6 Cozy Spots Around Chicago

Colder weather calls for cozy get togethers. If there’s one thing Chicago knows how to do well (other than take advantage of summer), it’s survive winter and the colder months. We’re a social city! We like going out for brunch and meeting friends for a cocktail after work. Five months of bitter cold won’t keep us hibernating...well, not the entire time at least. We can appreciate a good occasional hibernation. For those colder months when the tips of your fingers start to turn blue and your nose goes numb, the cozier spot to meet up, the better. Cozy, by definition, means “enjoying or affording warmth and ease.” In my words, that translates to a fireplace, casual and/or comfortable seating arrangements like couches or comfy chairs, and a warm drink with alcohol optional…

Read More

The Lady Boss' Guide to Chicago

Chicago is one of the best cities for self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs. Going off on my own almost four years ago now, I’ve had the chance to get to know the city in a different way. It became my office playground like many other people who are in similar career paths and work environments. I’ve explored different neighborhoods and found a few favorite spots to return to and a few spots that are better for casual coffees with friends. For a productive day “out of the office,” I learned quick that cafes and coffee shops with a strong internet connection are vital. It’s also a perk if they offer real food and not just snacks or pastries as well as plenty of outlets. To meet with colleagues or clients, it’s important to find spots with a lower noise level or at least moderate so you can have a conversation without screaming. Some of the best spots are tucked away in the neighborhoods of Chicago and others are right in the heart of downtown. All it takes is a little exploration to find the right ones!

Read More

5 Things To Do Along Magnolia Avenue | Fort Worth, TX

I’ve never considered myself a hipster. I don’t have the confident, carefree attitude they seem to emit and I love The Gap way too much. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not ashamed by any means. Not everyone can be hipster otherwise by definition, no one would be. I’m perfectly content in my gap tees and LC by Lauren Conrad jeans sipping Starbucks coffees more often than not. I embrace basic life. However, I am all about those hipster neighborhoods. They seem to have the best boutiques, the best coffee and the best brunch. I would have never guessed it but the South Side or as I like to call it, Magnolia neighborhood, in Fort Worth is a hipster haven.

5 Things To Do on Magnolia.png

Magnolia Avenue is a street in the Southside neighborhood in Fort Worth lined with restaurants, boutiques, nightlife and more. It’s near the Fort Worth Medical District and “behind it” is the “Fairmont” neighborhood which is full of old homes (more on those further down). It’s a casual avenue that you could explore for days. The restaurants alone will keep you occupied for weeks not to mention the ones that host live music and entertainment. From wine tastings to homemade ice cream and specialty shops to cafes, there is so much to do and as if that’s not enough, the entire area is charming on top of it all. It almost reminds me of those small towns you see in Hallmark movies (don’t judge, we’ve all seen one or two). This isn’t the first time Magnolia has appeared on the site and it won’t be the last. Until next time, here are five of my top recommendations on what to do along Magnolia.

Brewed 4.0.jpg

Brunch at Brewed
Brewed is my one of my favorite spots in Fort Worth. The eclectic inside has tons of seating from traditional tables and chairs to comfy sofas. The patio in back has a gorgeous layout with even more seating. It doesn’t end there though. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Brewed has a crazy good brunch menu featuring everything from pancakes to chicken and biscuits. And if you worried about the coffee falling short, don’t. Their coffee is always on point and I have had a few cappuccinos and lattes to prove it. Coffee not your thing? I’m sure you’ll find a wine, beer or cocktail to your satisfaction instead!

Brewed 3.0.jpg

Lunch at Heim
A local favorite for good reason, Heim recently made Texas Monthly’s list of top 25 barbecue joints. Heim was recommended to me by a DFW local. It’s still on my list, meaning I haven’t actually made it here yet, but believe me when I say it’s at the top. The trick about Heim is that you need to go with a little patience. Heim is so popular that it’s known for a lunch line. Yes, you read that right! A line at lunch! Who has time, right? Well, from what I’ve been told and everything that I’ve read, the line moves quick. I’ve also been told that the bacon burnt ends are to die for. I don’t see them on the menu so I don’t know exactly how you get your hands on these but if you have a chance, do not turn them down!

Grab a Pastry at Great Harvest Bread Co...or a Sandwich
New to the block, Great Harvest Bread Co. is serving up breakfast, lunch, and plenty of sweets including pooch-friendly options. The service is friendly and the space a bit small but cozy. Bread and baked goods are made in house every morning. Great Harvest features a seasonal menu on top of regular baked goods including treats to take home to your furbaby. During my visit, I had the Sophisticated Grilled Cheese Sandwich with sharp cheddar, provolone, sliced apples, bacon, and pepper jelly. It was DIVINE! I also went home with a cinnamon roll and let me tell you, Great Harvest has become one of my new favorite Fort Worth spots.

Great Harvest Bread Co. 1.0.jpg

Get Your Dairy Fix at Melt Ice Cream
For the best vegan ice cream in the south, Melt is the spot. For those who love the classic ingredients, there’s plenty of that as well. Classic flavors always available include “Beans” - Vanilla, Chocolate Chocolate, “Salt Lick” - Salted Caramel, “Cup of Texas” - coffee, and Velvet Vegan. They also serve seasonal flavors throughout the year including Black Forest, dark chocolate cake and almond meringue swirled into cherry ice cream, and Sunbrittle, vegan sunbutter ice cream sprinkled with pieces of vegan peanut and pretzel brittle. They also do seasonal cone pairings and “Taco Tuesdays” featuring two ice cream scoops topped with vanilla whipped cream, homemade salted caramel sauce and chocolate sauce. As if Melt wasn’t good enough already, they also partner with fellow local businesses for some of their ingredients. The owners of Melt saw that Fort Worth was missing an ice cream spot and boy did they make a name for themselves.

Walk/Drive around the Fairmont District
Just south of Magnolia Avenue is the Fairmont District. Once you step off of Magnolia, you’re in the district. It’s full of historical and old homes, many of which were built or used to be owned by rather famous people at least by Texan standards. Some of the homes are a bit broken down and need some love, others are just as beautiful as they must have been the day they were built. The homes are in the bungalow style which means they’re simple, smaller in size and functional - typically meant as single family homes. Even if you’re not on the market for a new home, it’s great to walk or drive down the streets and look at the houses. The contrast of some of the more broken down ones versus the ones in tip-top shape is eerily beautiful. They’re also very colorful - many are painted different colors, even vibrant hues! If nothing else, it’s a great opportunity to grab some photos

Brewed 2.0.jpg

Chicago Coffee Shop Series | Wicker Park, Bucktown + Ukrainian Village

Ok you coffee addicts, I have five new coffee shops to share for the latest Chicago Coffee Shop Guide. Sadly, Filter Cafe which was also supposed to be included closed in November. This spot was one of my particular favorites so far while researching for this series so I’m hoping that they reopen with new plans this year. With that said, there have been a few additions to the coffee scene since I posted the other four guides in the series which means I’m going to work on follow-ups to those with more recommendations and new additions plus any closing information that’s recent. The difficult part is that there are SO many coffee shops and only so many days in the week and it’s taking me longer than anticipated to get to all these spots. I promise I’ll continue visiting the ones I have mapped out and report on them once I have enough to put together a guide. In the meantime, make sure you’re following on Instagram because I post real-time experiences.

Chicago Coffee Shop Series - Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukrainian Village.png

Caffe Streets | 1750 West Division Street
With a prime location along Division Street in the Wicker Park neighborhood, Caffe Streets delivers an exceptional coffee experience. The cafe serves locally-owned Metric Coffee along with pastries and snacks. The space has an industrial design to it, very simple with a few quirky elements scattered about. The weekday crowd is mostly people typing away at their computers with a few friendly meetups. Weekends have a combination of people working and meeting up for coffee talk. When the weather is nice, Caffe Streets has a large patio with plenty of seating. It’s a great spot to people watch and enjoy the day, especially since they serve up a mean latte.

Good for Working: ✓
Food Selection: Pastries, snacks and small breakfast items (ex. granola with yogurt, scones)
Service: Friendly and efficient
Noise Level: Mild to moderate
Seating Space: Mixture of high and low seating plus an outdoor patio
Outlets: Plenty
Music: Eclectic collection and never the same. Perfect volume, soft enough for conversations and working but loud enough to hear.

Caffe Streets 1.0.jpg

Cup & Spoon | 2415 North Avenue
Part of the WOW District (West of Western), Cup & Spoon introduced me to a new Chicago neighborhood that I didn’t know existed! Stop in for a locally-sourced cup of coffee and bite to eat. The cafe features brews and bites from Metric Coffee, Littlefoot Coffee, Phlour Bakery, Pear Tree Preserves, and Jo Snow Syrups. It’s a local business that supports other local businesses. The latte is creamy and delicious and the Savory Breakfast Bagel is the perfect fuel when you don't have time to make breakfast. Cup & Spoon also works as an art gallery, showcasing work from local artists. They are on North Avenue right past Western which keeps it from being part of the Wicker Park neighborhood and instead a member of the WOW District.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for Working: ✓
Food Selection: Breakfast served all day, lunch sandwiches, and pastries
Service: Friendly
Noise Level: Quiet during slow hours, Moderate during busy hours
Seating Space: A dozen or so tables, small space in general but decent seating
Outlets: Plenty
Music: N/A

Cup & Spoon 1.0.jpg

Ipsento | 2035 North Western Avenue
Ipsento provides a relaxed coffee experience on the edge of the Bucktown neighborhood. The service is exceptional and the coffee delicious. The Western Avenue location is the original spot and a bit small but perfect for getting work done. It’s quiet and the back room has plenty of seating away from the bustle of the barista counter. There’s another location, also in Bucktown but along Milwaukee Avenue - Ipsento 606, that serves up cocktails as well as coffee. Both are easily accessible with public transportation. The Western blue line stop is actually the closest “El” station to both.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for Working: ✓
Food Selection: Snacks and Sandwiches
Service: Friendly and Efficient. My coffee was a little overfull so one of the baristas helped me to my seat by carrying my plate of food. SO nice of them!
Noise Level: Quiet to Moderate, there’s background music but everyone was super chill and quiet during my visit.
Seating Space: A few seats in the front but more seating in a room towards the back. Still not a huge space though so get there outside of busy hours.
Outlets: Plenty
Music: Mixture of throwbacks, indie and top 40

Star Lounge Coffee Bar | 2521 West Chicago Avenue
Star Lounge is part of the Dark Matter Coffee company, one of the more well-known local roasters and shops in Chicago. Star Lounge is part of the West Town community in the Smith Park/Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Smaller in size, the coffee bar serves up brews both caffeinated and alcoholic. Dark Matter has a philosophy that centers around sustainability and offers products that are socially responsible, innovative and sustainable. They have a committed community and fan base and it’s no wonder because their coffee is really delicious. Star Lounge itself is very hip and cool. The crowd is indie/hipster and the vibe laid back. It’s a great spot but the lack of seating because the space is smaller and more like a bar setting doesn’t make it ideal to work but if you can grab a seat, by all means! You’ll see more Dark Matter locations in future coffee guides.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for Working: ok
Food Selection: Snacks and Pastries
Service: Quick
Noise Level: Moderate
Seating Space: Limited because of the small space
Outlets: Scattered
Music: N/A

Star Lounge ed.jpg
Star Lounge 4.0.jpg

The Wormhole Coffee | 1462 North Milwaukee Avenue
A Wicker Park favorite, Wormhole is one of those places you have to visit to experience. Get nostalgic surrounded by 80s pop culture from posters to a model of the DeLorean from Back to the Future. They play a mix of 80s, 90s and current music from the last 20 years (I can’t believe we’ve been in the 2000s for almost two decades - pinch me!). Wormhole serves Halfwit coffee along with other specialty roasters and a variety of pastries. It’s a fun space to grab a seat and hang out with friends or get work done. It’s one of the more popular coffee shops in the neighborhood though so don’t be surprised if it gets crowded.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for Working: ✓
Food Selection: Snacks and Pastries
Service: Friendly
Noise Level: Mild to Moderate
Seating Space: Plenty
Outlets: Scattered
Music: Mixture of throwbacks and current music

Wormhole 2.0.jpg
Wormhole 1.0.jpg

Happy International Coffee Day!

Happy International Coffee Day! If you haven’t figured it out already, coffee is the main attraction around here. Without it, I’d probably resemble something that walks out of the gates of Mordor each day in both physical appearance and behavior. Work would not get done, conversations wouldn’t be had and sanity would definitely be lost. If you caught a few of my latest Instagram stories, you’d know that I’m dealing with a malfunctioning Keurig at the moment. Let’s just say, mornings have gotten a little extra strenuous managing a French Press and I have greatly increased my Starbucks spending habit. I know...pathetic. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta to for a good cup of the strong stuff. That’s all I’m going to say.

International Coffee Day 2017.png

Back to International Coffee Day though. To celebrate this glorious food holiday, I’m sharing my favorite spots to grab coffee from each coffee guide that has been on the site as well as a few recipes you can make in the comfort of your own home. Once you’ve browsed through, tell me in the comments below where your favorite place to grab a cup of the good stuff is and what your favorite coffee beverage is!

Downtown + River North Neighborhoods: While I love all the coffee shops in this guide, Two Zero Three is my favorite. It has a prime location in the Virgin Hotel and I can always count on a spot to sit and trusty internet to use. The drinks are great, the music not too loud and the ambiance perfect for getting things done.

Logan Square Neighborhood: This was a tough one. Gaslight has the best grilled cheese and tomato soup combo I’ve ever had plus the space is hip making me feel like one of the cool kids. But since it’s International Coffee Day, I’m going to have to go with Brew Brew Coffee Lounge on Diversey. They serve up great espresso drinks and it’s particularly charming during the holiday season.

Two Zero Three 1.0.jpg
Brew Brew 1.0.jpg

South Loop Neighborhood: This neighborhood is continuing to grow and change which makes it so exciting. Our list of coffee shops for the South Loop might be small but I have no doubt it will continue to grow over time. With that said, Overflow is our top pick. There’s a ton of seating making it the ultimate remote office location. They have good internet and tasty coffee drinks including seasonal options.

West Loop + Ukrainian Village Neighborhoods: Considering the West Loop is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago right now, it should be obvious my #1 pick would be from this area. Sawada Coffee gets the top spot for originality, location, vibe and caffeinated beverages. I had one of the best lattes of my life in this coffee shop and the space is so fun. From the graffiti door to industrial, loft-style space, it’s one of the more unique coffee shops I’ve been to and especially one of the more laid back.

Overflow Coffee 2.0.jpg
Sawada Coffee 2.0.jpg

Beacon Hill: Anytime I visit Boston, Tatte Bakery & Cafe will be on my list of spots to visit. The Charles Street location feels like it could be a second home with how welcoming the atmosphere is. And while this might not be coffee, they have Belgian Hot Chocolate that is to die for. Besides that, it’s in my favorite Boston neighborhood.

Cambridge: Crema Cafe on Brattle Street is a local hot spot. It makes sense since they know how to brew a good cup o’Joe. This two-level space has tons of seating but it doesn’t matter because it fills up quick! Don’t be surprised if you need to share a bistro table with a stranger. I did but I had a wonderful conversation with two New England natives.

North End: Also know as Boston’s Italian neighborhood, it’s no doubt this part of town knows how to make a good cup of coffee. Thinking Cup on Hanover Street is one of the larger coffee shops I’ve ever been in. Extending way back, there is plenty of seating and a full menu making it a great location when you have a full day’s work ahead of you.

Thinking Cup 1.0.jpg

Jane on Larkin will always hold a special place for me when it comes to San Francisco. Serving up a bomb cappuccino and quiche, this corner coffee shop is everything you’d expect in San Fran. It has an urban yet chic vibe but isn’t stuffy. It’s not a large space but there is a bit of room to sit down and get work done. It became my home away from home for a few days.

Jane's 1.0.jpg

Dallas: This is a tough one thanks to the Bishop Arts District which was so much fun to explore. The winner here is Sip | Stir Cafe in Uptown. What quickly became my favorite neighborhood in the city, it’s an urban spot that’s also casual which I love. There’s also tons of seating both inside and outside and good internet which is something that’s important to me.

Fort Worth: BREWED will always be one of my favorite spots to visit along Magnolia Street. It’s a coffee shop, a brunch spot, a bar, a patio, a live music scene. The food is great, the drinks better and it’s always a great time.

sip stir cafe 3.0.jpg
magnolia 2.0.jpg

For those of you interested in making your own caffeinated beverage at home, check out these seasonal coffee recipes as well! Happy International Coffee Day!


Pumpkin Spice Latte 6.0.jpg
Fall Spice Coffee #1.0.jpg
Peppermint Mocha 4.0.jpg

Chicago Coffee Shop Series | West Loop + Ukrainian Village

Coffee is in my blood. I swear the smell of it alone can instantly put me in a good mood. Unique coffee shops with interesting stories or funky vibes indulge my addiction. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is find the local favorites. What I love to do in my own city is become the expert so I can share the best spots whether you’re looking to unplug, catch up with a friend or get things done. We’re heading to the West Side of Chicago for a few gems that have become personal favorites. From hidden spots in the West Loop to a unique coffee shop with cool history in the Ukrainian Village, you’ll be heading to at least a few of these whether you’re in town visiting or a local.

Chicago Coffee Shop Series - West Loop_Ukrainian Village.png

Atomix | 1957 West Chicago Avenue
Located in West Town, Atomix Cafe is more diner-like than coffee shop. Classic diner tables, chairs and booths fill the space for a cafeteria-like feeling. For not being a particularly large space, Atomix has plenty of seating . You'll find people getting in a few emails during a break or using the coffee shop as a makeshift office for a few hours. Their food and drink menu is expansive offering organic goods as well as vegan options. It’s a spot for everyone with plenty of natural lighting, good music and most important...lots of outlets. **Expert tip: Make sure to try the chips and salsa. DIVINE!

Wi-Fi: ✓ ← can be slow at times
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Full breakfast, lunch & dinner menus including vegan and vegetarian options.
Service: Friendly staff
Noise Level: Mild. Nothing too extreme to note.
Seating Space: Plenty of tables to crank out your day.
Outlets: Plentiful
Music: Great mix

Big Shoulders | 1105 West Chicago Avenue
For a classic corner coffee shop with tons of natural light, an ideal location and great coffee, Big Shoulders is your spot. With plenty of space and large tables for co-working, this would be a great spot for group work sessions. Host team meetings, interviews, whatever you need. If you need a place to chill between appointments, Big Shoulders is right off the blue line for easy transportation access.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: pastries and snacks
Service: Friendly
Noise Level: Low
Seating Space: Decent. Spacious but it’s a small space so it fills up during peak times.
Outlets: Not too many
Music: N/A

Big Shoulders 1.0.jpg

C.C. Ferns | 2806 West Augusta
As far as uniqueness and originality go, C.C. Ferns wins the award. Located in Humboldt Park, C.C. Ferns is unlike any other coffee shop you will visit, guaranteed. The coffee shop has a funky, old-school vibe...kind of like you entered your grandfather’s dream den from 1955. It’s the type of place you could picture Marlon Brando or James Dean having a cigar or cigarette in the morning reading the paper and sipping the coffee. Did they even read the paper? Regardless, you get where I’m going with this. As if the design wasn’t enough to contribute to C.C. Ferns’ originality, they also sell a curated cigar selection. What’s even more, there’s a space in the back where you can book events or attend local musical gigs once in awhile. Like I said, award-winner for originality.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Selection of doughnuts from Doughnut Vault, house-made croissants and local oatmeal
Service: Friendly
Noise Level: Low-Medium
Seating Space: Tons
Outlets: N/A
Music: N/A

CC Ferns 1.0.jpg
CC Ferns 2.0.jpg

La Columbe - West Loop | 955 West Randolph
La Columbe and I had a rough start. When visiting a coffee shop, I almost always expect wi-fi...that was until I met La Columbe. I must have been the only person on the planet that didn’t know it was a “thing” that they didn’t have wi-fi. So when I stopped in on my first visit, expecting to have a productive morning, you bet I was let down. After that first visit and knowing what to expect, my next visits were much more pleasant. For example, I didn’t look like a complete idiot by asking the barista what the internet was. I also made sure that I had a day of writing planned for myself. The internet is a deadly distraction when it comes to productivity sometimes, especially while writing. Many of the visitors at La Columbe have their own means of attaining internet capabilities but I like to visit for an internet-free day of work. I’ll use my tablet or phone to stay on top of emails and social media but when I’m turned to my computer, my focus is on point. As far as customer service, they’re pretty chill. Besides that weird look I got that one time I asked for internet, I’ve always had friendly baristas who handle your drink order in superhuman speed.

Wi-Fi: NONE! I did not know this the first time I visited so please be advised if you don’t have some sort of traveling wi-fi or hotspot.
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Pastries and Snacks
Service: Efficient and Friendly
Noise Level: Varies
Seating Space: Plenty - Long tables for co-working and smaller tables for privacy
Outlets: Bountiful
Music: N/A

Sawada Coffee | 112 North Green Street
Located across the street from Soho House Chicago, this is one of the most un-coffee shop like coffee shops I’ve ever been to. It’s a funky spot in the West Loop that has become one of my favorites. The entrance door is adorned with graffiti making it blend in. If you’re not looking for it, you’ll definitely miss it. The coffeeshop is located within a loft building (like every other business in the West Loop). It expands farther because it’s also home to Green Street Smoked Meats. Find a selection of doughnuts from Doughnut Vault at Sawada while they last and expect one hell of a fantastic cup o’ joe. They also happen to own C.C. Ferns! Masterminds, these people are! **Expert Tip: Beware the blinding sun at the window seat in the morning. It’s brutal.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Pastries available at the coffee shop but if you get hungry, just walk over to Green Street.
Service: Fantastic
Noise Level: Low during non-meal times, a little noisy when diners come in for lunch but not too bad.
Seating Space: Plenty of space especially since it extends into Green Street Smoked Meats.
Outlets: Scattered generously
Music: N/A

Sawada Coffee 1.0.jpg

Boston Like A Local

How would you like to experience Boston like a local? While we’re not from Boston, we’ve done a deep dive into the city to discover 15 spots that the locals love. From Sicilian-style pizza to cash-only sweet shops, add a few of these stops to your Boston must-see list. You won’t be disappointed and we promise that you won’t leave hungry.

Cambridge Brewing Company | 1 Kendall Square, Bldg 100, Cambridge
A quick drive over the river into Cambridge, Cambridge Brewing Co. is a local favorite thanks to a fantastic food menu, great brews on tap and live entertainment. If you’re looking for a spot to feel like a native Bostonian, Cambridge Brewing Company is the spot with a rich New England vibe.

Galleria Umberto | 289 Hanover Street
You’ll notice a few spots on Hanover Street in this post. Locals seem to love the North End and I completely agree having fallen in love with it myself while visiting. This cash-only spot serves up mouthwatering Sicilian-style pizza for affordable prices. The catch? They're only open for lunch and once the pizza runs out, it’s out! According to our research, 3PM is the average end time. Our suggestion? Go early when they first open or take your chances with a late lunch after 1:30PM.

Grotto | 37 Bowdoin Street
For Italian food in a more traditional setting, head over to Grotto. This restaurant is intimate with lots of character thanks to the exposed brick walls and the fact that it’s actually located in the basement of the building. Need to impress someone? Maybe a date or the in laws? Grotto is the place to go. It's still on the down-low so you won’t need to beat out tourists for this particular restaurant but you will need to beat out the locals.

The BBQ One + Hand-Cut Fries with the Bacon Parmesan Dipping Saus from Saus

The BBQ One + Hand-Cut Fries with the Bacon Parmesan Dipping Saus from Saus

Saus | 33 Union Street
For the best fries you’ll ever eat, Saus is the place to go. All the potatoes are hand washed and cut before fried to perfection. Try them with any of the fifteen homemade sauces from a classic Ranch dip to cheesy Bacon-Parm or Curry Ketchup. Dress your fries up even more with their poutine, fries topped with cheddar curds and Saus gravy. This happens to be a local favorite and can be dressed up with different meats and toppings for a personalized experience. Don’t come here expecting to cut calories but definitely come here to dive into a pool of flavor.

Tikki Masala | 3706 Washington Street
Making our way over to Jamaica Plain, Tikki Masala is an Indian food joint that locals flock to for an explosion of flavors. Located in one of Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods, Tikki Masala has earned the position as a favorite ethnic restaurant. Tourists don’t typically venture to Jamaica Plain so you’ll feel like a local while enjoying your Tandoori Chicken. Side note: if you head to Boston, Jamaica Plain is definitely worth checking out so make sure it makes your list.

1369 Coffee House |
2 locations both in Cambridge
Named after the jazz club that came before it, 1369 Coffee House is a true neighborhood hangout. They serve several house blends as well as coffee from Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Indonesia. Tea drinkers can rest easy as they have 25 different varieties of fine loose leaf plus more.

Crema Cafe | 27 Brattle Street, Cambridge
Crema Cafe is right over the river in the heart of Cambridge’s Harvard Square. This space is enormous making it a favorite for locals to grab a bite with a friend or meet with a group for study and work sessions. Crema serves MEM tea, George Howell coffee and a variety of other specialty roasters accompanied by delicious pastries from the in-house bakery, salads, sandwiches, soups and breakfast items. We recommend their quiche of the day.

CuppaCoffee | 1 Merrimac Street + 2 other locations
A tiny stand alone coffee bar at the corner of Merrimac and Market Streets, CuppaCoffee is the perfect on-the-way-to-work coffee stop. There are a few seats if you’re lucky enough to grab one but the West End location is more of a grab-and-go spot. Want more from them? Go to their South End location (57 Traveler Street) for Australian specialties like the Great Aussie Pie and other treats.

Gracenote | 108 Lincoln Street
The 2016 winner for best coffee shop in Boston by Boston Magazine, Gracenote is a place for true coffee lovers. For those who like to rate, dissect and examine every cup of coffee, Gracenote will not disappoint. They are as passionate about coffee as those who enjoy sipping it which is felt in every roast and cup.

Latte + Egg & Sausage Sandwich from Thinking Cup

Latte + Egg & Sausage Sandwich from Thinking Cup

Thinking Cup | 236 Hanover Street + 2 other locations
A local stomping ground for caffeine addicts in the North End, Thinking Cup makes one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had. They serve Stumptown Coffee and Third Wave Coffee exclusively with the mission to provide a premier coffee experience. I can personally say they have succeeded. They also have an extensive food menu for breakfast and lunch with gluten and dairy free options as well.

Flour Bakery + Cafe |
Various Locations
Every single article we found about bakeries in Boston included Flour. Known for crusty, warm baguettes, silky cream pies and fresh, customized salads and sandwiches, Flour is every Bostonians favorite place for comfort food. Whether you want sweet or savory, they have your fix and luckily there are 8 locations to stop in to.

JP Licks | Various Locations
How did I miss JP Licks? That answer is most likely rooted in my fear of lactose-induced complications when I indulge a little too freely. JP Licks is all over Instagram. You can’t be a Bostonian, it appears, and not have tried JP Licks at one time or another. Try one of their monthly flavors, grab a cup of coffee that they roast themselves, order a cake for a special occasion or try one of their specialty ice cream options. After looking deeper into JP Licks, I am beyond disappointed I didn’t try one of their dairy-free options but it gives me a reason to head back to Boston...right?

Mike’s Pastry | 300 Hanover Street
Considered the “Home of the Cannoli” in Boston, Mike’s Pastry always has a line out the door. This cash-only spot has plenty more than cannolis but you will see most tourist boxes filled with several. Being such a hot spot, you wouldn’t think locals love it so much but they do! You might find them picking up a few more treats other than cannolis though.

Tatte Bakery & Cafe | 70 Charles Street + several other locations
Located in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, Tatte’s is a local favorite all over the city of Boston. The original location is on Beacon street in Brookline but this cafe has become so popular, they’ve expanded to Beacon Hill and four different locations in Cambridge. The Charles Street location features an open kitchen, a large outdoor patio and full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. I stopped here for a cup of Belgian hot chocolate and a meatball sandwich on a cold, rainy day in Boston. It was my first day exploring the city and I instantly fell in love.

The Pumpkin Glazed Donut + Maple Bacon Donut from Union Square Donuts

The Pumpkin Glazed Donut + Maple Bacon Donut from Union Square Donuts

Union Square Donuts | Various Locations
The brick and mortars for Union Square Donuts are in Somerville, MA  and Brookline but you can find them sold all over the city including the Boston Public Market. These donuts are a local favorite and for good reason. They’re phenomenal! Go traditional with a vanilla bean or go out-of-the-box with the maple bacon. They also serve vegan donuts and donut holes.

Are you a Boston local? Tell us where your favorite hangouts are

Chicago Coffee Shop Series | Logan Square

Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean that you’ve experienced it in its entirety. Living in Chicago for over eight years, it was a treat if I ever spent much time on the west side that wasn’t work related. It's easy to get around Chicago for the most part but it's rather difficult to get from the north side neighborhoods to the west. It wasn’t until the last two years that I started exploring the West Loop, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village and especially Logan Square. This coffee series is the reason I started exploring Logan Square. Without it, I may never have spent much time there! Besides the impressive farm-to-table food scene and hipster vibe, it has an competitive coffee scene as well. Here are four in particular to put on your radar.

Brew Brew Coffee Lounge | 3832 West Diversey Avenue
Brew Brew is a cozy neighborhood cafe on the northwestern border of Logan Square. There’s plenty of space filled with tables as well as couches and chairs. The window facing out into the street also has seating which is nice for people watching. It’s a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere that’s great for productive working or coffee with a friend. The only caveat is it’s not the easiest to access if you’re not in the area. The Diversey bus is the best public transportation option. However, it’s definitely worth an occasional visit if you’re willing to make the trek from other neighborhoods in the city.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Full menu and snacks
Service: Good
Noise Level: Low-Moderate
Seating Space: Plenty
Outlets: Scattered but available
Music: Low-Key/Indie

Cafe Mustache | 2313 North Milwaukee Avenue
Right off the California blue line stop, Cafe Mustache takes its name to heart. It’s identifiable by a mustache sign hanging outside of the business. They also have art displayed throughout the entire coffee shop, many with a mustache somehow involved. There’s quite a bit of seating even though the space isn’t that large but it doesn’t feel cramped. They also host musical performances in a separate space off the main coffee shop which has a full bar. Cafe Mustache is a huge community supporter. They sell work from local artists from vinyl records to novels and give the money 100% back to them. So next time you stop by, make sure to browse their collection while sipping a cappuccino.  

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Full menu and snacks
Service: Very Friendly
Noise Level: Low
Seating Space: Plenty
Outlets: Plenty
Music: Eclectic - Fun Fact: all of the music played is off of vinyl records

Gaslight Coffee Roasters | 2385 North Milwaukee Avenue
I had the best grilled cheese and tomato soup of my life at Gaslight Coffee Roasters. Gaslight isn’t the largest space. There are some chairs lined up towards the front with coffee tables to accompany them. There are tables along the wall across from the barista counter and a communal table all the way in the back. While that might be a decent amount of seating for another coffee shop, this one must be a neighborhood favorite because it was packed. I took a seat towards the front while waiting for one of the tables to open and ordered my lunch. The staff was friendly and even helped me make my decision when ordering. Why is it that when you’re the most hungry, you have the hardest time deciding? I spent a few hours in the afternoon getting work knocked out at this gem with a belly full of rich tomato soup and freaking fantastic grilled cheese.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓ ← If you are able to grab a seat
Food Selection: Full menu and snacks
Service: Friendly
Noise Level: Moderate
Seating Space: Limited and much of it cramped
Outlets: Available where there is seating
Music: Low-Key/Alternative

New Wave Coffee | 3103 West Logan
I didn’t spend much time in New Wave Coffee but I can say with complete certainty that they make delicious lattes. I made a quick stop at this neighborhood favorite on my way to support a client on a TV segment. I had about 25 minutes to down a coffee and muffin and get caught up on email. While I didn’t use their wifi (I used the data on my tablet), they do have it available for free. The space is enormous with an entrance on either side. There’s plenty of seating which is great for variety. New Wave is a short walk off of the Logan Square blue line stop.

Wi-Fi: ✓
Good for working: ✓
Food Selection: Full menu and snacks
Service: Good
Noise Level: Low-Moderate
Seating Space: Lots
Outlets: Plenty scattered around the space but easier to access with a seat closer to the walls
Music: N/A