Tag Archives: neighborhood

Photo of the Week: Toronto’s Garden Car.

While walking around the Kensington Market neighborhood in Toronto this past summer I came up across a hand painted community car filled with grass and soil, the “Garden Car”. Sitting on Augusta Street near Oxford, this car has been a stable of the market in the warmer months since 2006. An interesting mural as a back drop too.

Toronto, Kensington Market Garden Car

#ElCafeDe2013 Coffee tip of the week: Return for More!

I’ve talked about when on the prowl for coffee to look for somewhere new to go whether traveling or at home. There is nothing like experiencing a place or a coffee that you haven’t before. At the same time though, if you find a place you love, especially in a part of the world you frequent, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go back. In other words…

Tip #23: …return for more!

I’m in San Francisco often and Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission District will be one of the first places I go to upon returning. Recently I made it to the area of 15th and Valencia and went through their non-descriptive entrance…

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

…and ordered a Cafรฉ Latte from the friendly barista.

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to experience more of Four Barrel. I ordered a Guatemala Cadejo made via a french press and got water alongside for the ride. ๐Ÿ™‚

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

They were using their vintage-german roaster on barrel after barrel of coffee beans right in front of me. While drinking the coffee deliciousness I decided to get a bag of coffee whole beans for the road. After experiencing and liking the Guatemala Cadejo, that was the choice.

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

Upon leaving I checked out the outside seating…

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

…and custom-built bike racks, some of which were vertical. Make note. Even with the popularity of biking in the city and the Mission, it would definitely be easier to use the bike rack then trying to find a parking spot even in the early morning.

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

The coffee beans wanted a picture too.

Four Barrel Coffee, Mission District, San Francisco, California

Checkout the post from my Four Barrel visit last year. You could say I “returned for more”! ๐Ÿ™‚ No doubt when my feet are on the ground in San Francisco again, Four Barrel will be on the itinerary.

In your travels or around home, what’s a spot that you’d recommend, that you keep going to over and over again?

#ElCafeDe2013 Coffee tip of the week: Choose Your Clothes Wisely…

It was a Saturday morning in Detroit and I decided to go out for a coffee. I put my G Adventures shirt on that I got at the TBEX travel conference and got in the car not knowing where I was going.

While driving I decided on Astro Coffee as I had not been there yet in this year of coffee. This was stop #77.

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Once in the popular Corktown neighborhood establishment I ordered a Flat White. While waiting I captured some of the scene inside. Lots of pour over action and coffee cups just waiting to be drank out of.

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

You’ll find unique and cool seating throughout.

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

The baristas were very personal and took their time to make a great individualized coffee. Perfect!

Flat White coffee, Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

Flat White coffee, Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit, Michigan

At that time a group of people came in and starting taking photos while ordering like me. I didn’t think anything of it until they started looking my way. Reading TBEX off one of my sleeves they came up to me and asked if I had attended the conference in Toronto. I said yes and that I was a travel blogger.

It turns out they were four travelers from Toronto in town for the weekend exploring Detroit. They invited me to sit with them, so we hung out and talked for a bit before they went onto more exploration in the D.

I’d like to think that I picked out the G Adventures shirt on purpose. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did learn something today.

Tip #21: Choose your clothes wisely…

…when heading out for a cup of coffee. In all seriousness any shirt would have done, but because of what I put on I had the chance to meet and hangout with four fellow travelers for a while. Maybe there is something to that tip! Putting a cool travel company shirt on is a good idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

Me and the G Adventures shirt taken by Alicia of My Life Untethered.

Me at Astro Coffee, Corktown, Detroit

Checkout the photos and exploits of the other Toronto explorers I met Emily, Neil and Adam. Great times!

San Francisco: Coffee-ing it up in Hayes Valley.

It was an early morning in San Francisco recently and I made it over to the fashionable and scenic Hayes Valley neighborhood and the corner of Hayes and Octavia.

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Just onto Octavia my feet took me to a shipping container that is home to Ritual Coffee Roasters.

Ritual Coffee, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Ritual Coffee has been a San Francisco based coffee roaster since 2005. I smiled upon seeing the red cup-and-star logo as I reached the counter.

Ritual Coffee, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

The pour overs and hand crafted coffees were being made one after another for those that came by. The baristas were nice and knowledgable, making sure everyone was getting a great coffee beverage.

Ritual Coffee, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

I went the Macchiato route on this visit, taking one of their cups as a souvenir. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ritual Coffee, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

The lounge chairs just outside the container was my home for a few, even though it was misting slightly. The light rain was no factor as the flavor of the macchiato and watching the happenings in the neighborhood was my focus.

Ritual Coffee Roasters, Hayes Valley, San Francisco

After capturing the scene at Ritual I walked across Octavia and into Patricia’s Green. The park is surrounded by lots of color and all the boutique, coffee and foodie options in the neighborhood.

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

You’ll find lots of romantic park bench seating opportunities. A good place to hangout and people and dog watch. Hayes Valley has the feel of a small-town, even though it’s right in the middle of a big city.

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

It was time to head off Octavia and onto Linden Street for more exploration and coffee deliciousness.

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Opposite Ritual and facing Linden is the Smitten Ice Cream shipping container. Based on the reviews, I’m sure they will see me soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Walking onto Linden I noticed lots of bicycles on both sides of the street. Finding bikes for rent is a pretty common occurrence in San Francisco. Anytime I see bikes in the city it immediately makes me think of the 1980’s Kevin Bacon movie, Quicksilver. Always have had a thing for San Francisco based movies!

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

As you walk down the tree and flower lined Linden it’s a good bet you’ll see people congregating before the next intersection.

Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

What could they be doing? They are hanging out and getting ready to order at my next coffee stop, the Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk.

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

The kiosk and outside location keeps you right in the middle of the happenings of the neighborhood, just like Ritual, as your ordering and enjoying your coffee.

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Blue Bottle is a coffee roaster headquartered in nearby Oakland. Everyone who orders here is guaranteed of getting a coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster.

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

Always checking out the cream and sugar stands, here is one of the portable variety.

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

I went with a basic espresso, enjoying the few sips and shot of caffeine while watching people come and go. The drink might have been small but so so good as always at Blue Bottle Coffee, a cult-favorite amongst fellow coffee drinkers. The lines you’ll find at their various locations in the Bay Area and New York City say all you need to know. Gotta love seeing the blue bottled logo up close. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, California

That ended my morning stay in Hayes Valley. It was a fun morning exploring and coffee-ing it up in the neighborhood. It’s a recommended part of the city I will come back to hang out at and enjoy some more craft coffee.

What neighborhoods do recommend in San Francisco to hang out at and checkout the coffee scene? In any city?

Walking the Steps in San Francisco.

It was an early morning recently in San Francisco and I headed over to 16th Avenue and Moraga…

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

…in the Inner Sunset neighborhood to checkout The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

The 163-step staircase dates back to 1826.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

The project to create and add the mosaics started in 2003, being completed a year later by residents and contributors from the neighborhood. You’ll find handmade animals, birds, flowers and fish themed tiles amongst colorful patterns on this hidden gem.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

As your going up the stairs, turn around to capture the panoramic neighborhood views straight out to the Pacific, San Francisco Bay and beyond.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

Making it to the top is definitely work. Several runners went by, going up-and-down, as I got my exercise in for the day. ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll find Grand View Park once up-top.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

The greenery and landscape along the sides is well maintained and worth a look in its own right.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project, San Francisco, California

The steps are easily accessible, a few streets east of State Route 1 (19th Avenue). Find a place to park at the bottom within the neighborhood on 16th Avenue. Photos and walking up-and-down the stairs is free.

It was a great morning walking the steps in San Francisco. When you’re in town make sure to checkout this mosaic masterpiece.