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.

My Grandma’s Closet.

My Nana is a hip, hip lady.

She and my Big Daddy — who I’m convinced are the ULTIMATE relationship goals — moved out of their house a bit over a year ago. Leading up to the big move, they passed down some of their knick knacks to us grandchildren.

I’ve always liked my grandma’s style. My best label for it is retro Anthropologie. If Anthro was a store in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, she would have definitely shopped there. Perhaps the Anthro founders were inspired by their mothers and grandmothers.

I’ve scored some awesome stuff from her.

Since first perusing her closet a couple years back, I’ve inherited this thick and comfy, colorful sweater (from Australia), a couple of vests, a few dresses and a floral skirt. I wear each on a regular basis.

A few weeks back, I wore my great grandma’s dress to work. Honestly, I was a bit nervous because it’s a little out there. But I received a plethora of compliments that day which encouraged me to bring it around more often.

Yesterday was perfect Spring weather, so I threw on an old H&M spaghetti strapped dress and partnered it with Nana’s black floral vest. I think it tied together the outfit really nicely.

Sharing is caring.

The best way to save money and shop is by inheriting clothes or borrowing from friends. I’m thankful that Nana’s clothes are the perfect combo of hip, fun and old school to where I can resurrect them from their glory days.

Have you checked out your grandma’s closet? Maybe you’ll find something you like.

 

I-35: From Waco to Austin.

This was a crazy weekend for me.

On Friday, I visited Baylor friends in Waco. On Saturday, I went to a college roommate’s wedding in Temple. Then Saturday night and Sunday morning, I celebrated a friend’s impending wedding in Austin.

I started on I-35 in Dallas and made my way down slowly but surely each day. And man, it was so incredibly exhausting. But also so incredibly worth it!

Things you must do in Waco:

  1. Magnolia Market- everyone knows about this, thanks to Chip and Jo. It’s really adorable and the backyard is great.
  2. Downtown Waco Farmers Market- every Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m. (I think?) So many vendors sell local goods and foods and wonderful things!
  3. Spice Village- located on Franklin, it’s a shopping addict’s wonderland. Clothes and knick knacks galore.
  4. Lula Jane’s- tucked away on Elm St., their pie and coffee is a lethal combination. And they have the kindest workers.
  5. Cameron Park- surprisingly huge and also great for hikes, who knew Waco had real terrain? There are swings at Lover’s Leap!
  6. Circle of Death- this traffic roundabout is absolutely terrifying bc we are Americans and Texans, and there’s no signage. But it’s actually hilarious and thrilling.

Things I did in Austin:

  1. Rainey St.- Technically I didn’t join in because I was sleeping, but my friends hit up this street for bars and great nightlife. I hear it’s awesome.
  2. Bouldin Creek Cafe- on 1st street. So delicious. The migas are a win, the endless drip coffee is a win. I don’t eat blueberries, but their blueberry cornbread looked sick.
  3. Sweet Ritual- My friends love this place because they serve vegan ice cream. Personally, not my thing. But their peanut butter was pretty good!
  4. Barton Springs- a few years back, I dove into the ice cold waters on a hot summer’s day. Best thing ever.
  5. Graffiti Park- really fun and makes me feel edgy, so yeah.
  6. Zilker Park- puppies galore. Great vb courts and wide open spaces for ultimate, football, or whatever your heart desires.

Man, it was good to get away.

I’ll be in St. Louis next weekend, so stay tuned for more #dimebeyonddallas!

Taco Tuesday: Tacos & Tunes.

This week’s #TacoTuesday post is a bit different.

You see, Tacos & Tunes are not offered on Tuesdays. But these events obviously revolve around tacos, so I just had to share about it with you.

Tacos and Tunes is a monthly event that breaks the barriers between local Dallas musicians and their fans, all while feeding both parties tacos. It rolls around toward the end of the month and only costs $10 for entry and two tacos.

Every artist featured is a Dallas local, every taco is locally made and every venue is a local hot spot.

I went to my first T&T on Friday night.

As a wannabe on-and-off singer-songwriter, I was absolutely delighted. I love hearing humble musicians sing their stories of heartbreak and hope and healing. It takes so much boldness to share one’s past, present and future in front of strangers.

This month’s venue was originally at the Wall Gallery, but moved last minute to American Beauty Mill, these gorgeous and isolated apartments south of downtown near Gilley’s. 50 fans got all cozy in an open loft and listened in. One of the musicians, Chris Taylor, also painted during the others’ performances. It was a treat for the eyes and ears.

And mouth, because the tacos were great.

I strongly recommend keeping up with Tacos and Tunes on Facebook and Instagram, so you know when the next show comes around.

Attention, World: It’s National Pi Day!

Today is one of the more important days of the year.

It’s National Pi Day!

Yes. 3.14 is everybody’s favorite mathematical number. While math was never my favorite subject, I can always get on board with a celebratory day that focuses on PIE, the dessert.

Pie is the underdog of desserts.

People will die for cookies or cake or ice cream. But only a select few (including grandmas and hipsters) will put their life on the line for a good piece of pie.

My love for pie started with Lula Jane’s bakery in Waco off of Elm St. This sweet little bakery introduced me to the wonderful world of pie. Then I continued my love for pie at Coffeeshop Cafe in McGregor, just a hop up the highway from Waco.

God bless Dallas, where Emporium Pies reigns.

The pie shop has three locations in Downtown McKinney, Bishop Arts and the most recent, Deep Ellum. These reasonably priced pies are baked with love and topped with creamy goodness. They’re thick and rich and tasty and sweet–and at times, savory.

Today and today only, Emporium Pies will give a FREE PIE to anyone who can recite Pi to the 31st decimal point. It’s quiet a feat, but I’m sure it’s worth it. You better get to memorizing right away!

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.