coffee diaries | the local market & kitchen

"Taylor, you'd love this place." That was the first I've heard of The Local Market in Ship Bottom, NJ, from my mom, who knows a good pick when she sees one. On our morning outings, this place is the exact thing we look for. Something new, cutting-edge, and exceeding our expectations. We've been talking more and more about what it would be like to open our own cafe...and I am pretty sure it would be just like this! It is literally PERFECT, and I can't wait to share about it to all of you coffee and beach lovers out there!

So...let me preface this post by stating a few things to help you understand my very strong enthusiasm (!!!) about this place...

a) It's located in the heart of Long Beach Island...my childhood vacation spot/eternal happy place.
b) the baristas have beautiful latte art skills! 
c) it's not just a cafe...it's not just a market...it's both!
d) The interior is jawdroppingly gorgeous, bright and clean
e) Italian coffee and espresso (ahhh, all the heart eyes!)

I've pretty much given it away in those points right there, but seriously the vibes of this coffeehouse are so unreal. It is chic, trendy, but beachy-classic. 

Some of my favorite parts of this beachy interior are the custom benches and furniture made from reclaimed wood. The whole interior reminds me of a cross between Australian coastal cool and classy, elegant, small-town charm. So much attention went into the details here. Above the windows, little wooden plaques adorn the perimeter of the ceiling to remember the hurricanes from the past several years. Not a detail went unnoticed, including the little vases of wildflowers perfectly arranged on each table (they offer bunches for sale, too! swoon).

Now, let's get to the whole reason we are here...the coffee. I ordered a latte at $4, but was impressed with the smoky and nutty taste before I even realized that they were using Lavazza coffee! I swear, these people were reading my mind...Italian coffee, or anything Italian, is the way to my heart. So, the latte was absolutely delicious. The kitchen offers other pastries and deli goods, like homemade italian breads braided with prosciutto, simple panini, cookies and croissants. They also have bagels, muffins, and fresh fruit - this doesn't even count the grocery part of the store (final photo) which includes everything from gourmet dips, fresh-pressed juices, organic snacks, pasta, fish, and meats. Outside, surrounding the store is a pergola with bountiful flowers, heaping hanging baskets, and small garden wares that are also for sale. Who thought of this place, and how can I meet them to shake their hand in congratulations? You've done it - created the cafe of my dreams, on my favorite island in the world. 

The tricky thing is the location - LBI is notoriously tricky in this way. Located a block or so off the main boulevard, the Local Market and Kitchen is an easy walk in between the beach and the bay. If you've been to LBI before, you know it's really narrow and takes only minutes to walk from ocean-to-bay, depending on what town you're in.  Once you're around, though, you can't miss this place because it offers great parking (bike friendly, too) and takes up a whole corner with its plentiful outdoor seating, garden, and signage. 

LBI has just gained another amazing cafe worth checking out! 

604 Central Avenue
Ship Bottom, New Jersey


summer moscow mule

S got me hooked on moscow mules last winter when we made them for the first time together on NYE. These little babies are not only beautiful in presentation, but s-t-r-o-n-g when made with the ingredients we bought! I'm not much of a recipe follower, but we found one that called for four simple and easy to find ingredients. Just add the copper mug and you've got an elegant, 1940s-era cocktail ready to be sipped. Now they are kind of our signature drink :)

The absolute, hands-down most important thing to get right about this drink is the ginger beer. S and I have had trouble finding Crabbie's ginger beer lately, but this is the beer to have as the base of your drink! It is delicious, but makes makes the Moscow Mule pack a completely unexpected punch. It tastes like ginger ale, but has a spicier flavor that ginger ale can't quite cut. The beer is a little expensive, but it is completely worth it - don't skimp on this part!

I am also a big lime person, so I added some fresh limes in addition to the lime juice (it can be found in the grocery store near the margarita mix).

Lastly - the mugs! S was so right about this one - you need the mug for this drink to taste and feel like the elegant 40's cocktail that it is. They are not only beautiful pieces of hardware that will look great in a cabinet or bar cart, but they are timeless and pretty easy to find. We found ours at Bed Bath and Beyond (link below) and ended up buying 6 or so more because my family wanted to add their own set to their collection!

If you're interested, these are the ingredients we used (and loved): copper mug / crabbie's ginger beer  / rose's lime juice / limes / ice 

And the recipe, along with some other summery takes on the drink, can be found at this amazing site

happy sipping! ciao, xo



Dear June,

It's good yet bittersweet that you're leaving us! It has definitely been a trying month, and it continues to be very challenging...but the summer is sweet, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So...let's start with the most recent. I got a new car! It felt weird driving off in a brand new car, feeling like it wasn't new at all but back to what I had before.  I detest the whole negotiations bit, the haggling is absolutely exhausting! But it was a big accomplishment and step for progress, so I am pretty excited. We took it for a lovely, lazy Sunday drive up the river and found ourselves in a totally new spot - Frenchtown, NJ - where we walked around the main street, popped in the shops, and had lunch. How cute is this town!? American flags everywhere, old industrial buildings, little restaurants and cafes and shops right along the Delaware.

This month I have been working SO hard on the ever-rewarding and time consuming craft of calligraphy! I have two wedding collections that I am working on, which has been so amazing. These brides are lovely and have such great taste in wedding paper and stationery. I am so thankful that they have entrusted me with this project! Through these, I have learned so much about etiquette and all of the ins and out of format, spacing, and keeping up with tradition. I'm learning to hone my skills. The most importance is patience and deliberation. Each black canvas needs to stay blank until all the preparations are made - each item off the checklist, checked twice. Ink? Water? Viscosity? Opaque enough? Spelling? Spacing? Choice of tools? All of this is time consuming, and requires my full concentration and attention all of the time. I love the feeling of accomplishing a full set! I can't wait to see how these two projects turn out!

A few days ago by little bro rang in his 20th birthday! We sneakily threw him a big surprise party at our house, with all of his friends, family, s'mores and a bonfire, yummy BBQ food and of course some good old lawn sports - volleyball is my absolute favorite to play as a team! S loves Spikeball, but we didn't get a chance to play at the party (hello, beach!). My sister planned the whole thing and it went so well.

Next week, I am going here to ring in July 4th and spend some time in the sun and by the sea! I absolutely love the chilly early morning walks, multiple coffee stops (I miss coffee SO much - I can't drink it and work on my calligraphy usually in the same day) and coming and going to get some relief from the sun. I think my favorite aspect of the shore by far is watching all of the boats through their binoculars and watching them come and go. I normally figure out which one is which based on time of day, or color...I am such a nerd! But I love it. So next time you hear from me, it will probably be about the beach!

ciao, xo


summer bucket list

This summer is lining up to be a busy one, and I am incredibly shocked that June is already halfway over! Since my last entry, so much has happened. Periods of growth, frustration, thankfulness…I am glad that for now, there is a sense of calm around me that is surrounding me more and more with the onset of summer.

So naturally, as I always do, I am looking ahead with anticipation. I am so excited for the summertime and lapsing into a deep relaxation. I've been thinking about the things I want to do, but the first thing on my list is probably the most important:
  • Live EVERY day slowly, thoughtfully, and with purpose.
  • Go white water rafting!
  • Get some fun, action photography shots…I’m envisioning a rope swing??
  •  Hot air balloons
  • Wine tasting with S
  • Miniature golfing down the shore
  •  Enjoy a girl’s weekend with my gal pals
  • Get up to 4 miles running after physical therapy
  •  Go kayaking in the OBX
  • Do a spontaneous day or weekend trip with S?
  • Star gazing
  • Be good to my skin
  • Finish the current wedding projects currently queued up with @ataylorstudio
  • Expand my calligraphy practice
  • This is an ambitious one…new paint on the walls in my room?
  • Another ambitious one…get acclimated to summer eating with a more vegetarian diet
  •  Tend to my herb garden
  • Experiment with some European and Asian recipes…I subscribe to the Try to World boxes and have got some awesome themed collections from Thailand and Portugal…have to pluck up the courage to try some home cooked international flavor
  • Finish 3-5 summer reads

What's on your summer to-do list!?

ciao, xo