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.

Karaoke Fun @ Shuck N Jive.

Last night, I was ready to eat pie & chill.

After consuming an apple pie (paired with classic vanilla ice cream) in honor of National Pi Day, our friends decided to go out.

I was very unprepared for a night on the town. I was wearing my baggy, Kim Possible-like pants with Tevas (aka the world’s ugliest sandals). I looked like a true granola climber.

Nevertheless, I was up for the adventure. After much Google-ing and Yelp-consulting, we discovered the close-by Shuck N Jive had karaoke on Tuesday nights. Why? I’m not sure. But Yelp assured that there would be a crowd ranging in ages from 20 to 60 years old, and that it would be a “good time.”

So we went for it.

Shuck N Jive is a very unique experience. It’s a small, Cajun restaurant and bar. We didn’t eat the food, but their drinks were great.

The review was right, we represented the 20-year-old demographic, and the ages reached up until at least the mid 40’s. There were also children probably around the 8 to 10-year-old range, so that was a…strange surprise.

My friend Sarah and I warmed up the night by belting Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ “Home.” It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I know every word. It also makes me feel nostalgic of the many times I was far away and anticipated a good homecoming.

Sometimes, you just gotta jump out of your comfort zone.

You have to try new things. You have to succumb to your friends’ wishes to sing karaoke on a Tuesday night. You have to take a shot of Patron and sing your heart out to the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?,” because this world is in need of more love these days.

Even if you hate it, you’ve got a new memory and experience to cherish. And if you love it, you know where to return on a Tuesday night. I can’t say I’ll become a regular, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up at Shuck N Jive for another round of my five minutes of fame.

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!