Winter Havens

by Chelle



This is the view today. This has been the view for the past three months. We have four months to go. I do occasionally glance at my weather app and see that the current temperature in Chicago is a balmy 16 degrees with snow. This makes me think ... wow B has four more months of that. Come on Chelle you can handle the grey. So what to do to pass the grey days.... 

Coffee shops. In Seattle there are so many! What a great place to go and be totally alone and yet surrounded by people. Or go and be with people. Or well... I think those are about the only two options. Of course in Seattle you have your quintessential hipster at almost any location. I think the best description of this I’ve read anywhere was on stuff white people like. I’ll see if I can find the link.  There’s no internet at Lighthouse which is forcing me to be extremely focused. Anyway the general idea of the Seattle hipster at a coffee shop. Mac book, Americano, Moleskin, headphones, scowl. But oh how I do love them! Oh here it is:

“But the growing popularity of these little journals, is not without its own set of problems. One of the strangest side effects has been the puzzling situation whereby a white person will sit in an independent coffee shop with a Moleskine notebook resting on top of a Apple laptop. You might wonder why they need so many devices to write down thoughts? Well, if a white person has a great idea, they write it by hand, if they have a good idea, it goes into the computer. Not only does this help them keep their thoughts organized, but it serves as a signal to other white people in the shop that the owner of both instruments is truly creative. it screams: “ I’m not using my computer to check email and read celebrity gossip, I’m using it to create art. Please ask me about it.” - Stuff White People Like #122 

So... Saturdays. What a great way to spend a day. Wake up slowly, find a good book or better yet blog post- in other news perhaps we should move posts to Sunday mornings for the betterment of all mankind in general- and head to your favorite coffee shop. 

So here are links to my top 5. Light House (sorry no link that one will be secret forever), Fiore Ballard, Milstead & Co. , Joe Bar, and Roy Street Cafe (also known as Starbucks in disguise).





Personally, I prefer the grey. No midwesterner has agreed with me so far but maybe that's because the blue sunny winter is their claim to fame. But it's just torture. I was telling Cam Bam how horrible the fake sunshine was as we sat forlornly on the floor by the window looking out. He agreed with there's one midwesterner I guess, but most other people, besides his mom and dad, can't understand him, so you'll have to take my word for it. But seriously, what's worse than looking outside at bright beautiful sunlight then realizing the shattering truth that it's zero degrees outside with a windchill of -14 degrees???? Too cold to snow even. I love the snow... it finally warmed up (to about 25 degrees) the past two days enough to snow and that's been lovely and it's finally warm enough to venture outside and visit a coffeeshop!

(Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sunshine, when it's rich and thick and warm to the touch against your skin and it just makes you close your eyes, kick your shoes off and sink to the ground and lay there... oh I love that so much. It's the fake stuff that just makes me want to spit. Oh wait, if I spit at it then the spit would freeze on my lips.)

photo credit: Jesse

photo credit: Jesse


Caffe Streets is one of the best coffee shops in Chicago, it definitely has the best baristas. They do not roast their own beans, but that means they can use the beans from some of the best roasters in the US! Almost every visit you can try a new roaster without traveling all across the country. I think that's so cool and that more coffee shops should do that if they aren't connected to a roaster. They call themselves a social coffee shop and very few people have laptops there... their design is sleek, clean and modern, and you have to share tables with everyone, in a good way. 

What is more, they have really good tea and tea isn't given the back burner here like most coffee shops (I hate when a shop just gives you a tea bag and points to where the hot water is). This has been the first week without coffee for me and it's very sad but I'm working on liking tea more. Also, my thrifting goal these days is a Brown Betty teapot--or blue, but brown is the ideal--six cup size. It may be too specific.... I had to give up coffee because it is a cross-reactor with gluten. Because Celiac is an autoimmune disease, when my body detects gluten it starts attacking itself. There are certain foods, coffee included, that my body thinks are the same as gluten and it goes to war on my insides just the same. I've known for a while that coffee made my gut hurt, but tried to ignore it cause I love coffee so. It's not really ignorable anymore cause it's really killing me slowly.

Anyways, they serve the beverages on these lovely individual wooden trays and they give you the extra tea or coffee in a beautiful pitcher. So nice.

Other top coffee shops in Chicago: La Colombe TorrefactionStar LoungeWormhole, Buzz Killer Espresso (probably the worst name for a coffee shop ever, but excellent baristas!)

Other shops we enjoy being at (not necessarily great coffee): Knockbox Cafe, Cafe Ballou


The ceiling... this place is designed so gorgeously!