Everyone who knows me knows, coffee runs through my veins and admittedly bagged as a bit of a caffé snob (also a tea snob). I know I’m not alone either, you know you are out there. This energizing bean is a comfort part of my daily food group. All of us have that nostalgic ‘comfort zone’ we go to whenever one eats or drinks a certain item. Coffee is that zone for me (no delving into the psych 101 reasons). Here in the Pacific Northwest, coffee access is never more than a few steps or drive-thrus away in any direction. One would think I’d be in café heaven, I did too. Until I went looking for that café experience’ I so craved, gauged by my many years of daily treks to ole world cafés ( my boho* characteristic’s tend to rise to the surface about now). Hint- best café in U.S. is Caffé Trieste.
Now before you get all steamy, let me just add, coffee is also a matter of taste. It’s like art or wine. In whatever way it suits your palette, fine, and it need not be costly to be good. But…. not every cookie cutter bean grinder corner café does a De Gas, Lautrec, Vincenzo Bellini or Chateau Lafite make.
So when, a couple of years ago, I saw a new café opening in my neighborhood, (Ristretto Lounge ) I was excited! As I drove past, I thought, oh please let this one be different. We sorely need a real café bar here. (too far/costly for daily trips to S.F.). A few months after they opened, I like to let the newness wear off a bit, I stopped by. Going inside was like hearing a familiar voice say “Welcome Home”. Cozy, comfy, but with a modern touch of amenities. I ordered my usual, “doppio cappo please”. Only, this time I didn’t add, as I usually needed to at other places, “not in a soup bowl size cup”. I waited to see just what would be served. Ecco Fa! At my table was set in front of me a bellissima cappo . In the appropriate size real cup with a real spoon I might add. Ahhh, now this is what my town has been missing, but wait, I must do my spoon test first, I thought. Is it the correct foam to espresso ratio and not just a cup of hot milk with a waif of coffee colour? As soon as my spoon glided into the silky smooth cloud of frothy goodness, I knew the answer. Savoring every last drop of that first cup, I felt, at last a local café I could call home.
At this moment, time travel with me back to one day last spring. I was driving by Ristretto Lounge and to my surprise, they were gone! Empty! Closed up! Oh, my breaking heart. But thankfully that only lasted for a short time. They had just moved to a new location. Whew! Relieved! Now downtown, my home café is even more enjoyable. Their new digs still have that air of “Welcome Home”, but with an expanded selection of delightful menu choices including wine (WA) and bottled brews. And still the best cappo this side of Caffé Trieste.
What’s your favorite local café?
Stay thirsty mon ami’s!