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Cafe and coffeehouse reviews


phaelon56
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Old Town Coffee Tea and Spice in old town Alexandria.

I used to work there. The owner, Frank Poland, really knows his stuff. They have dozens of types of cofee and more tea than I could keep track of, both loose and in bags. Even in NYC I haven't seen many coffee and tea shops as good as Old Town Coffee.

It's on Union Street between Duke and Prince.

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Also in Old Town-- Misha's. They roast their own there, have a laid back atmosphere, and they have the added bonus (for me anyway) of having a room where you can hang out and smoke. I think they were once profiled on Food Network.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I like Sparky's on 14th Street (maybe at S Street) and Java House at 17th and Q Streets because both of those places don't have little credit cards that they push at the front counter with which you are encouraged to blindly ring up $32/week in lattes.

They don't have Dow Jones to cushion a bad fall; their coffee has to be good or else they close.

I can only vouch for regular drip coffee, though (it's all I know).

...

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Sparky's is between R and S. I love it because the coffee is utterly acceptable, the people who work there are great, the music playing is almost always good, it's unpretentious, and it's open (relatively) late. Also, they have a liquor license. What more could you ask?

Meanwhile, I know lots of people like Savory, here in Takoma Park. I find it pretty much uniformly disappointing. It's a nice clean open space, and near my apartment, but the coffee is wretched (espresso drinks, at least). The food, which I don't particularly care about in a cafe, gets a lot of the billing, but it's not especially great. And it closes very very early -- and I don't think it opens particularly early in the morning, either, though I could be mistaken on that one.

Edited by redfox (log)

"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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I'm also a fan of Sparky's--for the atmosphere of course, but they can also brew some really good espresso. Tryst, say what you will about the atmosphere, has great coffee, and excellent cappucino and espresso, though you have to be a fan of the ristretto. When it's not crowded (weekdays) it can be pretty nice and mellow, though the pervasive laptops irk me a bit; on weekends it's not worth it.

I work in Georgetown and constantly bemoan the coffee scene there. There are no places I've found to sit down with a real mug or demitasse and all the espressos I've had recently have been overextracted. Murky used to make excellent espresso out of thier closet on Wisconsin, but was forced out by the landlord last year (I try to make it to thier Cap. Hill location when I can). Anybody know of any places I'm missing?

Murky has a pretty entertaining website: http://www.murkycoffee.com/shtml/about.shtml

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Also in Old Town-- Misha's. They roast their own there, have a laid back atmosphere, and they have the added bonus (for me anyway) of having a room where you can hang out and smoke. I think they were once profiled on Food Network.

Do you get their Rt 66 with your cigarette?

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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Also in Old Town-- Misha's. They roast their own there, have a laid back atmosphere, and they have the added bonus (for me anyway) of having a room where you can hang out and smoke. I think they were once profiled on Food Network.

Do you get their Rt 66 with your cigarette?

Often, yes. Other times the Caravan blend, or whatever the special is that day.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I'm also a fan of Sparky's--for the atmosphere of course, but they can also brew some really good espresso. Tryst, say what you will about the atmosphere, has great coffee, and excellent cappucino and espresso, though you have to be a fan of the ristretto. When it's not crowded (weekdays) it can be pretty nice and mellow, though the pervasive laptops irk me a bit; on weekends it's not worth it.

I work in Georgetown and constantly bemoan the coffee scene there. There are no places I've found to sit down with a real mug or demitasse and all the espressos I've had recently have been overextracted. Murky used to make excellent espresso out of thier closet on Wisconsin, but was forced out by the landlord last year (I try to make it to thier Cap. Hill location when I can). Anybody know of any places I'm missing?

Murky has a pretty entertaining website: http://www.murkycoffee.com/shtml/about.shtml

Patisserie Poupon way up Wisconsin (1645, right next to my office) makes a good cup and really, if you have one of their Pain au Chocolats, who cares about the coffee?? :biggrin:

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Meanwhile, I know lots of people like Savory, here in Takoma Park. I find it pretty much uniformly disappointing. It's a nice clean open space, and near my apartment, but the coffee is wretched (espresso drinks, at least). The food, which I don't particularly care about in a cafe, gets a lot of the billing, but it's not especially great. And it closes very very early -- and I don't think it opens particularly early in the morning, either, though I could be mistaken on that one.

I don't think that you'll find many Savory fans around here, redfox. I think that they're just lazy because they have no competition in TP.

To me, Mayorga on Ga Ave in SS is vastly superior. I just hope that the reconstruction of that end of the strip to make it more pedestrian friendly is a success and that the new Starfucks downtown doesn't hurt business too much.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I haven't been to either of their cafes (Silver Spring or King Farm) but I regularly make runs to Mayorga's roasting plant in Rockville to buy coffee -- same coffee that's sold at Marvelous Market but a few $$ cheaper. Good distinct flavors without the overburnt taste you get at Starbucks or Cosi. I haven't found a coffee place in DC i'm particularly enamored with yet - whenever i get back to annapolis, i still crave 49 West coffee (3 things i miss in annapolis (i.e. i haven't found adequate substitutes here) - 49 West, Giolitti's (good Italian deli), and O'Leary's).

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Thanks for the tip - where is the Mayorga roasting plant in Rockville? I really love their blend of Kenyan AA with Jamaican Blue Mountain, but they are often out of it at the Silver Spring location. Maybe I would have better luck at the roasting plant!

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What about Tryst? Despite the crowds, I like it for what my partner calls "the dingy couches." They remind me of the coffee house scene in Portland, OR, where I grew up - quirky, individualistic, and not afraid to be a bit dingy.

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Thanks for the tip - where is the Mayorga roasting plant in Rockville? I really love their blend of Kenyan AA with Jamaican Blue Mountain, but they are often out of it at the Silver Spring location. Maybe I would have better luck at the roasting plant!

It's a little out of the way: 15151-D Southlawn Lane back by the ARC Ice Rink

goto http://www.mayorgacoffee.com/html/index.php - they have directions on their web page - it's only open 12-5 on Thur Fri and Sat. What they sell are overruns so there's no guarantee of any particular coffee being available, but whenever i go, there's always about 5-10 flavors to choose from. i've also heard they take requests (i.e. if you want something, let them know and they'll hold one for you.....)

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my favs cafes (both in Arlington) are:

Arax (Armenian coffeehouse) in Westover. they even have armenian coffee..which is similar to turkish coffee...but with cardimum.

Greenberries in between courthouse and rosslyn.

-Jason

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Greenberries is my favorite as well (for coffee, not ambience).

I like teh ambience at the Arlington greenberries. Nice sized tables, not too close together. pretty mugs for sale. Plenty of nice lookign baked goods.

I'm split on the ambience at Common Grounds. Really odd service and policies...but its a big place,a nd nobody bothers you...so you can hangout forever, and do things like play chess or boardgames.

Java Shack....is kind of too claustrophobic.

-Jason

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