Posts Tagged ‘coffee emporium’

our version of break the chain day took us back downtown (is it remarkable to note that i’ve driven to and parked downtown exactly three times, and each time i’ve parked in exactly the same spot?). our best bets for christmas gifts:

at park & vine:

for your too-cool auntie: super-absorbent flour-sack tea towels, 2/$18

for your mobo bicycle co-op loving bff: “i rode my bike to work today” t-shirts, lusciously soft and surprisingly thick: $5

for the garden-loving friend: greeting cards with wildflower seeds embedded in the paper. plant the whole biodegradable card for a cornerful of cheer next summer.

at mica 12/v:

the most gorgeously luxe felted scarves (felted but, i’m pretty sure, not knitted) from super maggie: $58 (and worth every penny!)

for your upscale holiday party hostess: porcelain-like tree ornaments in the origami shapes of a reindeer and a swan: $6

for your bare-walled iconoclast: b&w photo of “the god squad” — a funny, funky and slightly freaky collection of jesus and mary icons: $300 (unframed)

at metronation:

for the tot you know: the cutest, locally-made socks you can find. i can’t remember the name of the company or the price for a box, but just go in and ask. the staff is friendly and will be happy to help.

but the real highlight of our adventure was finding the coffee emporium on central parkway. i did not expect it to appeal to me even as much as the location on erie and victoria, but i like it even more. it is big. wide open. comfy-industrial. and the aztec moka — hint of coffee, hit of chocolate, and a tongue-zap of spices — can not be beat.

the service will be slow, however, if while you are waiting for your coffee the mayor of cincinnati comes in. we ordered. the barista started our order. the mayor came in. the mayor chatted with the cashier. the mayor ordered. the barista tried to give the first drink of our order to the mayor. the mayor politetly noted that it wasn’t his drink. the barista tried to give the drink to me. i politely noted that it wasn’t what i had ordered. the barista tossed it. the barista started working on the mayor’s drink. the barista chatted with the mayor. some more. the barista finished the mayor’s drink. the barista chatted with the mayor, again, some more. the mayor left. the barista made my drink. the barista took a break to chat with the cashier. the barista returned and made s’s drink. twenty minutes later, we had our two 90-second drinks.

still, i’ll go back. on my bike. with my shopping list. if for nothing else, to see what else the sign will say.

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nestled in a the corner where erie and victoria avenues meet in east hyde park, the coffee emporium is easy to miss: despite directions from two different people — “it’s around the corner from the police station…you *really* can’t miss it” — i have driven past it, actually looking for it and still not seeing it, too many times to admit. but now that i’ve found it, it’s home away from home.

hands down, this is our favorite shop for freshly-roasted beans. the selections are wide for both buzzers and dozers (i prefer the netherworld somewhere between), but the shop caters as well to tea-drinkers, chocolate-lovers, scone-munchers and sunday-brunchers of all stripes. the sunday menu features gorgeous waffles (i once watched a woman grudgingly share hers with her dog — named mr. rhett butler — who clearly did give a damn and wouldn’t take his eyes off her plate, despite the decidedly un-butler-esque quality of begging), in addition to soups from myra’s, breakfast burritos, and more. the scones and muffins can be had daily, and on a recent trip we found ourselves enjoying a pumpkin-cinnamon scone that hit the perfect fall-friendly note.

extra seating can be had upstairs on the second floor of this converted home, out back in the privacy of the shady trellised garden, at the side of the shop along victoria avenue, or even in front along erie avenue, where people-watching is at its best and seats are at a premium. weather-permitting, the best bet for my money is along the side of the shop, where there are bowls of water for visiting pups and small stumps for small fries to sit on.

this is also one of the places where i am constantly reminded just how friendly cincinnati is: almost everybody makes eye contact and says hello, the dogs are generally leashed and well-mannered, and grown ups are kid-friendly enough to engage our toddler in some version of conversation. typically her response is to stare back and keep munching on her scone. mairin-eats-a-scone.jpg

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