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Steel Wool Press Reviews
Sunday, 4 March 2007
The King's Cup
Topic: Coffee Shops

The King's Cup is a coffee shop in Dearing, Kansas, which is right between Coffeyville and Independence.  It's a pretty cool little coffee shop, but doesn't have the same welcoming, friendly atmosphere that the Java Cup did - or even that most Starbucks have.  Which seems rather odd, given that it is connected to, and I believe owned by, a church.  The people inside seemed nice - they were just much too busy talking to each other to be overly concerned with the customers.

 However!  It is an extremely cool coffee shop.  It is HUGE.  It has a main room - with stage and karaoke set-up, no less - and another room lined with windows that look out on a courtyard with a huge fountain.  Tables and chairs dot the area around the fountain, as well.

The shop serves meals as well as coffee, and sells souvenirs with the shop logo and Bible verses on them (t-shirts, mugs, etc).  I actually wrote the first half of this review in September, but couldn't get it to post - now, finally, I am getting around to posting it since I am in yet another town with yet another coffee shop to review!  But I only went to the King's Cup that one time, so I can't review it as glowingly as I can the Java Cup.  Sorry!

Posted by lala412-ivil at 3:22 AM EST
Sunday, 2 July 2006

Topic: websites

This teapot is perfect for work or travel! Right now, it's perfect for ME. I have not been getting good cups of tea with the little coffee pot they have in my room. This hasn't been a big problem with the cheap, heavily flavored teas that I use for iced tea, but with the more expensive teas I use for hot tea, I have been very disappointed. I just ordered the ingenuiTEA tonight and can't wait to get it! I only saw one bad review on the site and hope not to have that problem with my filter (and bought an extra filter in case).

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Posted by lala412-ivil at 8:11 PM EDT

Topic: websites

They have some great recipes - chai bread pudding, anyone? - and a recipe contest you can enter where they send a sample of tea and you come up with a recipe and submit it. Mmmmmm.

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Posted by lala412-ivil at 7:58 PM EDT
Saturday, 24 June 2006
Judith E. Lombardi, wildlife and scenic photographer, Golden Acres Photography
Topic: Artists
Golden Acres Photography

This is where I bought my dad's father's day card. Ms. Lombardi has wonderful photographs of wildlife - the card I got for my father was of a duck with a duckling on its back. She had photographs of all sizes, of wildlife and of flowers, and they were all beautiful.

Posted by lala412-ivil at 11:08 AM EDT
Sarah Munro
Topic: Artists
Sarah Munro, Silk Painter

I have seen a lot of silk painting over the years - in magazines, at quilt shows, at art and craft festivals - and have always been slightly tempted to buy the supplies and start it as a hobby, but never enough to go through with it. After seeing Sarah Munro's work, the only thing holding me back is trying to figure out if I can do it while staying in a hotel room and if I would have enough room in the car with all the art supplies I brought with me already! I may wait until my next assignment, and leave some of my current stuff at home so I have room. Until then, I'm afraid to even surf the web for supplies. :-) Ms. Munro's work is the most beautiful and inspiring silk work I have ever seen - just go look at her online gallery and you will see what I mean! My only wish is that she either gave lessons (I gave her my e-mail address and am keeping my fingers crossed) or had a technique book out there somewhere. Her work deserves more than a Design Originals booklet, but at the same time I think that could work well for her to begin with. I'd love to see her profiled in Quilting Arts, despite the fact that she doesn't quilt her final product. Or maybe in Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Somewhere!

Posted by lala412-ivil at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 6 June 2006
The Java Cup
Topic: Coffee Shops
Okay, it's true - I do love Starbucks. They are open late (the one in south Arlington on Cooper is open 24 hrs), they have a consistent menu from one city to another (assuming you can find one...), and it's a good place for me to go and sit for hours while I write in my journal and listen to my mp3 player.

However, I have also always liked trying to support local businesses, too. I just never found local coffee shops in Dallas that I really felt comfortable in - the one I found in Arlington, where the husband was an artist, I found the week I moved to Dallas! The one in Dallas near my house, owned by a lawyer, was always very busy and had very loud, sharp sounding (lawyery sounding, actually) customers and it took me 15 minutes before all the other people (regardless of how long I had been there before them) had ordered and I finally was able to get a word in and order something. Sigh. Love Dallas. Not so much that part of the atmosphere sometimes. I scored as Ft. Worth in a quiz I took.

I digress.

I have found a few coffee shops in Claremont and Springfield, but only one that is actually open when I am not at work (other than Dunkin Donuts). Maybe at some point, on a weekend, I can try The Flying Saucer in Springfield, or the other one which is opening soon there, or the other shop in Claremont, but the other one in Claremont is only open 7am - 2pm, and I work 6am - 2:30pm. The Flying Saucer has such erratic hours that they don't even post them - the owner is a bird breeder and flying saucer fan (there is a human sized, neon green, blow-up alien right inside the front door!), so I would love to be able to meet her and have coffee there, but the shop is very part-time. Having once had 23 birds, I can understand that - I can't imagine breeding them...

Not so with The Java Cup (the part-time staus, that is)! It is open from 7am to 4pm, and has excellent coffee. They serve Mocha Joe's coffee, which is organic coffee* roasted just a few exits south of Claremont in Brattleboro, VT. They buy the coffee in small quantities weekly so that they always have the freshest beans - in fact, their order is roasted by Mocha Joe's AFTER they place the order, shipped that night, and they get it the next day. So you are never drinking coffee that was roasted more than about a week ago!

So far I have tried the Iced Chai Latte - much stronger and thicker than Starbucks, which was a little hard to get used to, but very good (and I confess, I added a lot of ice to the last half once I got home and let it water itself down to what I was used to - but it was very good "as is"), the Cafe Aztec, which is WONDERFUL - coffee cinnamon and nutmeg and I don't actually remember what else, but it's very good - the peach tea, and the Ethiopian Harrar, which was also very good. I still prefer Yrgacheffe, but the Harrar was good. Bright is a descriptor that definitely fits.

The atmosphere is very nice, too. It's a small shop, but it has several tables inside and one outside. They have quite a few plants inside and out, and also one large chair with a side table in addition to the regular cafe tables. The shop is impressively clean - the light colored wood floors with walls close to the same color and ceiling fans help that impression, I think. Everything WAS clean, but clean lines and no clutter always help the impression of cleanliness (now if only I could transfer than knowledge to my decorating in my house... LOL). The regular coffee is self-serve, set up on a baker's rack opposite the counter - you just pay for the cup and get your own, which I'm sure helps the traffic flow during coffee rush hour immensely - this way the one server doesn't have to make three black coffees wait on one Cafe Aztec while they're running late. I was very impressed by that. Maybe other shops do that, but I've never seen it.

The owner is also very nice and very friendly. Of course, this had one drawback - I got nothing written in my journal. :-) I'll survive! I spent over an hour talking to her while I was drinking my tea, Aztec, and Harrar (good thing it was only 3pm when I started). Customers came and went, and she knew what most of them wanted before they were even in the door. I think with me that may end up being the Aztec, although the chai was very good...

*the Mocha Joe's coffee served by The Java Cup is all organic, rather - Mocha Joe's does have non-organic on their website, I see.

Posted by lala412-ivil at 5:55 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006 9:56 PM EDT
Monday, 5 June 2006
Joy Wah - Chinese food with a spectacular view
Topic: Restaurants

I had supper tonight at the Joy Wah restaurant in Bellows Falls, which is at exit 6 off of highway 91 in Vermont. Where I am staying is at exit 7, and exit 6 is only 10 miles south, so it wasn't much of a drive. I've been warned not to drive that road after dark, however - I might hit a moose, and goodness knows I do NOT want to do that, no matter how much I would like to SEE one while I am up here! :-) I'd rather never see one than HIT one. I've only had the car two months.

The restaurant was wonderful. I had the Imperial Duck, which I have never had before - I have decided to be adventurous if I am going to be out exploring America. Not that I have never had duck before, but the duck I've had, my father shot. Anyway, this duck was very good. Huge serving - I have plenty for tomorrow, hope the hotel microwave does it justice - and the service was excellent. And the view! They have huge windows overlooking the river. The picture above was taken from the parking lot - it was cloudy and getting late, but still, you can tell the view is amazing. Wonderful experience!

Posted by lala412-ivil at 12:38 AM EDT

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