Atlanta is – b l o w i n g – up with new spots and I haven’t even been able to keep up. Time is precious and also I just love supporting the businesses I’ve already fell in love with (i.e. here, here, and here… I can’t believe I’ve been writing blogposts for that long..). Every now and then though I’ll slip in a new spot for a lady date. By the time I got to Muchacho, it had already gotten all over the media so I knew very well that it had social media friendly things like coffee, avocado toast, and tacos. So I knew I had to make it there at some point and experience it for myself.
First impression was that it was wayyy smaller than I thought it was going to be? Even though I knew and had previously been in that building, I just imagined it being… more! There are really not that many seats to sit and enjoy your coffee. I was meeting with my friend Kelly who I knew was going to have a stroller and it was cold outside but I could not find any seating for us inside. Thankfully there were heaters on the patio, but still. Something to know before you try to go in on a weekend. Our visit was on a late Sunday afternoon so I can’t imagine what the morning is like.
The best things about Muchacho were this golden latte (I think it’s like cinnamon honey syrup or something else delicious?) and the friendliness of the staff. However what I did not really love was the food. Which was truthfully pretty disappointing given that instagram food pics more or less drove me here. This is where 8arm excels heads above Muchacho. I first fell in love with 8arm for the relaxed vibe and the warm baristas and then, at the time, Sarah Dodge’s pastries did me in completely.
I very much prefer the toasts at Spiller Park; Spiller Park does toast right. The tacos feel very out of place to me here. Perhaps I need to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe Sunday was an off day. But there’s just no reason to get tacos at Muchacho when it’s more or less billed as a breakfast and coffee shop. The tacos were edible, but I honestly can’t even remember what they tasted like. Back to that golden latte…
Conclusion? You can go for the photo, go for the design, enjoy the atmosphere – the patio area is huge but it was cold on the day I went – and get a latte. I didn’t try any of the grain bowls so maybe you should try one of those. Don’t think I’ll be back though, now that I can say I’ve been there. Atlanta keeps growing so I’ll just keep moving on.
When one of your favorite coffee spots opens up an al fresco bar, you go. So I went to 8 arm for some coffee and saw the bar open and instead of a coffee, I got a cocktail. What a treat! Twas a gorgeous day outside and we could’ve sat there all afternoon if not the need to beat traffic.
And those sweet vintage glasses?! Ugh, they just get me. Oh and don’t worry – the cocktail menu during the day wasn’t super strong. The drinks were appropriately light and fresh. It also didn’t hurt that there was an adorable pug laying down next to us.
I could have never imagined that after five years I would have cultivated such a vast and diverse network of colleagues and creatives here in Atlanta. I’m starting to get used to living in a state of constant awe for the work that people do. There are just some of us that have a unique vision for an enhanced life, a simpler way of living beautifully. My friend Joseph is one of those people.
How do I describe Joseph? I’m always challenged when I try to capture the essence of people in words, but obvously I have to try. Joseph is someone who understands the many ingredients it takes to have a lovely experience; he appreciates the home-made, the genuine, the warmth of sitting down with someone to share a meal. I think he and I became friends because we both see potential, in the world and in others. There’s really nothing more beautiful than taking the time to make something (for me, art and for him, food), imbue it with care and love, and offer it to someone to better their lives.
I was thrilled to see that he has created a platform for everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy his vision at Joseph and Co. Nestled in the corner of Glenwood Park, his store is like a model for a well-loved kitchen and pantry, stocked with local food goods as well as baked treats by Joseph himself. When you come in, order a coffee and stay a while.
Perhaps that’s really the thing I love the most about Joseph and his shop – it’s an open invitation to take a moment and stay a while. The lofty windows and array of provisions begs you to slow down, be inspired, and take a piece of that charming experience home with you. Oh, and the delicious buttery flaky croissants don’t hurt either.
When I travel, I make it a point to find out where the locals have their coffee. Sometimes it’ll be a quaint little anonymous neighborhood cafe and other times it’ll be a nationally recognized coffee roaster. Of course with Chicago, it was the latter. I was lucky enough that Intelligentsia had a small locale nearby my downtown hotel, perfect for two visits in less than 24 hours.
I really enjoy the way Intelligentsia describes themselves and their various chosen headquarters:
Intelligentsia now has three cities it calls home: Chicago—a city that is brooding, practical and reluctantly beautiful; Los Angeles—a city that views creativity as a birthright, is immensely vast, decidedly impractical and equally messy and marvelous; and New York—a city of paradoxes, hulking but chock full of intimate corners, timeless but achingly current, polished but decaying, worldly yet oddly provincial, all crashing together in perfect cacophony (or is it harmony?).
Honestly, we love all of these places, but for very different reasons. Straight backed-Midwesterness gives us pragmatism and self-discipline, West Coast optimism leads us to believe anything is possible, and the dynamism of East Coast is an unending source of energy. This combination provides the fuel for what we love to do: sourcing, developing, roasting and delivering the best coffee in the world.
I’m far from being a coffee connoisseur, but I know what I like and what I don’t like. And if I were living in Chicago, I know that this would be one of my go-to spots. I had the chance to enjoy my two standards, latte in the morning and iced coffee in the afternoon. Also, croissant and an oatmeal raisin cookie – all good things in life, all good things from Intelligentsia.