life, the friends

Local Coffee

I was in the kitchen all morning and noon cooking for the friends: steaming rice and broccoli, poaching salmon and baking turkey, basil and blueberry cookies.

At 1:30 I received a text from my daughter: “I’m going to Royal Oak after work, do you want to go with me?”


I still had another batch of cookies to go in the oven when she arrived home half an hour later.

And I was about to get a head start on dinner for us humans.

But I put the unbaked dough in the downstairs fridge and decided dinner prep would have to wait.

“It’s a beautiful day and I need to get out of the house,” I said, as we got into my car. “Besides, I don’t want to get all Grey Gardens.”

Which would be easy to do.

Me and my beagle.

Our destination was Rail & Anchor to get decor for her brand new therapy office.

It was a perfect day: sunny with a few puffy clouds scattered about, 73 degrees with just the right amount of breeze.

So afterward we walked a couple of blocks to Atomic Coffee to get, you know, coffee.

I studied the menu board as we approached the counter.

“What’s a Mexican Mocha? Chocolate and cayenne?”

“Yes,” replied the pleasant young man behind the cash register, “that’s exactly what it is.”

Tough choice between that and the lavender latte.

“The Mexican mocha is sweeter,” the young cashier offered.

“It doesn’t have to be,” the equally young and pleasant barista chimed in, small cup in his hand.

“Since you want a small, the espresso will be more prominant so it won’t be as sweet.”

“Okay, that sounds good, and cut back on the syrup a little, too.”


Atomic has a cool ceiling.

After a short wait the barista placed my cup on the counter.  “Taste it. If it’s too sweet I can remake it.”

“I’m sure it will be just fine,” I smiled.

“It would be no trouble to make it again,” he smiled back.

I took a sip.

“It’s good. And pretty.”

He smiled again. “Thanks.”


The view as I sipped my just-right brew.

I love it when cafes, restaurants and coffee shops roll up their windows like big garage doors so you can sit inside and still be kinda’ outside.

While I enjoyed the street view, the barista chatted with my daughter about Rail & Anchor while he made her iced s’more latte.  He noticed her bag.

Local coffee is always better.


‘Tis the Season to be Kind to Your Barista


Yesterday I told you that I am handing out Starbucks love to grinches this Christmas shopping season.  Upon reading the post (or, more accurately, upon being forced to listen to the post) my daughter, a former barista, said, “As long as they don’t order their drinks at 190 degrees, or with no foam or with extra, extra caramel or a quarter pump of syrup.”

So perhaps it needs to be said:  It’s Christmas, that magical time when peace on earth, good will toward men twinkles in the air.  So be kind to your barista.

Your coffee doesn’t need to be 190 degrees.  It’s Christmas, one hundred and fifty degrees is hot enough.  You can be a high maintenance coffee connoisseur in January.

When you ask for extra caramel in a drink that does not contain caramel, you will be charged for the “extra”.  That’s how it works.  If the drink is made with caramel, you can have as much extra as your coffee drinking heart desires, no charge.  If it doesn’t you have to pay for it.  Don’t argue, don’t complain.  Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la.

If you really want to spread some Christmas cheer, just this month, ORDER OFF THE MENU.  Enjoy your tall vanilla latte exactly as it was intended – with three pumps of vanilla syrup, one shot of espresso and a little bit of inevitable foam, served at one-hundred and fifty degrees.

This should go without saying, but it doesn’t:  Don’t be a BOGO bozo.  Buy one get one free seasonal drinks does not mean you can order 2 venti peppermint mochas without the peppermint or two venti gingerbread lattes without the gingerbread.  ‘Cuz that’s cheating.  Be kind to your barista and be an honest citizen, too.

And finally, be kind to yourself.  A venti salted caramel mocha (or as my daughter calls it, “diabetes in a cup”) is made with ten pumps of syrup.  It will eventually kill you.  The more you know…