Too much time has passed since I passed the pen to my favorite writing friend- Greg Stermolle. Well, he’s back: terrorizing the Dallas coffee scene and remembering his camera this time around. I hope you enjoy this Spotlight piece on Ascension Coffee in Dallas as much as I did. It filled me with an immediate longing to get back out to Dallas. And I really loved their business card design.
It is always good to know you can actually teach an old dog, new tricks. Many moons ago, in a galaxy far far away, I knew a guy (Jake) who would not touch coffee without cream and sugar. In fact, we spent many nights on midnight ninja stealth-bombing runs to the ODR (Officer Dining Room) for trash bags of sugar and cartons of heavy cream. Granted, the coffee we drank was graded based on how well it kept you up and not on taste.
However, if you happen through Dallas, perhaps on your own midday ninja stealth-bombing run, and happen to have an extra $10 in your pocket, you need stop by Ascension coffee in the Design District. You will be glad you did. Yes, there is a valet. The coffee house shares a building with the Meddlesome Moth restaurant. Luckily, the restaurant valet graciously leaves about 5 parking spaces outside their well guarded orange cone perimeter. Most likely, you will park down the street and walk the half of a mile. This may become an issue if, like me, you realize at 1730 they close at 1800 on Sunday. You can shovel down that plate of Pad Thai, instantly regretting that second (and certainly third) spoonful of red chili paste whilst racing across Oak Lawn, literally breathing fire. But brothers and sisters, that light roast with 3 sugars and enough cream to stain the cup white will make the journey all worth it. Please don’t do that. Take some advice from the reformed Cactus Jake, give it a shot without the additives.
This Australian style coffee house makes a miraculous flat white. The small cups trigger an instant desire to savor every drop like Fido on table scrap day. It starts with blast of finely tuned espresso and slowly melts away to a soft caramel flavor without a hint of bitter after taste. The mocha is amazing. I typically enjoy a very strong coffee tone to my mocha. With very few exceptions, I order them with an extra shot.
This practice is not necessary at Ascension.
The espresso is present throughout the sip and no lingering syrup leaving you reaching for the salt shaker. The pull is the same whether you order at 0700, or at 1755. I actually have not had anything there I did not like. Yes, you will pay more here than your typical cup of joe, but I challenge you to find a better pull. The atmosphere is quiet and reserved. The outdoor seating is adequate and quiet enough to carry a conversation. If coffee and pets is your thing, the apartment building adjacent offers a quaint sitting area with bags for your dog logs. As an added bonus, you can put those unused sugar packets to good use by repurposing them as mini artillery shells and using the valets as moving targets. Everyone wins!