I'm a sucker for good espresso so I typically hit up yelp when I'm visiting an unfamiliar city. Verve Coffee roasters was, of course, top of the list in Santa Cruz so I stopped by for an evening cappuccino. The owners are clearly passionate about great coffee.
When available, I always opt for single origin espresso, and I was not disappointed by my choice. A good cappuccino is a perfect balance between espresso and steamed milk. When prepared correctly, the texture of the milk, combined with the espresso, results in a silky smooth experience. The cappuccino at Verve falls in to this category. Great baristas, great espresso, and quality milk really leads to the perfect drink.
Surprising good coffee. I arrived early for a movie and was feeling a bit sluggish so I stopped in for a cappuccino. I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. The milk to espresso ratio was just right, and the espresso blend was quite good.
I recently bought a new Mazda 3. After taking it home from the dealership, I noticed some dirt and grime and that is when I thought about where to get my car washed/detailed. The local car washes do such a poor job that I thought I should look for an alternative. After searching on Yelp I found Detailing by M. The reviews looked sound so I thought I would try it out.
After an email inquiry, Mario very promptly responded and I was able to get an appointment for the next weekend.
When he showed up, it was pretty clear that Mario is an attention to detail kind of guy. I appreciate that he fully evaluated my car before beginning any work. The detailing job took about 4 hours. I thought my car looked pretty good before, but I have to say that I was blown away by how amazing it looked after Mario performed his magic.
Overall I am highly satisfied with the work. Even though it's a Mazda 3, Mario treated my car like it was a Ferrari. It's difficult to find businesses where passion and pride take priority over profit and that is why Mario has won me over as a customer. I will definitely be returning for future washes and detailing service.
My rating is based strictly on the espresso. I had a couple of cappuccinos while I was visiting family. They were well prepared and the customer service was good. There is plenty of seating and a fairly large group of patrons were sitting around enjoying their drinks. Red Rock seems to take their coffee pretty seriously. I saw that they offer classes on brew methods and coffee tasting. Coffee is an extremely complex beverage so it's nice to see a coffee shop offering education options to their customers.
I was in the neighborhood and decided to stop at The Camp for lunch. After lunch I wandered in to Vitaly thinking I would get a latte. However, after reading the menu, I noticed they serve affogato. I had never had an affogato so I decided to try one. For those unfamiliar, affogato is espresso and ice cream or gelato. The baristas were really helpful and friendly. They helped me select the type of coffee (Keane or imported Italian). I chose the Italian based on their recommendation and I was not disappointed. The gelato (I chose vanilla) was smooth and creamy and the espresso was brilliant. It's great that we have so many places opening up in Orange County that take good coffee and espresso seriously. I will definitely return.
Let me begin by saying that I really want this place to be successful. It has so much potential. The location is fantastic and the inside is classy and comfortable, if not a bit loud when the place is full. For those that do not know, "Blind Pig" is another term for a speakeasy. I like the name, but this is definitely NOT a speakeasy.
My evening began on a Friday after a fairly long week. My girlfriend and I decided to walk to the restaurants on the other end of the RSM lake to get some sushi. On our way we decided to see if The Blind Pig was open. Surprisingly, it was. We discovered they had opened two days prior so we gave the staff a lot of leeway. As I mentioned earlier, we really wanted to have an amazing evening.
We were seated outside on a couch next to two other couples who were both very friendly. The place was packed with patrons which I took as a good sign. It took a while to get service, but I did not rate them negatively for this because they were so busy. The drink menu is interesting. The have a large selection of beer on tap and an interesting selection of mixed drinks. We had a couple of questions, but our server had not been fully trained on the drink menu so we had to make some guesses. None of the mixed drinks really appealed to me so I had a beer. My girlfriend had a sangria which was very tart and seemed very watered down. Her comment was that it was interesting, but it wasn't really sangria. Once we had our drinks, we sat around and chatted a bit with the other two couples. One of the couples ordered the fries and the bone marrow. The presentation was quite nice, but the consensus was they were not appealing. The fries were apparently very heavy (like duck fat fries) and I think bone marrow is something you either like or dislike. They ate very little of the food and I don't believe either couple will be returning. For reference, all of the menu items are tapas style and served as small portions.
I was easily prepared to spend $100 on food and drink, but after reviewing the menu items and finishing our first round of drinks, we decided to close out our tab and go have sushi. While having dinner, we discussed at length why we did not want to try anything on the menu. We concluded that nothing was really relatable. All of the menu items were kind of a stretch and did not seem appealing. A simple cheese plate would have been great, but all of the menu items were complex. In fact, I had a hard time distinguishing ingredients from the main dish. For example, there was a menu item named "Celery 'Mac & Cheese' infused celery." We had to ask for an explanation because we couldn't figure out if it was celery or Mac and Cheese.
I have a few suggestions for the owners and chef:
1) During the next few weeks, provide small complementary samples of the food to patrons and ask for feedback. I would go as far as providing rating cards. The menu items are complex and expensive. Most people do not want to spend $15 on a menu item that is unfamiliar.
2) I suggest looking at the menu items and perhaps simplifying them a bit. Those of us who are local are desperate for a new hangout, but perhaps we are not as progressive as The Blind Pig would like us to be.
3) Train the staff. Our server was not familiar enough with the drink menu.
I see some growing pains ahead for The Blind Pig. I really wish them well, and I do plan to return in a month or two to see how things have progressed. There is so much I want to like about this place, but I feel like I am putting in too much effort. Hopefully the comments on Yelp will help the owners and chef shape the bar and kitchen.
Thank goodness for yelp. I was in Vegas and wanted to find a place that serves real espresso. After searching a bit I found Sunrise Coffee. It was a good 7 miles out of my way, but the reviews and pictures suggested it was worth the drive. Boy am I glad I made the trip. They have great coffee and a nice selection of breakfast and lunch options (including vegan). The inside is really clean and inviting and the staff are super friendly, helpful, and cool. Plus they make a great latte. I chatted a bit and then enjoyed my breakfast and latte while reading. There are plenty of tables and comfortable chairs to relax in. If you are in the area, I highly recommend dropping in for a visit. Sunrise Coffee is now my "go-to" place for a latte when I'm in Vegas.
I tried Café 21 specifically because it received fairly high reviews on Yelp. My suggestion is to stay away. First off, it just didn't smell very clean. The staff were nice and friendly, but they seemed somewhat unattentive. I tried their summer melon salad and it was basically a disaster. The combination of honeydew, burrata and prosciutto did not work at all.
I was down from Orange County for business in San Diego and I found Village 631 on Yelp. First off, they serve Café Virtuoso coffee which is really good. The lattes I had were delicious and well prepared. I probably visited Village 631 four or five times and I have to say the customer service was fairly poor. I really wanted to write only good things about this place because it has a lot of potential, but on two occasions when I was there the staff completely forgot my order. The first time I ordered a latte and I had to remind them to make it. The second time I ordered a lemon bar and latte and they completely forgot the lemon bar. If it had been busy, I could understand, but the staff were chatting away. Unfortunately, there really isn't another coffee shop nearby. If they could put in a little more time training their staff, I think this place could be amazing.
Let me start by stating that I am not at all qualified to evaluate drinks served at Theorem. But that is actually one of the reasons I enjoyed my visit so much. Truman was our barista, and he is one of the most knowledge, articulate, interesting, and enjoyable coffee experts I have ever met. He is really an artist, scientist, craftsman, and educator.
The evening is actually quite simple. Three coffee beverages artfully prepared by your barista in a small (6 seat) coffee bar. Our evening started with a description and background of the coffee we were going to enjoy, the region where it was grown, and the specific flavor profiles associated with it. As our drinks were being prepared, Truman explained what he was preparing, and how it was being prepared. For someone with a science background, I found the experience incredibly interesting. The beverages are meant to be enjoyed as they are prepared. Don't expect to add milk or sugar. The experience at Theorem is really about learning and perhaps challenging your palette. If you like dairy with your coffee, be prepared to have your palette challenged with something a bit stronger. And if you like your coffee black, then keep an open mind when you are served espresso with dairy. I had high expectations for the evening, but I have to say my expectations were exceeded. The entire evening was really a lesson in the art of coffee growing and beverage craft. I definitely plan to return.