wise. But I get my groceries delivered from Tesco and my veggies and eggs from East Coast Organics.

Is it OK to buy store brand items or do you pay more for name brand?
I haven’t had any issues with store brands (from either Waitrose or Tesco) so I tend to just stick with them.

What is the best way to go around my city?
Edinburgh is really “walkable” and the buses are amazing here. I’d love to say it’s easy to ride my bike but it’s really hilly… need I say more?
Also, Edinburgh’s new “shame” are the Tramworks and apparently they’re scheduled to be up and running by May 2014. I think they’re intended to make City Centre more accessible to those who live outside of the centre so we’ll see how it all ends up.

Where is the best place to get a cup of coffee {or beverage you prefer} and catch up with friends?
For all of you coffee lovers I hear Artisan Roast and Brew Lab are the places to go. But, for me and my tea-loving-self, I love going to Lovecrumbs and Loudon’s. Loudon’s is close by and clean and their massive windows allow for a lot of natural light in (and in a city where we get an average of 50 sunny days a year, that’s really important). Lovecrumbs is, well, bliss. I get really excited when I go to Lovecrumbs because of their cakes! They get their tea from Anteaques and make their own homemade cakes and desserts every morning. And what’s tea without a delicious cake to accompany it?

What was your eureka, “I’m practically a native” moment?
Anytime someone asks me for directions (and I actually know how to get them there) is a little victory for me. It makes me feel like I look like I know my way around this city (little do they know… just kidding!). As well as any time I look right first before crossing the street. It’s the little things.

Does your accent get in the way?
Well, I don’t think it does but I spend a lot of time on the phone at work and so that has caused more problem on my end than theirs. If I say the word , “Scottish”, people tend to understand me better when I pronounce it “Sco-ish” with a slight accent.
But, you have go to check this video out about weird Scottish words! I’ve heard (and seen) a lot of these in action.

How do you fit into your new culture without losing some of your identity?
There have been some moments where I feel like maybe I was a bit abrasive in my comments or intrusive in my questions but that’s just me. I have that problem anywhere I go with anyone I meet. I do feel that I’ve been pretty fortunate to have made some friends that don’t laugh at my questions about how to “properly” serve tea and how to say certain words or how in God’s beautiful earth do you turn on an old gas oven. No joke. Will and I called our friend Ben to come over and teach me how to turn on my gas oven… which we realized that the pilot light was broken and I had to practically crawl in it and light a match to get it on… Sylvia Plath anyone?!

What do you think your biggest trigger for homesickness is?
Birthdays. My family does birthdays perfectly. And because my birthday is this weekend (Saturday, to be exact!) I’ve noticed, much like last year, I’m homesick and really missing my family a lot. I’m constantly wishing that I would wake up on Saturday morning with the expected “HAAAAAAAPPYYYYYYYY BIIIIIIIIRTHDAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!!” and birthday songs (we sing two birthday songs to the birthday person: the traditional birthday song and a Puerto Rican happy birthday song… feliz, feliz en tu dia…!) and cake and balloons and presents and lots of morning breath! Oh I love my family so much and I love how much we love each other.