Slow Hand Coffee

slowhand

Slow Hand Coffee is located in downtown Nashville, across from Cummins Station in the suite where Coffee, Lunch. used to be (RIP). It's a great place to stop in for breakfast or lunch if you work downtown. We went on a beautiful day in October (our posting schedule is a little behind. Sorry not sorry.) after several of you suggested/asked that we go. You're welcome. 

Atmosphere

The shop is small, but it’s got style. We loved their logo — a beard with a silhouette of a coffee cup for a mouth, above a portafilter and wisk [E is trusting L on this portafilter thing.]. There’s a counter to order when you walk in, with some tables across from it along the window. Around the corner there is some fishbowl seating and a few more tables (all 2-tops), across from where you collect your food.

slow hand

Because it’s across from Cummins Station, we saw a handful of business types come in to grab a quick lunch and go. Also because it’s Cummins Station, most of them were wearing jeans and/or plaid. Very few people stayed for longer than a few minutes (read: us). The size of the shop and its bustling probably doesn’t make it a great place to hunker down and get work done or study, but that didn’t stop Laura from doing it.

They played unedited Mumford & Sons while we were there ("Little Lion Man," not the radio version, to be specific). This seemed important to note. 

Slow Hand has a ton of lunch and breakfast options. They also have the added bonus of pop-culture-y names (the ‘flava flavvvv,’ the ‘great hambino,’ ‘little foot’ [shoutout to our Land Before Time fans], the ‘Michelle Tanner’) — always a plus in our book.

slow hand

Taste

L: I ordered a special — white bean chicken chili with a side of cornbread. It was really good (albeit scalding hot at first), though a little less creamy than I expected compared to other chicken chilis I’ve had in the past. Still very delicious, as was the cornbread.

Professional photography skills exhibited above.

Professional photography skills exhibited above.

I got a salted caramel latte (GETTING CRAZY CHANGING IT UP OVER HERE), also delicious. It wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciate, and you could definitely taste a hint of salt.

Latte Taste rating: 9

E: I got The James Brown,  smoked turkey, hickory smoked bacon, pickled tomatoes, swiss, and parmesan aioli on house-made white bread pressed until golden brown. It came with a side and I chose the corn and bean salad. 

slow hand

Food taste rating: 8. 

To drink, I got the iced chai latte. It needed a little stirring (the first sip had me grimacing), but I ended up really liking it. It was a little on the cinnamon-y side, but good overall. I'd recommend drinking it without any pastries, though. The sweetness competed and the result was too much. #diabetus 

Latte taste rating: 8. 

The glass case of pastries and baked goods called to us like a siren song, so we couldn’t resist going back up for dessert. 

L: I chose a pumpkin praline cake donut with cream cheese icing. I MEAN HAVE YOU EVER. It was as delicious as it sounds and looks. Worth every bite. (If it makes those who care about fitness feel better, I saved most of the aforementioned cornbread for my husband.)

Pumpkin Praline Cake Donut with Cream Cheese Icing rating: 11++ 

slow hand

E: I chose the pumpkin chocolate chip bread. I ended up waiting to eat it (see note above about chai latte competition), but it was still pretty delicious. I can only imagine how good it would be still warm from the oven. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Rating: 9.

Presentation/Service

 

Their latte art game was clearly on. point.

Latte Art rating: 9

The service was good, not great. The barista didn't make conversation but he also didn't get annoyed when Laura asked about the wifi situation (pro tip: it's a random ATT network and you have to ask for the password, written on a slip of paper they give you). 

They presented everything in to-go containers, which was convenient unless you were eating there (most people weren't). The food wasn't the fastest, but it also wasn't extremely slow. You pick up your order at a window behind the counter. 

No complaints about the pastry presentation. 

No complaints about the pastry presentation. 

Ratings Round-Up

Disheveled facial hair - 6

Disheveled hair - 4

Maybe rock stars - 9

Plaid - 4

Sunglasses worn inside - 6

People wearing colors other than black - 3

Uncomfortableness Upon Walking In: 5. It's pretty casual, but you are Right. There. at the counter when you open the door. 

#Nashville

#Nashville

Have you been to Slow Hand yet? Did you wear your sunglasses inside? Tell us what you thought about the experience! 

Posted on November 23, 2015 .

Onyx Coffee Shop

onyx

"Should we go to that jewelry store?," Elizabeth asked after sweating it out for a couple of hours at the Nashville Tomato Arts Festival forever ago. (We're crushing it at timely posts, lately, guys.)

"Onyx?," Laura replied, as she did each time Elizabeth called it "the jewelry store."

And so we went. 

Onyx is a watch repair shop/vintage clothing store/coffee shop in East Nashville. You know the type. (J/K. This is not a type. Though it probably could be, if any hipsters out there have a secret trust fund they'd like to invest.) We'd had our Coffee Shoppers eyes set on the shop ever since one of us stumbled across the sign on the way somewhere else. 

onyx

There were many discussions about the store. Is it a coffee shop? We mean, it DOES have a sign. But it also has jewelry? 

Our curiosity was piqued. Someone needed to see if this was actually a coffee shop. We couldn't think of any someone better for the job than us. We went so you don't have to. You're welcome. 

onyx

Atmosphere

Onyx is foremost an antique shop/vintage clothing store. There were trinkets, hats, dresses, gloves, and jewelry everywhere. It's not entirely clear what is for sale and what's not.

onyx

We were immediately greeted by the World's Friendliest Barista. She genuinely seemed thrilled to be there and thrilled we were there and thrilled to be making our drinks. She used nicknames for us the whole time: darling, honey, dear. 

onyx

 

It should be noted that we were the only people in the store, which was enough to bring these introverts up to full awkward capacity. But we pressed on.

Though the barista (and presumably store owner) was as delightful as she could be, we should also point out that she said "expresso" instead of "espresso," and none of the colorfully adorned menu items above were available to try. Again, we pressed on.

We meandered a bit around the shop, trying to figure out what its deal was. We never really found out. We're still not entirely convinced it's not a front for some kind of mafia business with a boss who happens to have an affinity for creating unique muffin names.

Elizabeth explored the upstairs a bit (there is an upstairs) and on her way to the other room (of vintage clothing), passed a pile of money just hanging out on a counter. This only furthers the suspicion that a watch repair shop/vintage clothing store/coffee shop is a cover for something else. 

L:

I got an iced caramel latte. It was a little too sweet for my liking, but not bad.

Latte Taste Rating: 4

E: 

I got the iced chai latte. It was a concentrate, but she offered to add any milk to it—almond, soy, regular—for no extra charge. Met with this freedom of choice, I chose soy. The latte was warm, which was weird since I ordered it iced and usually the concentrate and milk are refrigerated. There was a bit of ice, but it melted immediately. It was also super sweet (probably because of the soy). 

Chai Taste Rating: 3

 

Shh. Don't look the dolls directly in the eye. Just BE COOL.

Shh. Don't look the dolls directly in the eye. Just BE COOL.

We perused some amusing greeting cards for a while, which we enjoyed because we like words (they all contained one random sentiment and ended with "that's all"). 

IMG_0152.jpg
IMG_0153.jpg

 

Then we booked it the heck out of there, not because of anything the barista did, but because our awkward alarms had been sounding for a good 20 minutes and we couldn't ignore them any longer. We mean, if we had sat down at one of those tables we would basically have been sitting in this woman's living room, no music in the background, trying to judge things in whispers, take secret photos and not make eye contact with the owner. And that's no way to live. We usually do all those things anyway, but at least there are other people there and a steady soundtrack of Arcade Fire deep cuts.

Ratings Round-Up

Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 8. 

Fedora count: zero. 

Disheveled facial hair count: zero. There was no one else there.

Cost: Honestly we don't remember because it was so long ago and we have since blocked much of this experience out because its awkwardness affects our self-worth. Not charging for soy/almond milk is a plus, though. 

Parking: 9. There were a few spots, but a few was plenty.

Manbuns: lol no.

Level of pretentiousness: 0. Expresso, y'all. Expresso.

Though our collective INFJ personalities hate to say it because this lady was so darn nice, we can't in good conscience recommend this as a quality coffee shop. To be fair, though, we didn't bring in a watch to repair, so they may be gangbusters at that.

Would you have sat in Onyx and sipped your drink? Do you think it is a front for the mafia? Let us know in the comments.

 

Posted on October 14, 2015 .

Coffee Shop Games

coffee shop games

We all play them. We come into the coffee shop ready to work. Ready to focus—on our conversations, on our freelance writing, on our latest album. But then things happen. We get distracted. We start playing games. 

And the thing is? We play to win. We end up spending so much time perfecting the art of these games, we all deserve medals. Or at least participation ribbons. Maybe they could come with coffee coupons? We're just spitballing here. 

We, personally, feel like we are proficient-to-trophy-level in the following Coffee Shop Games. 

  • Outlet Races - You know this one. You're paying for your latte and watching the barista painstakingly add leaves to your latte art and you see out of the corner of your eye, an open outlet. You also notice the person getting drip coffee behind you eyeing the outlet. You cannot wait for Latte Art DaVinci to finish his work. You throw your change into a tip jar, not noting if you voted for Kids Incorporated or Mickey Mouse Club and race in your TOMS to table, vowing to be right back! to get your latte. You quickly open your MacBook, unfurl the tangle of power cords and oversized headphones and plug it in. Victory is yours! 
  • Finding the right volume in your earbuds to drown out the conversation discussing Winona's latest human resources endeavors, but to have the ability to eavesdrop on/live tweet the first date next to you. 
  • Hipster or _________. There are a few versions of this game. You can fill in the blank according to the coffee shop you're in. 
    • Hipster or Homeless
    • Hipster or Time Traveler
    • Hipster or Homeschooler.
    • Hipster or Civil War Reenactor
  • Name That Tune. It's a deep cut from a really obscure band that you've probably never heard of but the barista saw play at a secret show last night in his friend's basement. So this really is an expert-level game. 
  • Are! They! Famous?! [Please reread that, yelling in your head like a game show crowd. We'll wait.] This coffee shop game is especially fun in Nashville, but I'm sure other parts of the world experience it as well. Basically, how you play is you notice someone who looks like maybe they're famous (this is based mostly on haircuts). The next step is to attempt to stare at them as long as possible without them noticing. You can google a few bands or TV show IMDb pages to try to figure it out. The final level is attempting to get a picture for the Text a Friend option. If you can do this without them noticing, you win. If they really are famous and you get a bunch of money for taking the only existing picture of her with her new boyfriend, you win a bunch of money (from People magazine, obviously. Not us. They don't pay us for this.).
  • Name That Musician. This is admittedly similar to Are! They! Famous?!, but with musicians. Because we live in Music City. 
  • Price Is Right for a Tip? Basically, you have to decide while everyone's staring at the iPad with you if you want to select a tip on the Square App or say no and be judged by everyone. Or you have to decide which tip jar to drop your money in: Johnny Cash or Johnnyswim. (You better just put a dollar in both of those.)
  • Coffee Shopper Bingo. How could we not? 
  • Outlet Yoga. The athleticism it requires to twist around to plug in your MacBook Pro while wearing headphones and not tipping over your bowl-sized latte cup deserves a medal sometimes. And we are here to give you that medal. (No actual medals for this exist. Yet.)
  • How long does it take to hear mentions of the Lord's will, touring, or both (bonus points)? This is a game where each person in your work-from-"home" group guesses how long it takes before one of those topics comes up in conversation around you. Whoever gets closest (Price Is Right rules) wins. Everyone else at the table can chip in to purchase that person a gluten-free, dairy-free cookie. 
  • Making one drink last four hours to justify having a table. You know what every sport requires? Endurance. You know what making one tiny espresso last four hours requires? Endurance.
  • Taking up space so that no one sits next to you at the community table. This is both an art and a game. Extreme introversion like this requires skillz. And you, with your extra grandpa sweaters and unnecessary scarves and a variety of iDevices and fair-trade bags, you have what is required to take up an entire community table for yourself. You bought a bagel and a large chai tea. You deserve this. 

What games did we miss? What coffee shop game do you deserve a trophy for? Tell us in the comments! 

Posted on September 2, 2015 .

Sip Café

sip

Sip Café is located in Inglewood, just northeast of Nashville. You go through trendy East Nashville and keep going past where the trendy, reclaimed-stuff stores mingle with the bail bond places and laundromats. There's a bridge and a YMCA and a church or two, and then, at last, Sip Café. 

sip

Sip is owned by the people who own Mike's Ice Cream. Mike's Ice Cream and Coffee Bar downtown is one of Nashville's most famous ice cream shops and oldest coffee bars (we can't find the exact stat, but we promise it is the first something-related-to-coffee in Nashville. We're professionals.). Mike's Ice Cream factory is in the same building as Sip and Sip serves Mike's Ice Cream. So, basically what we're saying is, it's also an ice cream shop. 

sip

Atmosphere

The shop appears to be in an old bank. The only sign the bank existed, though, is the teller window (j/k you guys, we realized as we were leaving there are LOTS OF SIGNS of it being a bank. #ObservationSkillz). There is a community high top table, a few tables and chairs, along with a pew on one side with several two-top tables. The floor is a creme and brown mussel-shell type checked tile, the walls are green. The ceiling has tin tiles with a few red translucent blocks thrown in, which we thought were cool. The tables look like they were leftover from a variety of restaurants. Jazz music played over the PA. It's eclectic, but not in any specific way that is necessarily a style. It seemed to have some mid-centry flair, though. 

The menus are on faux chalkboards, which are actually TV screens mounted to the ceiling. Less chalk dust, perhaps?

sip

The vibe is pretty laid back here. There were a few hipsters, but like, the kind who are already over Barista Parlor and just want a no-frills cup of coffee, okay? This, combined with its half-vintage-ice-cream-shop, half-former-bank components, makes us think it's kind of like the anti-Barista Parlor. If it weren't in Nashville, the epicenter of irony, it might not be considered cool. Maybe that's what makes it cool. Are we getting too meta? Let's move on.

Proof that Elizabeth always gets there before Laura.

Proof that Elizabeth always gets there before Laura.

Several tables line the outside of the building for additional, al fresco dining. 

sip

Fun fact: apparently Robin Williams filmed a movie here before he passed away, according to Sip's Facebook page.

Thank you to Gary Willis (police officer on the right) for this photo of the late great Robin Williams outside of the shop during the filming of Boulevard. Great shot!

Posted by Sip Cafe on Friday, July 17, 2015


We noticed this sign when we were leaving, which we liked. We're not sure about the wall garden though.

We noticed this sign when we were leaving, which we liked. We're not sure about the wall garden though.

We should note that there was a very awkward, very loud one-on-one Spanish lesson going on behind us the entire time we were there. Strange moments include: student asking a question about the Antioch shooting whilst entering a one-person bathroom (was the teacher supposed to respond?), student explaining that "we can't kennel her anymore because she has colitis" but proceeding to pressure the teacher into dog-sitting, and various and sundry over-sharing. Plus the mispronunciations made L's blood boil. (PSA: "me" is pronounced similar to "may" in Spanish. Not "mee." End of PSA.)

We also saw what we assume was a first date going on, in which the guy wore sunglasses inside the entire time. (That's a dealbreaker, ladies!)

Taste:
 

E: I got an iced chai latte. When the barista handed it to me he said, "One extra-delicious iced chai latte." It was odd because he had a full hipster beard and wore an ironic trucker hat and a tie-dye tshirt with some hand symbol on it that I did not recognize from my training in ASL for CCM songs. (Urban Dictionary says the hand symbol means Peace, Love, and Unity.) He just didn't seem the type to point out the extra deliciousness of a latte. It was also odd because the chai latte was terrible. 

Chai Taste Rating: 1 

I'm not sure if the milk was ruined or if there was some extra syrup in it or what. It's possible that the milk was not homogenized. Whatever the problem, it made the chai undrinkable. And after the barista straight up told me he added deliciousness to the regular recipe, I felt I could not return it. Maybe ask for the regular-amount-of-delicious one? 

Fun story: As we left, I went to throw away my chai. Not wanting to put a cup full of liquid in the trashcan, I placed it in the dishes bin. As I did, I looked up and made eye contact with the barista. I can never go back there. 

Looking back, perhaps the barista added the "extra-delicious" ironically. He would. Peace, Love, Unity, and Irony, right? 

L: I got a mocha because I wanted to test their latte art skills, and I couldn't justify getting ice cream.

It was fine. Nothing special, just tasted like sweet coffee.

Taste rating: 5

The straws, creams, sugars, water, etc., were served on one of those checks and deposit-slips tables. (signs of the bank)

The straws, creams, sugars, water, etc., were served on one of those checks and deposit-slips tables. (signs of the bank)

Presentation/Service: 

L: Their latte art game was not great, but at least they attempted:

There's not a lot to say about the presentation. E's latte came in a clear plastic cup, but did have a fun orange straw. L's mocha came in a plain white cup and had no branding on the sleeve (not a bad thing, but not giving us anything interesting to say, either). 

The barista was nice, if not a little pushy on how to feel about the chai. 

sip

Ratings Round Up:

Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 2. It was quiet and not the environment we expected.

Free-spirited children (a.k.a. not wearing shoes, running around wildly): 2 

Health Rating: 99 (No Listeria here!)

Parking: 6. It had enough spots around the building for the shop, at least when we went, but if it's a busy day you might have to park on the street. Plus Laura parked in a crooked parking spot she assumed was an actual spot but may not have been, so we're factoring that social anxiety.

Level of pretentiousness: 0. Quote from shopping: "I think the level of caring about anything around here is pretty low." 

Disheveled facial hair count: 4

Inappropriate chest-area art staring at Laura: 2

Vape count: 1 (Is the actual electronic cigarette called a Vape? Again, we're professionals.)

Awkward Spanish lessons: 1

Overall, it was a fun shop to visit, but we'll probably stick with ice cream next time. 

Have you ever been to Sip Café? If so what is your go-to there? Have you ever dated someone who wore sunglasses inside? We're here to help.

P.S. If you have shop review suggestions, let us know! We're always looking for new places to visit.

Posted on August 12, 2015 .