Coffee Shop Showdown: Who’s the Best In Downtown Plano?

Fourteen Eighteen Coffeehouse has been a DTP staple since 2013.

When you enter the doors, it’s like stepping into your grandmother’s living room. Comfy couches, dim lighting, regal armchairs. Soothing music, exposed brick, hanging picture frames.

Each barista greets you with a friendly smile, takes your order, sometimes they even crack a joke. They’re helpful when you ask for recommendations and they are genuine and intentional with their service.

Whenever my gal pals and I meet up, I usually recommend 1418. We squish together on a couch, split a piece of Emporium Pies’ Smooth Operator {yum for days}, and give updates of our busy, busy lives. We wash the pie down with our choice of a latte, cappuccino or the basic drip.

It’s also a great study or reading spot — people keep to themselves, the music isn’t distracting, the coffee scents keep you alert. Drip coffee is super cheap and your first refill is free, so that’s a great deal.

XO_COFFEE_PLANO_MAGAZINE-5

But there’s a new kid on the block: XO Coffee Co.

Believe it or not, David Hasselholff’s nephew opened the new coffee shop this year. David himself came for the grand opening to allure Planoans.

I tried it out for the first time a couple of months ago. It’s a very different vibe and atmosphere than 1418.

XO is trendy and fresh — it’s like your cool uncle’s bachelor pad. Almost everything is wooden, a TV is mounted on the wall, it’s complete with built-in shelves and orb-looking lights. The music is a bit more upbeat, modern pop music.

Honestly, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the iced vanilla latte I got. I could barely taste the vanilla and my overall experience wasn’t that great. My friend did get a delicious, refreshing strawberry lemonade that I think is worth the trip.

So which is the winner?

It’s hard to compare the two, because they’re so vastly different. So I’ll break it down:

Best coffee: 1418, no doubt. High quality, awesome latte designs.

Best study spot: XO might win for this one, simply because the lighting is better. There are also bigger tables to spread out on. The music is a bit more calming and easy to tune out at 1418, but I think the overall study atmosphere at XO is better.

Best service: 1418, XO’s isn’t bad but I find 1418 much more welcoming and personal. They seem more engaged with their coffee addicts.

Best food: I haven’t tried XO’s meals, but 1418 only offers sandwiches. XO’s sounded really filling and delicious, so they probably have the most bang for their buck. But 1418 definitely wins with their dessert: Emporium Pies? You can’t get much better.

Ultimately, it’s your decision.

Why are you going to a coffee shop? To study? To read? To meet with friends? What kind of atmosphere are you looking for? Cozy and comfy? Trendy and fresh?

Now you have an idea of what each coffee shop has to offer, so check them out yourself! You decide which is best and report back — I’m interested to hear your input.

Taco Tuesday: Frankies.

Frankies is a quaint Mexican cuisine restaurant located just a hop, skip and a jump away from my home.

Started by a family in the neighborhood, Frankie’s brings fresh and tasty food to your table with the friendliness of a local hot spot.

Their food is always fresh and fast, never wrong or regrettable. Today, my friends and I received our meals just 5 minutes after ordering. Halfway into my taco, I realized I hadn’t take a picture yet–I was obviously too eager when it first came to our table.

If you’re ever in North Richardson or near University of Texas at Dallas, swing by Frankies for #tacothesday or grab a margarita during Happy Hour. You won’t regret it!

March 16: Food and Wine Fest @ Dallas Arboretum.

The Dallas Arboretum will host its first ever food & wine fest.

This Thursday, from 6-9 p.m.

According to the Facebook event page, “This premier, spring social event will feature savory delicious bites made by award-winning chefs from many fine restaurants around the metroplex, set against the backdrop of 500,000 spring blooming bulbs during the spring festival Dallas Blooms.”

There will be a variety of drinks, including fine wines and craft beers. And you can end the evening with dessert or coffee, along with a special concert. The cuisine will focus on five regions and types of dishes, including: American Bistro, Mediterranean, Pan Asian, South American and desserts from around the world.

Order your tickets on the Dallas Arboretum website. If you can’t find any there, try to poke around the Facebook event page for someone who might be selling theirs.

Taco Tuesday: Fuzzy’s.

I’ve always been a taco enthusiast.

It’s meat and cheese and veggies and more all squished into a round, flour (or corn) tortilla and hand-delivered straight into your mouth. What a novel idea.

Each Tuesday from here on out, I will feature local and chain taco-selling restaurants. If I don’t get a chance to blog about them, make sure to check out our Instagram.

Our first #TacoTuesday feature is Fuzzy’s.

Fuzzy’s was founded in Austin and moved to the Dallas area sometime while I was in highschool — aka 4+ years ago. Wow. That makes me feel old.

The taco chain sells tasteful tacos at reasonable prices and crazy, huge margaritas for only $5ish. Though they’re not the best tacos I’ve ever tasted, they’re definitely a great deal, and I recommend going at least every now and then.

It’s a great place to grab a quick bite, watch the latest sports game or catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while.