After a fantastic dinner at Akasha in Culver City, I am pleasantly full and feeling equally in a romantic mood to make a post. I am a Foursquare addict, and I got a free latte with my meal after checking in tonight. As I was staring into the swirling designs of the crema and milk, I thought back to my strongest memory of drinking coffee.
(Like my beer entry, this was certainly NOT my first cup of coffee in my life. Sure I'd had coffee at home, at shitty diners and my school cafeteria, but this is the ideal memory.)
I'm 16 years old, and it's the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I go on a 3-week trip to France, starting and finishing in Paris. My parents booked a penthouse to rent in the 5th arrondissement near the Sorbonne. Fabulous. Fabulous. It's 6:30 in the morning and I shoot out of bed. Jetlag? My brother and I connect in whispers and decide to go out for a very early breakfast. We take a stroll through the just-washed streets, not yet filled with busy Parisians. My teenage eyes soak in the majesty of the mythical city, so eager and hungry to see what all the fuss is about. We come to a corner, and walk into a cafe as the waitress was busy setting up. We were the first customers.
All I order is a pain au chocolat and a cafe au lait. The croissant? It was that angelic combination of flaky butter and semi-sweet chocolate. The coffee arrives in a large white bowl, which warms your hands as you drink. Who knows where this coffee was roasted, or what method they used to prepare it, but coffee was not coffee before this morning. It was the atmosphere, the hunger and anticipation. After we paid the tab and were on our merry way for a day of kitschy tourism, I knew I was hooked.
And I sure am. Sometimes on my days off from working at a cafe, I forget to get coffee until after dark. I get the classic headache, and become a moaning, aching addict. In those most desperate of situations, even Coffee Bean will do.
photo: the Wandering Eater