Category Archives: Laptops Optional

For those of us who part time date our laptops, these places offer free wifi, plug ins, and are computer friendly. Werd to the Nerd.

Espresso 134 Lisbon, Iowa

Storefront Espresso 134

UPDATE:  Espresso 134 is now closed. 

 

It was a good thing for me that Brighton got out of school at 11:30.  After a quick lunch at home, we headed to the City Park in Lisbon.  A small historic community of around 2500 people, Lisbon has a gem sitting right on Main Street.  It’s called Espresso 134.

ATMOSPHERE:

The renovated 1881 building is more than gorgeous inside.  It’s modern and cozy and … well gorgeous!  Clad with granite countertops, bar, tables, and ledges, comfy leather chairs downstairs, and cozy chairs upstairs, the whole place just reeks of class.  Two chillers under the bar hold local wines and beer.  An odd twist to a traditional coffee shop, but with the idea of wine tastings, beer pairings, art shows, euchre tournaments, and live music, it somehow works.  Beautifully.    I just can’t say how impressed I was with the look of this place.  Each coffee shop I frequent has it’s own unique style, and Espresso 134 is no exception.

Now, from what I understand, this establishment is in the middle of a management change.  The previous owner, Eric Krob, is going to be taking ownership once again since the current owner, Jill Schaefer, is  choosing to spend more time with her 4 boys.  A reasonable option since running this kind of business takes a LOT of time.  So at this time, Just Jill’s Espresso 134 offers up breakfast, lunch and limited dinner offerings, as well as carry out prepared meals.  However, I am not sure how long that will last.   So if this is what you’re interested in, I suggest calling ahead.

DRINKS n STUFF

So how is the coffee?  Pretty good.  Coffee roasts from PT’s Roasting Company out of Topeka, KS (Direct Trade) supplies Espresso 134 with it’s premium roast.  I had a simple (boring) decaf, skim latte.  I say boring because I’m nursing a 2 month old who doesn’t care for caffeine or milk proteins.  So I didn’t get a good representation of what their coffee is REALLY like.  Brighton and I did, however, each have a Raspberry Italian Creme Soda, which was excellent.

We also each had some goodies.  Brighton had two (yes TWO) cake bites.   One chocolate and one lemon.  Which he says were “Good!” complete with a deep dimple smile (which is a positive review equal to 9 stars).  I had a chocolate truffle, which was pretty good too.  The chocolates were made by a local Cedar Rapidian business called Sweetopia Handmade Chocolates.

Also offered are local wines and happy hour specials.  Wine selections  include Cedar Ridge wines, wines for fundraising (UNITE for livestrong, MOVE for National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and INSPIRE for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) where actual $$ goes to the foundations for the sale of each of these wines.  Pretty cool eh?

EXTRAS:

Also available is catering for office parties/business meetings etc. just call a day ahead.  You can also rent the building for your meetings (and make a fantastic impression!)  WiFi is available, ask for a password.  Or if you need to use a computer, one is available for you on the second floor.  Which, by the way, also has a huge flat screen television, comfy chairs and a beautiful leather couch.   I’m just sayin’.

So where can I find this place?

134 Main Street, Lisbon Iowa

Phone: 319-455-2023

Facebook: just jills espresso 134

email:  jjespresso134@gmail.com

All in all I really liked this place.  Good coffee, great service, out of this world atmosphere.  So if you’re ever in the area, or in Iowa at all, stop by and say hello.  Tell them I sent you!

Corridor Coffee North Liberty, Iowa

August 26, 2008

Corridor Coffee is my North Liberty Haunt.  Like every small coffee shop (though I really wouldn’t call Corridor Coffee small…) they have their own unique taste to their drinks.  I personally really enjoy their sugar free caramel latte.  They have several flavors of syrup, and when I was pregnant (and had gestational diabetes), it was a huge relief to be able to get drinks with syrups made with splenda rather than sweet and low or equal.  They truly leave nothing out.  They also make fantastic summer drinks like mixed berry, mango, or strawberry smoothies.  Frozen Mocha or Frozen Vanilla Latte or even items without coffee.  There’s tons of options so whatever your mood, they’ve got it.

They also employ a 10 drink get one free policy ($2.50 and under), which is nice.  It’s their way of saying thank you.  You can often see the owners working hard behind the counter who are quick to say hello and

Corridor Coffee Drive Through

quickly remember who you are and what you drink if you don’t change it up too much.  If you have some work to do, bring your laptop.  If you want to meet for a book club, come on in.  If you just need to kill some time, pull up a chair and open a good book and have yourself some coffee and a muffin.

Not to forget the uber convenient drive through.  I can’t count how many times I’ve taken advantage of this convenient feature in the winter time, when I have my son, or my dog, or am too gross and dirty to get out of my car.

If you’re in North Liberty, stop in and grab a drink, tell them I sent you!

You can see several photos on my flickr site Simply.Silly

Fuel Espresso Mount Vernon, Iowa

August 18 2008

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a fascination with Fuel. The place. I can often be seen with a fuel mug or to go cup in my hand on my way to work, on a lazy Sunday Afternoon, on a Saturday getting some work done. I admit it, Fuel is my weakness. The proprietor, Tommie, is one of the nicest people you would ever meet. And if you ever met her mom, (the one who’s great pastry recipes grace the food platters) you’ll know why. And the staff is just as sweet and considerate.

Mount Vernon was chosen as one of Iowa’s Main Street Communities. And Fuel is most definitely a tribute to the town.  Along with other eclectic shops and many antique stores, Mount Vernon is a nice day get away.

Fuel offers several different kinds of independently roasted coffee including: Grumpy Monkey, Organic Love, House, Rocket Fuel, and they make their special Black and Tan. They have a full menu of coffee drinks, hot and cold as well as a counter full of mom’s made from scratch homemade goodness. Which includes fruit cream scones, carrot bars topped with a cream cheese frosting, rice krispie treats, a variety of home made cookies and the occasional Texas Sheet Cake. They also carry an assortment of organic teas, caffeinated and decaf.

The gift part of the shop is just as wonderful. With everything from assorted antique wooden bread bowls to dia de muerto gifts to french soap. If you are looking for something unique, stop here. And have a great cup of joe with a carrot bar.

Kids are always welcome at Fuel, but it’s a little touch and go if you have an antsy toddler from a mom’s point of view. The first time I ever visited fuel, it was after a long walk around Mount Vernon with my then <1 year old child (I think) Anyway, he was in a stroller, a Jeep stroller, made to go on rough terrain. So it’s not small. Tommie, the owner, and her mom welcomed me in and even helped me carry the stroller into the shop. Since then, my son has grown and no longer needs a stroller, and really enjoys going to Fuel. That said, I still keep an eagle eye on him in the shop because he likes all the pretties just as much as mom does 🙂

However, don’t go driving to Mount Vernon expecting Fuel to be open into the wee hours in the morning.  Fuel is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 AM to 5 PM.  So get your java on early in the day.

Fran and Cherie’s Skillet Cafe and Bakery Mount Vernon Iowa

August 15, 2008

We were so pumped that there is a new breakfast place in our area!  The Skillet Cafe is located on the corner of the main intersection in Mount Vernon, Iowa.  Brighton and I decided to test the breakfast menu.  Just the right amount of choices made ordering a breeze.  I chose the “Build Your Own Omelet” which came with american fries and toast.   There is no ala carte menu, so of course I had to over order for Brighton from the “Kids Menu” that wasn’t on the board, but instead on a small paper menu beside the register.   I ordered a coffee, which was in carafe’s and made for the multiples (which is OK by me – I can get my own and don’t have to wait for someone to serve it to me) but it was a little weak for my taste.  All the condiments and silver were on a cart beside the self serve soda machine.  It was an interesting take on breakfast but a good one.

They take your order when you walk in, then when it’s ready, they bring it out to you, but you are responsible for getting your own napkins, silverware, coffee, condiments, etc., as well as bussing your own table.  Some people may not like this feature, but I rather enjoyed it.  The price wasn’t outrageous, you could do things at your own pace (which is important with a toddler in tow) and you didn’t get a lot of things that you didn’t need.  You certainly don’t go broke or hungry eating here, but your coffee buzz might be lacking a tad, that is if you drink the stuff.

Don’t skip it if you visit Mount Vernon.

*********

Brighton’s Pancake Review:  They were Good.

Mom’s Pancake Review:   Kinda big, and a lot for him, so I feel like I wasted $3 unnecessarily, but they tasted great.

UPDATE:  October 3, 2008

Brighton and I went back to Skillet Cafe this morning for breakfast.  I had a philly omelet that had steak, onion, green and red pepper, and swiss cheese.  It was great!  They’ve started giving kids only 1 pancake (which makes sense) though the price is the same.  The coffee was good.  And despite my earlier post, you do NOT have to bus your own table.  You CAN if you want to help out the staff, but they will come by and pick it up.  It was a nice morning experience and the cafe was full which was a great thing to see!!  Oh!  And they’ve added free Wi-Fi.  🙂  So bring your iPod or laptop!