Every year I throw up a list of my favorite coffee shops across America. I’ve been to 44 states and I’ve probably plopped down in, oh, 500 or so cafes. So here are the absolute best …
• JC Beans (Dana Point, Cal.): First, it’s in Dana Point—which in and of itself kicks ass. But I’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever tasted a better breakfast burrito than the one offered here. It’s potatoes, eggs in this perfectly delectable blend. Yum. Also, the walls are lined with used books for sale.
• Cat Island Coffeehouse (Pass Christian, Miss.): Bonita Favre, Brett’s mother, turned me on to this one—and it’s a gem. Located on the Gulf, shared space with a bookstore, Cat Island is, truly, perfection. Sunsets, java, good eats.
• Xanadu Cafe (Newport Beach, Cal.): it sorta feels like you’re in Europe. That’s weird to say, because everything on the menu is in English and it sits less than a mile from the Pacific. But Xanadu has a mojo that just oozes … bonjur. The coffee is excellent, but the food is next-level awesome. Omelets like you’ve never seen. Cheeses that’ll blow your dome.
• Mockingbird Cafe (Bay St. Louis, Miss.): The wall art is eye-catching and eccentric. The live music is, generally, soft country twang. The coffee is the best I’ve ever had.
• Fox Coffee Shop (Long Beach, Cal.): Chill vibe. Friendly owner with colorful Tatts up and down her arm. Free wifi. Menu featuring bagel sandwiches, salads and pastries. A unique wall mural and a living room sorta feel.
• Sunburst (New York City): This was my money spot for a decade. Why? A few reasons. First, they let you sit there all day without bother or care. Second, the staff is delightful. Third, tons of outlets. Fourth, I’ve never had a bad drink. Fifth, it’s New York.
• Fair Grinds Coffeehouse (New Orleans): The coffee is tart, but I’m cool with that. The vibe oozes New Orleans. I’m cool with that, too.
• Indian Road Cafe (Manhattan): Recommended by MC White Owl, this spot is located in Inwood, a neighborhood toward the upper tip of Manhattan. I like smells and sounds; background noises. I love big, unfamiliar windows and funky, overpriced coffee drinks and the egg of the day. No pressure to leave a table after an hour, no overbearing Starbucks smell, no commercialization, no ripped couches and loud managers (a la my local Cosi). Just chill comfort.
• Starbucks (Laguna Niguel, Cal.): Yes, Starbucks. Just one. This one—where I sit right now. Sure, the drinks are predictable, the cups, the smells. But that makes this place terrific is a palm tree-covered patio that smells like summer, and a group of baristas who, truly, kick ass.