Made with chocolate, coffee, and a hazelnut-mascarpone filling, these mocha crinkle cookie sandwiches are the ultimate Christmas treat. They have been deemed a “more dank Oreo”, if that’s your thing.
Hello from stormy Seattle where I’m spending the next few days doing all kinds of fun things like working a coffee trade show (!!!) and researching the best whiskey cocktail in the city. The next few days will be absolutely crazy for me, because I get to see all the insane coffee companies I
stalk follow on Instagram and meet some really amazing people making strides in the industry! I’m going to drink twenty shots of espresso a day and then die by way of over-caffeination. After that’s over, I’m going to head over to the Upers and Downers section where they keep the booze, and I’m going to schmooze and pass out my business cards to anyone who will take them at the after parties! My first day back to work on Tuesday will be rough af, but that’s what sleeping on the plane is for right?
In other news, I think Seattle is the most wonderful place. It’s rainy in that romantic way where I just want to carry a really expensive umbrella and hail taxis all day. One of my favorite scenarios is when a bunch of lights reflect across the rainy ground, and the roads look like a van Gogh painting. I think Seattle in itself might have been dreamt up by van Gogh. Should I start a conspiracy theory about this??
For Christmas this past year, I got a jar of Coffee Blossom Honey from work, and for someone who has never liked honey, I’m actually a huge fan. The company works directly with farms to source raw coffee-flower honey from micro-lots to promote sustainability and transparency. Basically, the idea is that bees = pollenation, pollenation = more healthy coffee trees, healthy coffee trees = more coffee for us! I was trying to figure out something to do with it in relation to coffee, and then I thought of how toddies use tea, and I think you know where this is going.
(P.S. not a sponsored post, just really stoked on this honey).
Coffee toddies are for people who like the idea of drinking cocktails during Sunday brunch but also need black coffee in the morning. If you are someone that guffaws at anyone who orders cold brew or an iced latte in the morning, this is for you. If the idea of drinking vodka prior to espresso makes you want to die, coffee toddies are for you. If you just like the idea of coffee + alcohol, this drink is for you!! A coffee toddy essentially combines all of my loves, namely coffee + whiskey. I chose to add grapefruit juice rather than lemon juice, because I like how the flavor of grapefruit combines with coffee. However, any citrus would taste great; next time, I’m going to try orange. For the coffee, I would highly recommend getting something with brighter, citrusy, fruity, and/or floral notes; avoid anything too dark, chocolatey, and nutty, or you will end up with a strange flavor the combination that no one is asking for. I went with a Nicaraguan that has notes of orange blossom + peach, and it balanced really nicely with the sweetness from the honey and of course, the grapefruit juice.
On another note, I’m convinced that this coffee toddy is the best way to fight a cold. Coffee and honey have antimicrobial components, grapefruit juice has vitamin C, and whiskey cures broken hearts so … it’s basically a health drink! I know it’s spring and all, but it snowed in Reno this past week, so basically no one is safe from rhinovirus’s wrath. #science
16 oz. fresh coffee (I brewed with a Chemex)
Two 2 oz. shots of whiskey (I used Bulleit)
4 tsp. grapefruit juice
2 Tbs. honey
Grapefruit, for garnish
Add one shot of whiskey, 2 tsp. of grapefruit juice, and 1 Tbs. of honey to each mug. Add 8 oz. of hot, fresh coffee. Stir until honey is completely dissolved. Garnish with grapefruit. Serve immediately.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Lost my Head there by Kurt Vile
As I’ve mentioned countless times in the past, visiting San Francisco for the weekend is one of my favorite things to do, especially since I live so close! I will be posting updates with all of my best SF recommendations as I continue to visit. Stay tuned for my favorite restaurants, bars, activities, and places to go!
The last time I was in The City, I dropped by Haight-Ashbury to hit some of my favorite spots. Haight-Ashbury has an incredibly unique art culture and history, so I always try to stop by if I have the chance. In addition to going to some of my favorite stores, I have been learning more about the neighborhood restaurants, coffee places, and other local spots. As soon as the Uber dropped us off, I grabbed a capp at Stanza Coffee Bar and went to this really cool art store called Mendel’s to pick up some fabric. I always try to stop by Mendel’s when I’m in the city, because they have a huge variety of art supplies you can’t find in run-of-the-mill places. Afterwards, I went to one of the most unique thrift/vintage shops, Decades of Fashion, just to check out what they had in stock – if you love vintage clothing or unique costumes, definitely stop by! I also made sure to hit one of my favorite record stores, Rasputin Music, which has a large variety of CDs, records, and DVDs, both old and new, classic and recent. After a couple hours of shopping, we were pretty hungry and looking for restaurants close by. I had never eaten at a restaurant in Haight-Ashbury before this trip, so I was excited to see what the neighborhood had to offer. Trusting solely on Yelp reviews, we decided on what turned out to be an amazing French restaurant called Zazie, just a few blocks up on Cole St.
Zazie is located on a quiet street in a narrow space, that I believe is an old apartment building. The ambience is classic French bistro, with yellow walls and pretty wooden tables. They have many of the French favorites, breakfast, lunch, and specials including the pancakes I got! I had poppy pancakes with lemon curd and strawberries, and they came with a side of potatoes. I also got their house tea, which was amazing! Other orders were the Croque Madame and the French toast, which were both delicious (based on the few bites I had!).
After brunch at Zazie, we drove over to Golden Gate Park to enjoy the beautiful NoCal weather. Golden Gate Park is one of my favorite places in San Francisco, so I definitely wanted to take a long walk, especially after a few stressful weeks at home. Previous to this trip, I had walked past the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park multiple times, but I had never actually gone in. This time, I thought it would be fun to walk around since the tickets are fairly inexpensive, especially if you have a student ID! The Botanical Gardens were beautiful, with all kinds of unique plants and greenery. It was a very peaceful way to spend an afternoon, especially in the busyness of the city.
Later that night, we walked around near the beach and enjoyed a quiet dinner (can’t remember the name of the restaurant – if I see it next time I’m in SF, I’ll update).
If you need any more recommendations, feel free to reach out! San Fran is one of my favorite places to go, so I have lots of things to share!
For a list of my favorite coffee places in SF, click here.
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Horchata by Vampire Weekend
As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, San Francisco is one of my favorite places to visit. The foggy weather, public art, trendy restaurants, and bearded men get me every time. Plus the coffee. Because, as you also know if you’ve been following me for a while, I LOVE COFFEE. Like, a lot. So naturally, I have to write a post about my favorite coffee places.
Before I begin, let me first give you some of my qualifications. 1. It usually has to be specialty coffee. I say “usually”, because of the “never say never” rule, and I can’t promise that I’ll never write about a non-specialty coffee shop. For more info about specialty coffee, see here. 2. I have to be impressed by not only their coffee, but also by their employees and atmosphere. That may not be fair, since really it’s all about the coffee, but there’s something to be said about the other aspects, too. If I’m visiting a coffee shop on vacation, I probably want to hang out for a little while, and the atmosphere and employees should be pleasant. 3. I have to want to visit again. I’ve been to specialty coffee shops that I’ve thought were okay, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit again. To make the list, it has to be a place I want to spend a lot of time at.
And there you go! The list will be pretty short, because not all the places I visited were list-worthy, and I also didn’t get to make it to all of the shops I planned on visiting. However, I’ll update this list as I continue to visit SF 🙂
P.S. These are in no particular order.
1. Beacon Coffee & Pastry
If you’re staying near Fisherman’s Wharf, Beacon is a short walk away from most of the hotels and shops. It was about an eight minute walk from our hotel, so not the closest, but definitely close enough for this coffee snob. Their beans are roasted by Sightglass (see below), and they have great espresso drinks and a few snacks. If you’re looking for a close, relaxing place to spend your morning before a day of shopping or tourist-ing, this is a great choice. (Oops! I forgot to snap a pic).
Beacon Website: http://www.beacon-sf.com/
2. Stanza Coffee Bar
Stanza is a cute, minimalist coffee shop in the middle of The Haight. I love Haight Ashbury area, because they have really good food, some great thrift shops, and a killer record store that always has amazing finds. I had never seen a specialty coffee shop there until this trip (I’m not sure how long Stanza has been there), so I was thrilled to see one! My recommendation would be a cappuccino. Served the
only specialty way, with silky foam.
Tip: They have another location in The Mission as well.
3. Sightglass Coffee
This was my second trip to Sightglass, and I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first. I have only been to their 7th Street location, but I imagine their other locations are just as beautiful. The cool part about their 7th Street location is that it is where they roast their coffee, and there are 2 stories, so you can watch the action happening below. They had Ethiopian coffee, which has been difficult to come by this summer in Reno, so I was beyond stoked. They also have really great espresso drinks. Plus, they have cool swag for sale – it’s where I got my amazing Chemex pin pictured above!
Tip: They have locations in The Mission, The SF Farmer’s Market, SFMOMA, and soon on Divisadero!
Sightglass website: https://sightglasscoffee.com/.
4. Four Barrel Coffee
Four Barrel is probably my favorite SF coffee to date. Their Valencia shop has a lot of energy, local art, cool staff, and (of course) amazing coffee. Honestly, it’s a good thing I don’t live anywhere near this neighborhood, because I would spend all of my tip money (unless they want to hire me? Yes? YES?!). Anyways, aside from their fantastic marketing, mugs, and (duh) coffee, they have adorable coffee roasters. I watched them dance when they weren’t looking (Creeper Confession #2). However, I don’t think they would mind my watching.
Side note true story: They had this mug in their shop for the longest time that I loved, because it really embraced my personality. Right when I decided to buy it, they went out of stock. SO MANY TEARS. See mug here.
Tip: They have locations at The Mill and in Portola!
Four Barrel website: http://fourbarrelcoffee.com/.
My next stops include Blue Bottle and Ritual (which I’ve actually been to before, but I don’t really remember…)! Any good SF coffee recommendations?
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Out of Tune by Real Estate *
…because I got to watch Real Estate perform this live while on holiday!
I’ve decided to start off the official twelve days of Christmas by posting a holiday recipe every day until the 25th! Cookies, candies, and other foods that are bad for you (but it’s okay because it’s the holidays). The recipes will be some old, some new, but all worthy of your holiday baking list.
First Day of Christmas: German Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
This is an old recipe, dating back to 3 years ago (didn’t really think I had a blog that long ago tbh). These cookies remain one of my favorites, and I also like how they look snowy!
Second Day of Christmas: Soft Sugar Cookies with Sour Cream Frosting
These cookies are perfect for the holidays, because the recipe makes a lot, everyone likes them, and you can decorate them with holiday sprinkles. They take a little extra time than most cookies, but it’s worth it, I promise!
Third Day of Christmas: Orange Drop Cookies
This is my grandma’s recipe that I bake entirely too much (although, I don’t really see anyone complaining about it). It’s been one of my favorite desserts since I was really little. If you’re indecisive about holiday baking, just trust me on this: make these cookies.
Fourth Day of Christmas: Cheesecake Crumb Bars
Taking a break from the cookies to present cheesecake crumb bars! A mix between cheesecake, crumb cake, and shortbread. Customize with different flavors, or go simple with a little vanilla.
Fifth Day of Christmas: The Best Nut Caramel Ever
This is one of my family’s favorite holiday recipes! The caramel is super easy to make, and it’s customizable, because you can just add in whatever nuts you have on hand (although I highly recommend walnuts and hazelnuts). Wrap them in mini Christmas cupcake liners, because it’s cute.
Sixth Day of Christmas: Pineapple Zucchini Bread
This bread is a nice break from all the super sweet that comes with cookies and candy during the holidays. Filled with zucchini, walnuts, and pineapple, it’s perfect with a little butter and some coffee for breakfast!
Seventh Day of Christmas: Cinnamon Butter Candy
Unique, spicy, and the hardest part of the recipe is boiling the water. Wrap as a gift, and give your friends a break from peppermint chocolate bark. Or just keep it for yourself (trust me, you’ll want to)!
Eighth Day of Christmas: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
These are time consuming, but if you make these, you will pretty much win Christmas baking altogether. P.S. They’re not hard. They just have to rise for a few hours!
Ninth Day of Christmas: Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
These cookies are really easy to make, and I love how festive they are! Sweet from white chocolate, tart from the cranberries, and chewy from the oatmeal. Santa will be happy 🙂
Tenth Day of Christmas: Butter Cookies with Walnuts
Effortless, buttery icebox cookies filled with walnuts that melt when you eat them. Keep them simple with vanilla, or add extra flavors to get more creative with your holiday baking. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so you have plenty to wrap up and gift!
Eleventh Day of Christmas: Espresso Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Whipped Cream
This is by far my favorite hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Only 5 ingredients and perfect for Christmas brunch!
Twelfth Day of Christmas: Norwegian Lefse
My family’s Christmas tradition every year! Lefse is a cross between a tortilla and a crepe, made out of potatoes. I look forward to making lefse every year, because it’s fun and of course, it tastes amazing! If you’ve ever wanted to make Nordic food, this is the best place to start.
Merry Christmas, my friends ♥
You can ask anyone in my family about my hot chocolate preferences, and they will tell you that I am a hot chocolate snob. No really, that’s a thing, and I am part of the demographic. When I was really little, my dad would make me hot chocolate every night with Ovaltine. If it was too hot outside, he would make me chocolate milk. I called it “brown milk” and I specifically remember asking for it while my parents read me my books. So naturally, the first time I had the packet-mixed-with-water type of hot chocolate, I was sorely underwhelmed. As a kid, I hated it, and I hate it now. I don’t even want flavored hot chocolates-peppermint, orange zest, and cayenne pepper have no right. I’ll just take my regular hot chocolate made with milk and Ovaltine or some type of pretentious homemade chocolate syrup, thank you very much.
Until now….Because in case we haven’t yet discussed my obsession with coffee or how I want to own my own cafe someday (we have), I have quite the love affair with all things coffee. And like my hot chocolate, I don’t want extra added flavors-I want pure, good quality, black coffee, maybe with a little cream and sugar when I have a craving.
I was fairly skeptical at the idea of mixing together my beloved espresso with hot chocolate. While I do appreciate a good mocha every once in a while, it’s not usually my cup of
tea coffee, and I wasn’t really looking to make a mocha here. What I really wanted was a creamy hot chocolate with intense cocoa flavor. Borrowing the idea that sometimes coffee is added to chocolate cake recipes to enhance the cocoa flavor, I decided adding a little espresso to my hot chocolate might to do the same thing.
I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I will reiterate that this is not a mocha. The espresso is definitely noticeable, but its main function is to complement the cocoa flavor. I added some vanilla whipped cream to the top, which melts with the heat, and creates this cool layer on top that mixes in with the hot chocolate, and overall, it was probably my favorite part. Honestly, I was worried that with only five ingredients, it would be bland, but it was anything but.
Merry Christmas Eve to you and your family! Make this hot chocolate when you’re opening presents or having dessert tonight, or even for breakfast tomorrow. It’s the perfect mix of your favorite childhood drink and your favorite (morning) adult drink, so it will be sure to make everyone happy!
*Song of the Day: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra
I’m back from London 🙁
I’m so sad, but I also figured that I would make myself happy by posting my last “happy things” London edition. After some very spotty wifi services, I can finally show you guys all the cool things that I did!
I had the most amazing trip, and I can’t wait to show you all more pictures as I download and edit.
I’m on to Utah to spend some time with my family at our cabin, but I will post right when I get back!
Here are my happy things for the week:
Going to Abbey Road! This was the coolest experience. I almost died trying to get this picture, but luckily the cars stopped for half a second to let me get this. It was truly magical.
Also, this group of three people randomly walked up and asked me to be their fourth Beatle which was kind of fun. I didn’t get to be Ringo, but I think I’ll let it slide.
The vintage teacup exhibit at the V&A Museum! Oh my gosh guys. This was my dream. I’m not kidding. There were rows and rows of teacups like this. Six rooms full. It was my heaven.
And yeah, that little blob on the end is me. That’s how many teacups there were.
The ceilings at the Courtauld Gallery. They were so beautiful! I was almost as excited about the ceilings and walls as I was about the art. I saw some Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas which was amazing! I could have spent all day in there.
Going to the Harry Potter Studio Tours in London.
I can’t even explain this one. It might become a whole post in itself.
I’ll just say that if you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is something you can’t not do in London. It was one of my favorite activities I did while I was there. I may have cried at one point (but that’s not something we need to talk about).
It took me the whole month to find a pour over, but I did it! The CoffeeWorks Project saved my life. I am forever grateful. It was the raddest little coffee shop, and I’m so glad I got to go. You guys are the besssss.
NYC Baby by Karen O is one of my favorite songs! I had it stuck in my head for the last few days I was in London (???), so I figured it had to be added.
Thank you to London and to the amazing people I met while I was there.
It was truly incredible.
Song of the Day: posted above
Hi hi hi hi hi!!!
I’m super stoked about doing my second “happy things” because I’m finally in London and I have soooo much stuff to share with you!
For now, I’m only going to share my happy things, but when I get back from London expect a really long, detailed London post (or two). I’m having the best time here making friends and exploring London. Not to be too cheesy here, but London is very serendipitous. Also, most of the pictures aren’t great because they were taken on my iPhone, but you get the idea. I’ll have better pictures later, but for now I’m just too antsy to edit!
Can you tell I’m a little excited?
I’m kind of really excited!!!
Here are my happy things for the week:
What you see here is me in the midst of utter joy, because I was standing right in front of Big Ben. Also the London Eye. I’m so in love with it that I actually want to go back just to get more pictures like this. No, I don’t have a problem. Not one that I’m willing to admit to anyways.
This bakery & coffee shop is called Bloomsbury Coffee House. It’s pretty close to my dorm, so after class I decided to stop by and grab a coffee. They really know what they’re doing, and I will be visiting again. I plan on writing a review of the coffee shops I visit while I’m in London, but for now just look at this cute little set up they have going.
Gelato!!! Just go to Scoop if you’re in London. Okay? Just do it.
I got amaretto and pistachio. I almost always get nutty “old-people” flavors. It’s actually a joke in my family.
This demo version of “You Only Live Once” by The Strokes. I actually like this version a *little* better, but don’t tell anyone. I’m posting this because I SAW THE STROKES LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS PRETTY MUCH THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO ME.
But that’s a story for another day.
For now, have a lovely weekend, and I will update you soon, soon, soon!
Song of the Day: posted above!
I hope you are all having a wonderful Thursday night. (It’s Thursday right??) (Probably).
Anyways, I am currently in Las Vegas for a night before I leave for London. Even though I’m not there yet, I thought I would start with “my happy things” to kick things off and prepare for blogging abroad.
Here are my happy things for the week:
The trailer for Inside Out! Like many people (mostly kids, I presume) I’m obsessed with Pixar/Disney, so I was super stoked when I first saw the trailer for this. That was about a year ago, so this movie is a long time coming. I’m not sure when the release date is in London, but since my mom is also crazy about kids’ movies, I’ll probably have to wait to see it with her anyways.
These tulips in my kitchen. I’m not sure where they came from (I imagine my roommate got them for his girlfriend), but I don’t care because pinkish purple tulips rock regardless of where they came from.
Spending a day at Tahoe with one of my best friends! I have a theory that there is no way to be sad if you are in Tahoe. It’s just not even a possibility.
Drinking coffee and reading my Bon Appetit at my favorite coffee place. This is totally the usual, but I never complain when I have a pour over and a magazine full of beautiful food pictures.
The pretty quad at UNR. My iPhone does it no justice, but it’s truly one of the most amazing places on campus.
Fun fact: Every single time I walk through the quad, “Campus” by Vampire Weekend pops into my head. Without fail. Every time.
This video of one of my favorite bands/albums. The Lonesome Crowded West is an amazingly nostalgic album even if you’ve never heard it before, and I always find it very raw and emotional. Lately, I’ve really been on a Modest Mouse kick (actually, when am I not?), so I was really excited to stumble upon this video. I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but I definitely will be tomorrow during my 2 hour layover.
Other random things that made me happy this week:
Eating Mexican food with my dad and grandpa tonight after my plane landed. Going home to the house I grew up in and seeing my puppy. Finding a really amazing thrift store dress at half price (will make an appearance soon).
More happy things to come soon!
I can’t wait to show you all of the amazing things I find in London and Paris! Ah!
Song of the Day: Long Distance Drunk–Modest Mouse
P.S. I made the header picture from scratch all by myself using PicMonkey! That website roxxxxx.