Wesley Andrews Conversation Complements has been all over my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds for weeks now. It happens when you follow a lot of coffee and Minneapolis/St. Paul foodie-type sites. I’m by no means complaining. Between this and it becoming the new go-to coffee shop for a close friend, it was quickly moved to the top of my list.
Located at 111 E. 26th Steet in South Minneapolis, you will want to plan for street parking. It’s a fairly easy task since it’s on a one-way, but you may end up a block away. This is par for any location in the area, though so no biggie! We got there around 10:00 a.m. and found parking right up front. Which was surprising considering how hoppin’ it was when we got inside. Every seat at the bar was taken, along with several tables. Most of the window bar was open, but given that it was about 10 degrees out, it was understandable.
The space is beautiful! Lots of white, wood, and brick; exposed ducts, dropped lighting, and spacious. It has a very Scandinavian feel while still maintaining the welcoming, cozy feel you should get when in a coffee house. Most of my coffee house visits involve an hour or so of reading and bottomless cups of coffee. The bar area is a great place to pull up a seat and settle in with a book or laptop. The guys behind the bar (one of which was the owner) were very friendly and helpful in explaining some of their processes.
“We believe that by harnessing the power of valuable, transparent, and ethical coffee and tea, and combining them into one coined phrase, “conversation complements,” we’ve created the perfect incubator for not only deep, enjoyable conversation, but also for a unique, and communal experience enjoying tea and coffee in their truest forms.”
I took several inside shots, but with all the people I couldn’t really capture how gorgeous the space was, so the interior shots above are from Wesley Andrews’ website.
With all the hype this place is getting, we wanted to try several things. Like I said, my friend was already a huge fan, but I wanted to decide for myself. First up, The Northwoods (smoked whiskey, balsam fir, toasted marshmallow, espresso, milk). This is the drink that has invaded my Instagram so it was a must. Such a good drink! Not a sweet note to be found, which I was happy with. It was more earthy, which I know sounds strange, but trust me, so good!!! The marshmallow came roasted on the side and I was unsure if I was supposed to eat it as is or put it in my drink. So I drank half the coffee as was and then dropped my marshmallow in just to try it. Definitely made it sweeter, but was still pretty yummy! Also, the smell of roasted marshmallows is always a good thing ❤
My friend had the Honduras poured coffee which was dark, slightly bitter, and very good. The presentation of the poured coffee is very cool and different, which I appreciate. I love that my coffee or tea is kept hot until I’m ready to pour and enjoy.
The last two drinks we tried were the Winter Dragon (wildflower, lemon blossom, honey, and cream) an Oolong tea from Bao Zhong, China. This may be my new favorite tea. It was delicate and refreshing after all the coffee. As a coffee lover, it is rare for me to choose a tea over a coffee, but I could see that happening here.
The second poured coffee we tried was the Don Cesar Urena from Costa Rica. This was a lighter coffee than the Honduras, so I liked it more, though my friend preferred the Honduras. The Don Cesar Urena had a great citrus afternote that hung around for awhile. I really liked it and will order it again.
Usually, I pair a book with a location based on how they complement each other or just because I find the contraction fun, but this time I decided to go with the hype they both received. You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott also flooded my social media and GoodRead feeds for a chunk of time when it came out this past summer.
Every book I read I give the characters a face. Whoever that person reminds me of, whether it’s someone I know or a celebrity. It helps make the characters more real for me. I do not know any gymnasts, so the person I pictured throughout this book was Laurie Hernandez. After watching her at the Olympics and on Dancing with the Stars (don’t judge me!) she comes across so incredibly sweet and bubbly! So picturing her as Devon and what the character goes through at each turn just to be “extraordinary” was a little heartbreaking.
This story is told from Kate’s perspective; Devon’s mother. It explores the world of gymnastics, the cutthroat competition and devotion, the lengths parents will go to for their children and a view into the lives of teenage girls. I liked how Abbott approached the teenage girl aspect of this. As adults, I think we sometimes forget what it was like to be 16 years-old and so we can be very dismissive of their hurts, struggles, and loves. Because, you know…“you just wait until you get to be my age”…yadda, yadda, yadda. She makes Devon very real and not just a teenager from her mom’s point of view.
The book picks up quickly. The death of a well-liked member of their community throws everyone into a tailspin. It is very interesting to witness how this death affects each of the different characters. Some are so insanely focused on their ‘investment’ that the death seems more a nuisance. While others drive themselves to dark places in their grief. Each character is really well written.
My favorite character throughout the entire book was Drew, Devon’s younger brother. Forced to live in the shadow of his sister’s amazing talent, he spends a good portion of the book either sitting in the stands while she practices or sick in bed. The child is very insightful and sees everything. He was this grounding character that was very much needed while the rest of the novel spun out of control with the intensity of “who did it and why.”
There are somethings I would like to discuss here, but without giving away the main twist there isn’t really a way to do that. So when you are done reading this, send me a message so we can discuss the craziness that led up to it and the thoughts running through that person’s head!
I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an honest review. Much appreciated!!!
One of the worst things is hearing endless hype about a place or book and then being completely let down. Thankfully both Wesley Andrews CC and You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott did not disappoint. I haven’t read Abbott before, but this book is along the lines of a Liane Moriarty book, who I love so I will be checking out more from Abbott while sitting at Wesley Andrews’ bar. ❤
More about Megan Abbott