Archive for the ‘new’ Category
Parisi Artisan Coffee has long been a powerful force in Kansas City. They, along with the Roastarie, are our big hometown coffee roasters. And like the Roastarie, they decided to open a shop to show off how good their coffee is. However unlike The Roastarie Café, Parisi Café decided to hire a chef as well to make intricate sandwiches, salads and fritatas.
I’ve had the pleasure of sampling Parisi Café twice now, once a few weeks ago with a friend and then earlier this week at their PR event. First up, the standard Service / Atmosphere / Coffee review:
When you approach Parisi Café from across the wide Union Station, you’ll notice something right off the bat that’s different from most coffee shops: the staff. There’s tons of them. Fed up with your regular shop having a line 5 people deep just to place your order? That’s far less likely to happen here. The counter is low, wide and inviting, meaning that as soon as you enter their space, someone’s already taking your order. And although it takes a few minutes to get your cup of coffee, you don’t feel ignored. More on why it takes a few minutes later.
Atmosphere is a mixed bag. Like I said earlier, the counter is prominent. Its also all white, clean and bright with a cool blue-light effect. Seating’s a bit of a problem though. To get to the seating you go along a narrow hallway to an area that feels almost completely different. There’s a lot of it, and there’s some black and white photography here and there, but the comfy element is missing. Granted, they didn’t have a lot of space to work with, Union Station’s floor plan is more or less set in stone. The fact they crammed a kitchen, cafe counter and some seating in there is impressive, but they could take a few more steps to make it more soft and inviting and connect with the image they project from the front.
The coffee is, to put it succinctly, sublime.
Oh, you want more detail? Fine.
- A standard cup of coffee here is brewed by the pour-over method. That means each cup is brewed individually. The beans are ground by the cup too. Then they very closely control the temperature and speed at which the cups are brewed to get the most smooth flavor out of the grounds as possible. Consider it a human-Clover. This takes about 3 minutes to do right, thusly the small wait I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. I had a big cup of this at the PR event and it was, as I said, smooth and flavorful. Had the flavor potency of an average espresso pull while still being a full cup. Winning.
- If you’re in a hurry and 3 minutes is too long, they’ll brew you a french press coffee.
- The mocha I had was just right. No collected chocolate syrup on the bottom, good flavor mix with a good espresso pull at its base.
- The double shot espresso I had was the highlight of all of the coffees. I’ve had an ongoing mission to find the perfect ristrestto shot, comparable to those I’ve had in Paris and Rome. I have found it. My friends, if you want relive your lazy afternoons in Paris, Parisi is the place. Mission accomplished. Unfortunately there’s not a cozy spot there to really dig in and enjoy the afternoon like one would in Paris, but at least the coffee is perfect.
- The Bangkok iced tea was refreshing. The ginger peach Italian soda was both sweet and light. And even though I didn’t have their regular teas, apparently they use a “trifecta” for tight control on temp and steep time. Another guest told me their house-blended chai was perfect.
As for the PR event, they were mostly showcasing their chef and their foods. The two teas I mentioned above were presented as well as the pour-over coffee. I was surprised they didn’t focus more on the coffee, but perhaps that’s what they’re overall going for here; they seem to want to be more of a restaurant-cafe than a coffee-only cafe and this was their attempt to push that viewpoint. So it would be rude of me to not talk about their food too for a moment.
I sat at a table with Lunch Blog KC guys Robert Bishop and Matt Shaw, I suspect you’ll see a review from them on their blog soon too.
- The turkey brie apple butter sandwich was the best of the bunch. I couldn’t put it down. Reminded me a lot of Mildreds’ turkey brie marmalade sandwich, but better.
- The bacon and blue salad was delicately conceived and prepared. Good huge chunks of bacon, nice touch of scallion. The smooth yogurt in the dressing completed the composition nicely.
- The roasted squash sandwich with kale was tasty. There were grilled mushrooms somewhere on there, but I lost them, the sweetness of the squash overpowered the savory I was hoping for. Overall, still a wonderful sandwich though.
- The gelato with pumpkin caramel sauce was a great dessert. Super creamy, more than I usually expect from gelato.
The menu is seasonal, so you’ll get to try new creations all year long. The chef knows what he’s up to, all the stuff I had was great.
They talked a lot about good food pairings for coffees and they used the word flavor profiles, but I didn’t see much direction in the store on how to pair your foods with teas and coffees. I hope they plan to publish some pairing recommendations, but at the moment their menu doesn’t have anything like that. Hopefully it wasn’t just PR talking and that becomes a reality.
TL;DR: They have perfect espresso shots (Mission accomplished!). Swing by for a coffee of any type, maybe even have a small business meeting or lunch there.
A couple of weeks ago Brenda Gustafson (Ms. Gusto) contacted me with news of their upcoming coffeehouse party. With no further ado:
Summer is winding down and school has begun but you can still hit the beach right here in Missouri! August 20 will be the 1st annual Live Life with Gusto Beach Bash. We’ll gear up for the beach by grilling $1 hot dogs and $3 brats. Special sweets for the beach will be cocktail cupcakes (strawberry daiquari, mint mojito, pina colada and of course a shirley temple.), and marguerita mini-bundt cakes. We’ll have hourly drink specials including $1 iced coffee, pina colada spins (frozen coffee drink). And our frozen yogurts are Cake Batter, Snickerdoodle, Island Banana and Hawaian Pineapple.
We’ll have music, a face painter, and a balloon artist. We will also be having a sandcastle contest. We’ll post them to our Facebook page and people will be able to vote. Prizes will include a Kindle, Ipod Shuffles and Gusto Gift Cards. It runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Gusto is located at 3rd and View High Drive, across the street from Longview Community College.
The Mandoline Cafe at 2015 Grand: No, they don’t have a coffee roll (yet), but they DO serve both fancy coffee AND sushi.
Other items worth trying: The Gooey Pig (delish ham and cheese) and the Korean Taco (a teriyaki beef creation).
Tea Drops, previously of Westport only, has recently made a splash down in Power and Light. Good for them. I love their first shop, the only thing that would make it better would be to have as many samples lying around as Teavana does at Oak Park Mall. They’ve moved into the space in the H&R Block building where a Starbucks used to be. You know, just 2 blocks away from the quazi-Starbucks in that hotel and just 3 blocks away from the Starbucks with the one great chair. So, this is a good thing.
Keeping with TeaDrops’ mission, the downtown branch is taking it upon themselves to educate us about a new tea every day. I encourage you to subscribe to their blog, as it will certainly broaden your caffeinated morning beverage horizons.
Now on with the review and the explanation of the silly title.
And no, I’m not talking about the delay to post this review (although it was substantial…). I’m talking about the space at 310 Southwest Blvd. Ever since Coffee Girls moved their shop down to Waldo, the Crossroads has been far too decaffeinated. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled YJ’s and Mildred’s held strong. But it just seemed … off.
I’m amused that they chose the name ‘Crossroads Coffeehouse’, after Rev! had that as a working name for about 9 months. But that’s where the joking stops. Crossroads Coffeehouse is a treat to visit.
One thing that is immediately apparent when you walk in, is that the proprietors A) know what makes a good shop, B) had the money to make it so, C) had the restraint to not go over the top.
A mix of comfy chairs, meeting tables, solo tables, bar stools… you want to sit in it, they’ve got it. Rocking chairs! And if you’re bold enough, an acoustic guitar to casually play.
They seem to have settled upon a new-to-me bean, Intelligentsia Coffee. Bold move, considering we’ve got great beans in both Parisi and Roastarie, right here in KC. But the taste doesn’t disappoint. The espresso tasted good; both the beans and the barista did their things.
And of course, friendly enough people running the place. All in all, a good morning coffee.
I wanted to try the yogurt+fruit+granola, but wasn’t that hungry today. But it certainly looked good. On the flip side, they didn’t seem to have much in the way of food or snacks for mid-day non-coffee cravings. That’s fine though. I’d much rather go to LuLu’s for that.
In order of discovery!
Coffee Art is alive and well in KC, and here’s proof. I unfortunately have no idea what shop Lesa and her sister were drinking at, but, yeah. What a beauty.
Starbucks is trimming management. They claim no baristas will be laid off, but I suspect it is only a matter of time till branches start to feel the pinch. Its unfortunate, but I fear coffee shops in general will be feeling the pinch of this economic down turn, more so than any other type of food service.
How Coffee Works. A brief history of coffee, how its made, how decaf is made (worthless), and everything else. There’s a collalary documentary on Discovery channel some times if you want to watch it. Pop quiz: Which is the only US state to grow coffee?
Coffee, as told by napkins. Back in December a NYT guy had a lot of fun telling a coffee story, illustrated by drawing with coffee onto napkins. This is old news by now (2 months is forever on the internet), but if you missed it, the illustrations and story are pretty amusing.
Twitter brews up business. Hey KC coffee shop owners, want to improve your customer’s experience? Try what this shop did: allow ordering via Twitter. If anybody does this, please, please, PLEASE let me know @mildweed (or this post). I will SO tweet you some orders, as would the rest of the Social Media Club of KC, probably.
Boozefish goes MORE European with “Le plaisir de jour” (aka Boozefish Brunch). Now on Saturdays, you can get very special espresso along with authentic crepes. Of note, its only from 10-2, so don’t wake up toooooo early on Saturday.
Wired Waldo. Finally back to KC coffee shops specifically, Waldo is about to explode with coffee shops. Silly me, till this article was published a couple days ago, I only knew about one of these. As far as I can tell, there are only a few parts of town with this kind of density: Downtown, Crossroads, 39th St / Westport, The Plaza, and JCCC. Something tells me that Waldo doesn’t have the kind of coffee traffic to keep all 3 alive. Location, location, location, people.
Also, I’m posting some map updates right now. Thanks for all the tips Kay, Darrell, Mike and Bret, keep ‘em comin in to email@example.com:
Bean Counter Cafe, 9019 S Highway 7, Lee’s Summit, MO 60464
Dean & Deluca, 4700 West 119th St, Leawood, KS
Kansas City Coffee Company, 1807 East 123rd Terrace, Olathe, Kansas 66061
Java Crossing, 8830 West 95th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66212
Latte Land, 7224 W 135th St, Overland Park, KS 66223 (Where Beanology used to be)
Its getting hard to keep up with all the Latte Land locations. They’re possibly the city’s most successful local coffee chain.
In the productive department, The Broadway Roasting Company’s new location seems to be well underway. They’ve already closed down their east Westport location. This new location will be in the old firehouse just north of Broadway and Westport, near the BP.
Finally! A new shop to really get excited about. Songbird Cafe.
Hiding in the Fairfax District of Kansas City, KS for the last 4 months, Songbird Cafe seems to have brought the spirit of YJ’s Snack Shop to ‘The Other KC’. Don’t get me wrong, The Q Brew in KCK is an endearing shop of its own accord, but its not a place I’d cross over for. What aspects of YJ’s spirit do I see reflected in Songbird? The non-assuming feel of the shop. The lunch menu with just one meal on it per day (today: BBQ pulled pork). The friendly-as-get-out service. The clientele are real people too, not your average coffee-shop junkies (… you know, like me).
Bella39, a brand new restaurant and ‘coffee shop’ on W 39th St was originally slated to open down in the River Market, right next door to Eljay’s. Their main thrust is local, fresh food, trying to be all eco-friendly. Farmers markets and whatnot. When they were planning on opening on Delaware St, the coffee shop was not a part of the concept, they were right next door to one. It should be no surprise then, that this morning, they continued to treat the coffee as an afterthought.
Do not let what I say next affect your perception of their food or juice drinks, which I’m sure are supurb. After all, InkKC said Bella’s watermelon sippers are awesome, and their menu looks quite respectable.