Author Archives: Shelli

About Shelli

Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to Travel with Grant, you can find her at Joy in Movement.

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Shelli’s World Coffee Tour – San Francisco (Part 2)

I guess it’s time for a true confession. I’m a coffee snob. And when I travel, I have a passion for supporting local roasters and coffee houses. Let’s just say I’ve BEAN Around the World and I’m feeling like now is the time to start sharing the love… and caffeine, one city at a time. You may recall that I started this series with San Francisco – Part 1. If you haven’t already read it, please do before reading this article. It will give you background and a review of the first three coffee roasters I sampled. So let’s open the TWG cafe society doors and talk coffee. Here are the next three coffee places in San Francisco I visited.

Verve is the new kid on the block. I say “on the block” because in fact, they’ve been down in the Santa Cruz area since 2007 (the owner is from Chico and a surfer dude, so he chose Santa Cruz to open his shops) but only opened a cafe on the corner of Church and Market in mid-February of 2017. Stewart, the wonderfully friendly and informative assistant manager, sat with me for a good while and we had a fun chat. He told me that Verve had actually been looking for a space in San Francisco for some time. They wanted a space with a lot of natural light, and while they had this San Francisco space for two years, due to all the rules and regulations in city coding, it took them two years to build out the space and open their doors. Stewart said, “You can’t really be a big dog on the Northern Californian coffee scene without a shop in San Francisco!”

The space is very thoughtfully designed, very modern, lots of natural light, and has a few different seating options. The tables were big and would be good for working. All their beans are roasted in Santa Cruz and they use Colombian and Honduran beans. Pour over coffee is actually their biggest seller and cappuccino the second most requested beverage. And of course like all the other roasters, they are heavily focused on their wholesale bean business.

Verve Menu Board

Verve Menu Board

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Shelli’s World Coffee Tour – San Francisco (Part 1)

I guess it’s time for a true confession. I’m a coffee snob. And when I travel, I have a passion for supporting local roasters and coffee houses. Let’s just say I’ve BEAN Around the World and I’m feeling like now is the time to start sharing the love… and caffeine, one city at a time.  You may recall, I started this series with San Diego. When I wrote about the coffee scene in Hawaii, the topic of coffee in San Francisco came up. Readers gave me a bunch of places to check out the next time I was in the Bay Area and I had a chance recently to do that. And I’ve got a LATTE to share! So let’s open the TWG cafe society doors and talk coffee.

First a few parameters. Readers gave me coffee places to try all over the Bay Area, but this time I only visited places within San Francisco. Next time I’ll explore places outside the city. Secondly, I’m going to talk about the cafes in the order I tried them. You’ll know by my comments which ones were my favorites :) As you might recall, I’m judging more than the coffee. I’m also taking into account the ambiance, service, and general vibe.

The first place I went to is Andytown Coffee Roasters. They have two locations, both of which are in the Outer Sunset. They turned out to be one of my favorites, so besides the fact that their beverages are 50-75 cents less than the other coffee places, the whole experience is worth heading out to the beach for!

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Should I Use Citi Thank You Points or Membership Reward Points / AMEX Business Platinum to Book American Airlines Flight?

I have a miles and points spending decision to make and thought I’d ask TWG readers for advice. After all, when Grant asks for advice, he gets lots of great input. I have a one-way flight I need to purchase and am considering two options:

  • Option #1: Use Citi Thank You Points. I have a nice stash of them and have been looking for a good use. The flight is on American for $242.64 and requires 15,165 Citi Thank You Points. I have the Citi Prestige Credit Card, so I’m getting 1.6 cents per point (CPP).
  • Option #2: Use Membership Reward Points. As of March 30, new rules will go into place for the AMEX Business Platinum card, so that seems like an interesting option as well. The flight would cost $242.64 or 24,264 Membership Rewards Points. American Airlines is my designated airline so I’ll get a 50% refund on those points. Also, as of March 30, because first you purchase the flight and then get reimbursed when you use MR points, I’ll get 5X points for the AMEX spend.

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Indulging in Mate and Dulce de Leche in Buenos Aires

Two of my favorite fun eating adventures in Buenos Aires are drinking Mate and enjoying Dulce de Leche. On my recent trip to Buenos Aires, I overindulged enjoyed both, but realized I still had a lot to learn about Mate and Dulce de Leche.

Let’s look at Mate, first!

A quick tip: When you order mate (pronounced, mah-tay) be sure to order the classic mate. Otherwise you’ll get a mate teabag! Mate is the symbol of friendship and was originally a traditional “gaucho” (local cowboys) drink. Then the Spaniards adopted it, and so it goes throughout its five centuries of mate history. In Argentina, it is the beverage of highest consumption, second only to water.

Mate in Buenos Aires

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4 Less Traveled Sites to See in Buenos Aires

It’s easy to come up with a list of the top sites to see in Buenos Aires as there’s a lot to see and do. It’s a fascinating city and according to most lists, the most visited city in South America. On a recent trip, I enjoyed 4 sites that either don’t come up on many lists or are at the bottom of lists, but I think they deserve higher ranking.

  1. El Zanjón, which is in the San Telmo area of the city. If you like architecture, archeology, and history, this tour of a historic dwelling puts it all together. As with many tours, it depends on who leads you through your experience. The tour lasts about an hour and the older woman who guided us had a wealth of information, not just about this site but about Argentine history as well. She also had a great sense of humor!
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanenhaus/2400379236

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanenhaus/2400379236

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