Coffee crawl, the birthday edition

I'm on the final leg of winter birthday celebrations. These are the final few miles of the marathon, my coterie. Ravena's birthday festivities were this weekend.

birthday collage

She organized dinner for 10 of us on Friday night at Lighthouse Tofu, a little Korean place in Centreville with a Yelp page full of great reviews (my bulgogi was great). My favorite part of dinner may have been Amanda and her conspiracy theories involving the chicken and tofu. Afterward, a few of us headed back to my place for a little champagne (thanks, Allie) and photos in front of my polka dot wall.

Maybe the part of this weekend that was the most Ravena was Saturday morning's coffee crawl. She shares my affinity for coffee shops and, in fact, might be a bit more obsessed. As you know, not all coffee is created (or sold) equally, so it only made sense to try a few different places in Northern Virginia. We hit up St. Elmo's Coffee Pub and Misha's.

apple cider donut

First stop was St. Elmo's Coffee Pub in the adorable neighborhood of Del Ray (in Alexandria). This placed was packed! Families, friends, meetup groups...they were all there. Luckily, St. Elmo's has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Rather than feeling claustrophobic, this all led to a friendly, casual vibe.

I decided at the last minute that my test beverage for each shop would be the cafe au lait. My bev at St. Elmo's was fine, nothing really special. Their selection of baked goods, however, was seriously tempting. It took me all of five seconds standing in line to find three or four things (red velvet cupcake, come to mama) I wanted to try. Self control reigned supreme, and I only snagged the sparkly, golden beauty above (apple cider donut). It should also be noted that it was at this coffee shop that I was convinced to read a book that is very much outside my normal bailiwick.

Misha's

We ended up at Misha's Coffeehouse in Old Town Alexandria next. We were actually headed to Grape and Bean but ran into the St. Patty's Day parade. I'm thankful for the roadblock because the  cafe au lait was really on point and definitely my favorite of the day. Bitter coffee has never been my thing, and Misha's brew was smooth and rich. I'm also cliche enough to appreciate that they roast their own beans (pointed out by Ravena).

How was your weekend?

postscript:

I popped into Coffeesmith in Chantilly this morning to grab another cafe au lait and round out the weekend review. My coffee was good, and while I prefer the cozier atmosphere (and great neighborhoods) of yesterday's shops, the space was certainly clean, airy, and tech friendly. They even have iPad stations. Craziness!