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My favorite coffee shops

The scene inside JC Beans
The scene inside JC Beans

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.

Cat Island from the exterior.
Cat Island from the exterior.

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.