Coffee Shop

My most favorite thing is to relax in an outdoor café with an almond mocha and a sourdough toast. Preferably there is a red umbrella. I am not sure that I have actually been to this café in real life. It is quite possible that it is only in my mind. But you know, every time I sit down to write, part of me goes there.

I remember a café from my graduate school years in Santa Clara. It is still there, but it looks different now. Now, all the throw pillows match. When I was there, the throw pillows were deliciously eclectic, and not matching at all. The main café room was lined with wood benches, with these crazy-patterned throw pillows all mismatched in delightful disarray. Felt like home. The center had square tables, perfect for afternoon Scrabble. It was buzzin’.

The best café I have had the pleasure to enjoy is in Menlo Park. A delightful family-owned and operated café restaurant sits prominently near a fabulous independent bookshop. (Back in the day, the book shop too, was buzzin’. Sadly, it closed for many years. Only recently has it reopened at a fraction of the size.) The mocha orgeat at Borone’s is served hot, in a tall, skinny glass which curves open at the top and bottom. The froth is velvety and the sliced almonds atop are toasted. The concoction is pure heaven, as I sit outside on the patio near a bubbling fountain. Many times I have ordered two in one afternoon.

On the Pacific Island of Guam, there is no Starbucks within 300 miles. In fact, the locals jokingly refer to Starbucks as “Eight Bucks.” It is so warm and humid that people don’t line up to buy hot drinks. So we were delighted to find Tru Re Café, a delightful coffee bar with all the trimmings we are used to (and more!). We sat outside on the back patio, right on the beach. I saw a double full rainbow. Hard to beat that.

But the perfect café is not a place, at all. Sometimes I enjoy a cold, bottled frappucino near the window of my Las Vegas suite. Watching the lights and listening to the music pumpin’, faint as it is from the upper story window, I love it. The smooth, silky rivers of mocha are the icing on the cake.

During my college years, I was known as the mocha queen. I would have the international café powdered instant coffee beverage mix (you know the ones, in the short, wide tins) and microwaved water, as one does in the dorms. Only I would add a generous scoop of ice cream. I should have patented this.

Now I have a Caramel Cappucino k-cup, and I add Haagen Daas Coffee ice cream, and blend it in my Magic Bullet. The blending cools the coffee down completely, and makes a lovely froth. I love that I can make it at home, and take it with me anywhere.

To the outdoor street café with the red umbrellas.

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