BEST EAT WITH YOUR EYES
If you don’t feel a hunger pang every time you look at Lavish Grazing’s Instagram this ode to cured meats is not for you. As for us, we can’t get enough. The company caters charcuterie trays for groups large and small, overflowing with tastefully arranged meats, cheeses, fruit, crackers and treats like dips, cookies or fresh herbs. The pictures alone make us want to reach into our screens to pluck out a nibble of something satisfying. We love Lavish Grazing’s creativity, too, like the holiday “Santa Box” to put out Christmas Eve instead of cookies (it even had carrots for reindeer!).
BEST NEW MENU ANTICIPATION
Few seasonal change-ups get us as excited as the ones at Progress, where menu revamps are extensive, creative and surprising—and always entice us to share our tasting notes. Last summer, we raved about the fried chicken entrée and the watermelon dessert. We were sad to see that watermelon disappear but jazzed for what would come next. Lather, rinse, repeat every season for a fresh dining experience worth getting excited about.
BEST SPOT TO SEE EVERYONE YOU KNOW
In addition to serving a satisfying breakfast and always-just-right coffee, Springfield’s Architect Coffee Co. has something else on the menu: a lil’ socialization. That’s because we are constantly running into people we know. It’s the best sun-filled coffee shop for the extroverted introvert (or introverted extrovert?). It feels good to get some work done, sit down for a meeting and—surprise!—share a nice moment with a pal who happens to be passing through. But there’s no see-and-be-seen pressure, no gotta-be-there vibe. Just good coffee and good humans, all in one place.
BEST PLACE TO GET A THUNDER MUFFIN WITHOUT GOING TO LAMPE
Expresso in Branson
Have you ever had a Thunder Muffin? It’s a legend here at the 417 offices, and no one can mention it without everyone else in the room groaning in sorrow that we don’t have one in front of us right this second. The gigantic blueberry muffins are truly loaded with fresh berries—many in every bite—and are made by the blueberry heroes at Persimmon Hill Farm in Lampe. We enjoy visiting the blueberry patch for a muffin, but we recently fell in love with a more convenient option: ordering a Thunder Muffin at the drive-thru at Expresso (expressobranson.com), an on-the-go coffee shop in Branson that also serves a nice cappuccino and some darn good cold brew, too.