Category Archives: coffeehouses

Chicago: The Wormhole Coffee.

How can a place provide great service, have outstanding specialty coffee, provide a relaxing atmosphere and bring back tons of memories of youth? The Wormhole Coffee in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago does just that.

Chicago - Wicker Park neighborhood Chicago - Wicker Park neighborhood

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee

It’s my favorite coffeehouse in Chicago. I’ve actually introduced it to two other travel bloggers my last two times there. Leah of Leah Travels and I went there during last months #WindyCityTweetup. Pola of Jetting Around met me there for coffee one morning last week. Both great times. πŸ™‚

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee

The Wormhole Coffee is an indie coffeehouse which opened in 2010. Sci-fi themed, it immediately brings back tons of memories from the 80’s. The first thing you notice way in the back is the Back To The Future Delorean. You’ll find other small Delorean’s throughout. 1.21 gigawatts is what powers the coffeehouse, just kidding!

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Delorean

You can sit and enjoy your coffee right next to the E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial lamp. Relax and “Phone Home”.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Right by the entrance is a bunch of Mogwai’s (Gizmo’s) from the Gremlins. Remember, don’t expose them to too much light or feed them after midnight. πŸ™‚ Any one up for a game on the Nintendo Entertainment System?

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Gizmo - Gremlins

I’m not just drawn in by the sci-fi theme, their coffee is beyond outstanding. My go-to drink is the Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa. It’s worth the several hour drive to Chicago all by itself.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa

The most recent time with Pola I mixed it up and went with the Vanilla Bean Latte, another must get yum.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Vanilla Bean Latte

The register is an iPad, which they give to you to confirm the bill and add a tip. How more nerdy can you get?! Some tasty treats sit underneath the front counter. I resisted, for now anyways lol. They love bikers, giving anyone free drip coffee that walks it with a helmet before 9:00 a.m. Bikers are everywhere in Chicago, but I usually see a lot more of them in the Wicker Park neighborhood.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee

Checkout Leah’s post, Beguiled In Chicago, for her experience at The Wormhole Coffee. The Honey Bear Latte is on the list for next time.

For great service, coffee, a relaxing atmosphere and the bringing back of memories The Wormhole Coffee needs to be at the top of your Chicago bucket list. Who wants to go with me next time?

What is your favorite coffeehouse in Chicago? That you have come across in your travels?

A Working Day in Lexington, Kentucky.

Detroit and Atlanta. I’ve done the twelve-hour I-75 drive back-and-forth dozens of times over the years, usually sight-seeing along the way, sometimes stopping overnight to recharge, other times driving straight through. This day would be different. It was a working day.

I needed to put in almost a days worth of work, but wanted to get from A to B in the same day. For that to work I needed to get on the road as early as possible (4 a.m.) to get as far as I could before stopping to spend time on the laptop. The place I chose to stop, one I had never really spent any time in before on the route was Lexington, Kentucky. It was a good midway point too.

I was traveling north-to-south from Michigan so on this early morning I drove through Ohio (with a refuel at a Waffle House) and Cincinnati and into Northern Kentucky towards Lexington.

Northern Kentucky - I-75 southbound heading towards Lexington

Northern Kentucky - I-75 southbound heading towards Lexington

Reaching the city in mid-morning I headed to Common Grounds Coffee House & Cafe. It sits just outside downtown in the Aylesford Place neighborhood. As a bonus this day gave me an excuse to visit new coffeehouses, capture photos and consume as much caffeine as possible haha. It would definitely help later on.

Common Grounds Coffee House & Cafe - Lexington, Kentucky

Common Grounds Coffee House & Cafe opened in 1992. They had an extensive menu of coffee drinks and food items. My beverage of choice was a Buckeye Latte. Who can go wrong with a Ghiardelli chocolate and peanut butter coffee?! It was a relaxing place to work, with lot’s of college students from the University of Kentucky and others on their laptops.

Buckeye Latte - Common Grounds Coffee House & Cafe - Lexington, Kentucky

I roamed around the old brick building of the coffeehouse checking out all the rooms and the unique art work on the walls throughout.

After working for a few hours it was time for a change of scenery and time to checkout another popular coffeehouse destination, Third Street Stuff and Coffee.

Third Street Stuff and Coffee - Lexington, Kentucky

Third Street Stuff and Coffee sits on Lexington’s East End opening in 1991. Unique and creative, creative, creative are the words I’d use to describe it inside and out. As the name suggests it’s part craft store, part coffeehouse. Everything is decorated: the chairs, the trash cans, the outside walls, the outdoor seating, you name it. It definitely has that small-town community feel to it and all the workers were exceptionally nice. I was consuming multiple iced coffees there. πŸ™‚

Lexington, Kentucky - Third Street Stuff & Coffee Lexington, Kentucky - Third Street Stuff & Coffee

Third Street Stuff and Coffee - Lexington, Kentucky

Third Street Stuff and Coffee - Lexington, Kentucky

I was in the heart of Kentucky basketball country, Big Blue Nation. As I sat in Third Street Stuff & Coffee their first-round SEC tournament game against LSU was getting underway. The coffeehouse emptied. The streets emptied except for some unlucky people who had to work.

I took this as the perfect opportunity to take a break and checkout the city before heading to my next coffeehouse.

Downtown Lexington, Kentucky

In downtown the tallest building in blue is the Lexington Financial Center. Proposed on the open grassed lot in the foreground is CentrePointe. The project would result in the tallest building in Kentucky being built which would feature a hotel, condos and retail and office space. A panoramic shot from South Limestone Street.

Panoramic shot - Downtown Lexington, Kentucky

Being in Big Blue Nation I had to checkout the University of Kentucky men’s basketball teams home court,Β Rupp Arena. The arena opened in 1976 and is part of Lexington Center, a convention center with a mall and the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The arena is named after legendary coach Adolph Rupp, who led Kentucky to four of their seven National Championships. It’s hosted NCAA Tournament Games and Final Fours and more games for Kentucky’s women’s team of late which has become a power recently too.

Rupp Arena - Lexington, Kentucky basketball - Big Blue Nation

Right outside the gates in the lobby is the old Rupp Arena center court.

Rupp Arena - Lexington, Kentucky basketball - Big Blue Nation

After checking out downtown and driving through the University of Kentucky I headed to Coffee Times on the southern outskirts of town. It seemed like a cool place, but had a lack of electrical outlets. When choosing a coffeehouse to spend time in, that won’t work for me. I headed to a nearby Starbucks for a while, before it was time to hit the open road.

I headed the rest of the way through Kentucky, into Tennessee and finally into Georgia and the Atlanta area. I arrived after midnight making it almost a 24-hour day trip south. All that caffeine consumption sure came in handy. πŸ™‚

I accomplished a lot though getting work done, being on the open road, capturing some photos and spending time in a new place and drinking lot’s of coffee. What could be better?Β It’s definitely something I’ll do again. Returning to Lexington is a must too.

Do you stop for long periods of time when on the open road? If so, what do you do? Explore? Work? Checkout the local restaurants and bars?

Cleveland: West Side Market

Food lovers (Foodies) from all over the world flock to West Side Market in the historic Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. West Side Market has been highlighted on both the Food Network and Travel Channel and has roots all the way back to 1840.

The market is open four days a week and my most recent trip there was this past Saturday. Saturday morning is the best time to go. There are more stands open and more people making it more vibrant inside and outside in the neighborhood. The market is not open on Sunday’s.

Cleveland - West Side Market - Ohio City neighborhood

The main part of the market is in an enclosed old yellow brick market house with a 137-foot clock tower that stands out in the whole neighborhood. It’s home to the best and an amazing variety of:

Cleveland - West Side Market - Ohio City neighborhood

Cheeses and dairy products.

Cleveland - West Side Market - cheeses

High quality meats, including of course lot’s of varieties of bacon!

Cleveland - West Side Market - bacon and meats

Fish, eels and lot’s of seafood.

Cleveland - West Side Market - eel, fish, seafood

Breads, desserts and other baked goods. Who can’t beat filled-to-order cannolis?

Cleveland - West Side Market - breads, baked goods

Cleveland - West Side Market - cannolis and desserts

Every kind of ravioli and pasta you can imagine. Pumpkin ravioli? I guess it is the season. I always check out Ohio City Pasta.

Cleveland - West Side Market - ravioli, pasta

Lot’s of oils, hot sauces, spices, candy and more can be found. Lot’s of people weren’t there to shop or sight-see, just to grab lunch or a snack. Some of them were upstairs eating gyros, sausage sandwiches, pastry treats or having a hot coffee. Great views of the market and people watching opportunities can be had upstairs.

Cleveland - West Side Market - Ohio City neighborhood

The arcade portion of the market, recently enclosed and right next store is home to vendor after vendor selling a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

Cleveland - West Side Market - fruits and vegetables

Cleveland - West Side Market - vegetables

Cleveland - West Side Market - fruits

I always seem to gravitate towards the onions and garlic.

Cleveland - West Side Market - vegetables, onions, garlic

You’ll see lots of people throughout the market like myself with cameras out getting pictures of all the amazing products. No vendors have ever raised an issue about it. You’ll also see all the fruit and vegetable vendors reaching out to you trying to get you to buy from them, but you can’t really go wrong it terms of price with any of the stands. I always make sure to pick the specific tomatoes, onions, oranges, etc. that I want.

Cleveland - West Side Market - foodies, photography

As this is the holiday season, outside the market we saw holiday trees for sale, Santa Claus for the kids to see, a small arts and crafts market and even a line to get some of the Christmas Ale being brewed. You’ll find breweries, restaurants, book stores and other shops and my favorite spot, Koffee Cafe. Grabbed a peppermint stick coffee with Bailey’s. I wasn’t be able to take it outside haha, but it was well worth relaxing inside and getting out of the cold.

Cleveland - Ohio City Neighborhood

West Side Market is my favorite market. I love driving a few hours each way just to go there to people watch, have a coffee, soak in the city neighborhood atmosphere and bring back goodies to make some amazing meals. This is one market I hope you’ll get to someday.

Cleveland - West Side Market - Ohio City neighborhood

What do you like about West Side Market and the Ohio City neighborhood? What markets in the United States and around the world are must visits?

Coffeehouse of the Month: George House Coffee & Tea Company

Coffeehouses! I’m sure you know my love for them by now. Previously I’ve described what I look for in a coffeehouse: plenty of electrical outlets, has a lot of traffic, great Wi-Fi, contains great views and makes great coffee and other beverages. Starting this month, each month, I will highlight a local, non-chain coffee house that I’ve spent time in.

When traveling or on the move I will sometimes research one to go to in a given town, other times I’ll just stumble upon one which is more fun. This months coffee house is George House Coffee and Tea in Findlay, Ohio.

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

George House Coffee and Tea Company is locally owned and sits on Main St. just north of downtown. It’s also right across the street from the University of Findlay, one of the top equine (horse) schools in the United States. Thus the coffeehouse gets plenty of traffic from students and local residents. George House has been open since 1993.

It has the old school feel of a library/bookstore. No music plays in the background leading to a quiet atmosphere, when not many people are around to get work done or hang out. Β You can pick up any used (some antiquated) book off the shelves to read and buy if you choose. I usually find something to flip through each time I’m there.

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

They have countless specialty coffees, tea, espresso and iced drinks as well as shakes, sandwiches and other snacks. My favorite drinks are the hot Butter Crunch and Monkey Tail coffees. All the drinks are reasonably priced. Checkout their menu.

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

George House definitely thinks Green by carrying a wide variety of green and natural products, by recycling everything they can and by encouraging customers to use their own mugs and recycling what they use there. They also carry every flavor of Torani syrup you can think of as well as mugs, shirts and wide range of really affordable spices. My pantry at home can attest to that. I recommend getting the cinnamon sticks and minced garlic.

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio

Lot’s of people make the drive up and down I-75 between Michigan and the southern states. George House is the perfect place to take a break and a get jump on the rest of the drive with some caffeine. They open early and close late every day so if your ever in Northwest Ohio I’d definitely recommend making a stop at George House Coffee and Tea Company.

George House Coffee & Tea Company - Findlay, Ohio