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The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia • Page E3

Staunton, Virginia
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SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2015 THE NEWS LEADER 3E PLAY Your guide to enjoying the hours after work VALLEY DINING Black Sheep Coffee a welcome distraction Kirsten Moore COLUMNIST 2 3 "Ti I Tucked in an alleyway in the Ice House complex, Harrisonburg's newest coffee shop is also one of the best. jjgSk I hate my neighbors. Here I am trying to do my day job, and they are all so unbelievably distracting. Take for instance the new Pale Fire Brewing Co. across the street making some of the best beer around and whose lovely, sunny patio with a Salad Days Saison in my hand looks so much more appealing than the piles on my desk come late afternoon.

If I look out my big windows to the right, there is constant activity on the train tracks. This week, I stared like a 5-year-old with my face practically pressed to the glass as a parade of machines replace rotted-out ties with surgical precision. Then there's the adorable Yellow Button boutique and Hugo Kohl's gorgeous jewelry store and museum that I could browse on a daily basis. Any day, Pure Eats out of Lexington will open the doors to their new spot, beckoning me with hamburgers and donuts. Which only means I need to find time to start frequenting the Ice House Studios for more yoga, pilates and barre classes.

The worst offender, however, is Black Sheep Coffee. Mind you, I work in a space with unlimited, free coffee all day long, and I still walk over to Black Sheep at least once a day. In my opinion, it has the best coffee in the area (even though it's also some of the priciest), sourced from places like Red Rooster Coffee Roasters in Floyd, Mudhouse Coffee out of Charlottesville (where owner Chance Eber-sold got his start in the business) and Lexington Coffee Roasters. It's smooth and creamy and even people who tend to add sugar to mellow out the impact of coffee straight up, tend to use less. It doesn't need it.

Black Sheep offers all sorts of coffee and espresso, pour-overs and even affogato. It also has a variety of teas and artisanal sodas. Not to mention it has friendly, attentive baristas and a cool little space tucked away in the alley of the Ice House, a new mixed-use complex in an up-and-coming corner of downtown Harrisonburg. The space is charming with low counters, an old wooden table for doctoring up your coffee, and an antique wooden bakery case that sits on the counter at eye level. Outside there are PHOTOS BY KIRSTEN MOORESPECIAL TO THE NEWS LEADER The coffee is so smooth and creamy, even people who typically use sugar to mellow out the harshness of black coffee are using less, and the maple oat scone is by far the most popular item in the bakery case, tender and hearty with lots of oats and a light glaze of sweet icing.

Black Sheep Coffee 217 South Liberty St. at The Ice House, Harrisonburg (540) 217-5560 and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. There is an ever-changing rotation of scones, cookies and shortbreads.

Pistachio ginger biscotti. Amazing cinnamon rolls. Occasional Belgian waffles with melted Belgian sugar crystals in the batter. Every day there's some coffee cake or other deliciousness under the cake dome coconut lime cake, apple raisin cake with a mound of cream cheese frosting. The other day she made cherry marzipan muffins.

As someone who grew up part of the time in Europe, I have a soft spot for marzipan which I know isn't for everyone but those bits of almond paste and sweet cherries on top of an almost savory muffin were genius. I might go broke with my daily habit of visiting Black Sheep, but it's a hard one for a coffee lover like me to resist. A sign on the door says, "Come In, We're Awesome!" It does not lie. Kirsten Moore is the owner of Taste. A Food Company a small business dedicated to all things food.

Email her at reclaimed wood tables. A caged-in rock wall from the demolition of part of the old Cassco ice building is now growing ivy and looks both industrial and welcoming. You can come to Black Sheep from two sides Liberty Street or Bruce Street and easily find it by following your nose. The other star of the show is Can-dace Willis, a quiet and unassuming mastermind of a baker. Candace ran Willow Run Bakery for years and had a stand at the Farmers Market.

She also baked for several area restaurants, and now Black Sheep has snagged her. She manages to make decadent but hearty baked goods, with healthier, less refined grains and a toothy bite while keeping them light and tender. The most popular item on the menu is her maple oat scone. Its oaty heft is countered with the lightest glaze of sweet icing and it takes every ounce of self control I have not to order one every day with my standard cafe au lait. She makes incredible biscuits topped with bacon, egg and cheese.

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New St. DELIGHTFUL HOME ON A PRIVATE CORNER LOT with mountain views. Livingdining combo opens to an efficient kitchen. Nice flow wplenty of natural light. 3 Bedrooms2 Baths MLS72895 $198,000 103 SUNNYSIDE STREET Charming updated home located in the Stuart Historic District.

New bath, furnace wcentral air, water heater. Upgraded electric service. Corner lot steps from the public library, Gypsy Hill Park and downtown. MLS72887 $87,000 MLS 72379 $195,000 MLS72649 $249,000 15 Frazier St. yrlSt i -7 life, NEWTON HISTORIC DISTRICT 27 ACRES-VALLEY FARM Guest cottage rolling land offer magnificent mountain views.

Custom kitchen. Geothermal heat A7C. CITY VICTORIAN Many updates 3BR2.5BA. New kitchen counter tops and ceramic flooring. Updated baths Original architectural details.

Mountain views from front porch. Beautiful hardwood floors. STATELY COLONIAL REVIVAL HOME OF CLASSIC PROPORTIONS 3BR2.5BA. Updated kitchen. Natural oak woodwork.

Historic District. 2 garages, carport, garden room. LEAVE THE YARD WORK BEHIND Three floors of care-free city living. 3BR3BA, oversized living room. First floor master suite.

MLS 69480 $260,000 112 Waver ley Green Updated duplex. Extensive renovation. Steps from downtown Staunton. Live in one and rent the other. MLS 69378 $178,000 215 Church St.

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Coalter Staunton, VA 24401 Advantage I (55 MUM. HCXHMB.

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